Quitting smoking, even to combat neuropathy pain, is a difficult undertaking. You smoke when you wake up, maybe with your morning coffee. You smoke to relax, smoke after dinner, smoke throughout the day. Simply, you smoke because you enjoy it. Believe me, I understand that quitting smoking is hard.
But quitting smoking is one of the first steps you should take when it comes to tackling neuropathy pain. The next step is finding the right treatment and the right doctor, which I’ll touch on shortly.
A few years ago, my patients witnessed me pushing through my days, fighting the burning, and eventually being overtaken by neuropathic pain. I experienced it all—the burning, the ache, the numbness and eventually feeling like a prisoner in my own body. Yes, I’ve been where you are now. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to continue working in the profession that I love.
Doctors from some of the top medical institutions in the country told me there was little to be done. Eventually, though, being a Harvard graduate, I relied on my own research skills. Soon, I was able to not only halt my neuropathic pain but reverse my neuropathy altogether.
Yes, I’ve heard the saying: “A doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient.” I’ve heard it, but I just don’t believe it. How can I believe it? Today, I am healthy, happy, pain-free and able to continue working in a career that I love.
Back to quitting smoking… Not everyone who smokes will develop neuropathy. Likewise, some people who develop neuropathy have never smoked a single cigarette. Yet, smoking remains a risk factor for developing neuropathy and may even exacerbate neuropathy pain.
Combat Neuropathy Pain 101: Quitting Smoking
If only you had a quarter for every doctor who told you to quit smoking…
Sometimes doctors tell you that quitting smoking is good for your health, but they don’t always explain why. Having been on the other side of the table—from doctor to patient—I understand that the why is important. It motivates you. Gives you a reason to work toward a healthy goal. Simply, we need reasons to give up the things we enjoy.
Of course, you’ve probably read about smoking negatively affecting the lungs and the increased cancer risks associated with cigarettes. But in reference to neuropathy, I’d like to explain why quitting smoking is so important.
The brain sends messages to the central nervous system. From there, these messages or commands go to key nerve cells. Smoking, unfortunately, compromises blood flow to these key nerve cells.
A good analogy would be trying to use compromised or frayed wires to power a complicated machine (in this case the human body). Misfiring, shorting out, working sometimes but not others. When it comes to the human body in this analogy, pain (specifically neuropathy pain) is right around the corner.
Smoking may also contribute to blood sugar levels and increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If you already have diabetes and you smoke, your risk for developing peripheral neuropathy increases three fold.
In 2017, a comprehensive study concluded something that I’ve known for quite a while: “…the possibility of neuropathic pain increases as the duration of smoking and addiction level increase, and with diabetes, this rate increases even more. It is extremely important that the smokers should be informed regarding these facts and possibilities.”
In other words, the more you smoke, the greater your risk for developing neuropathy, especially if you have diabetes. If you’ve already been diagnosed with neuropathy, the more you smoke, the worse the pain. These are the reasons why quitting smoking is so important in the face of neuropathic pain.
Combat Neuropathy Pain 102: Finding The Right Treatment And The Right Doctor
Had I listened to the experts, I’d still be in the grips of neuropathy pain today. I’d certainly not still be working. I’d not be pain-free, loving my life and eager to start my day each morning.
The wrong doctor is the doctor who, after multiple prescriptions and suggestions, tells you little can be done. The wrong doctor is the doctor who attempts to treat this confounding central nervous system issue with a pill.
Medication has its place, but medication used to treat pain will not work long term. According to a 2018 article published by Mayo Clinic, “Your body adapts to these medications, and they bring less and less pain relief. This phenomenon, known as tolerance, means you need more of the same medication to achieve the same degree of pain relief.”
Long-term use of opioids to relieve pain may lead to addiction. Often people don’t realize they’re addicted until they have to go off the medication due to a complication.
Further, long-term use of several medications brings a new set of problems in the form of side effects.
It gets worse… aside from smoking; reactions to certain medications may trigger neuropathy or neuropathy pain in concert with an autoimmune response.
With all the medications available today, it is easy for doctors to lose sight of their purpose. This is understandable. Doctors are busy people! However, I believe, above everything, that my job is to heal my patients. Not merely offer a temporary reprieve.
And your body will remember… What I mean is your nerve cells spent years firing correctly before the onset of neuropathy. It’s simply a matter of bringing them back or reminding them of the role they’ve always played in your body.
As an Orange County chiropractor who has successfully reversed neuropathic pain in the majority of my patients, I want to help you. I want you to feel as good as I do…as good as they do.
Here’s What Patients Are Saying About Neuropathy Treatment at Winchell Chiropractic & Wellness
I was losing hope in medicine and was in extreme depression from the constant pain I was in before my dad referred me to Dr. Winchell. He was an absolute lifesaver. I haven’t been back for years but I would like my testimonial to serve as a most sincere Thank You to Dr. Winchell and his staff.
– Tom Adler
I have been a chiropractor for over 10 years. Dr. Winchell is my doctor. I drive over 160 miles round trip to see him; he is the best.
– Dr. Stanmore Langford
Contact My Office
If you’ve been diagnosed with neuropathy, contact my office. If you’re experiencing the early symptoms of neuropathy, please don’t wait.
Early symptoms of neuropathy may include:
- Intermittent or gradual onset of burning or tingling in your feet, arms or legs
- Intermittent jabbing, throbbing or cool pain
- Intermittent numbness
- Issues with coordination
Depending on the nerves involved, symptoms may also include:
- Changes or dysfunction in bowel or bladder
- Feeling dizzy or weak
No matter where you are in your neuropathy journey—first symptoms or late stage—I want to help you. This is part of the reason I offer a free consultation to new patients. I want you to feel good again and reclaim your life as I’ve reclaimed mine.
To book an appointment, contact my office or schedule online.