Exploring Ayurveda For Cerebellar Ataxia And Pain Control

Western medicine is innovative, but if you search through PubMed, you find very few drug trials for degenerative cerebellar ataxia. There is no known cure for ataxia, so our best hope still lies in finding a therapy to ease the symptoms. With all the modern innovations available what if one possible answer lies in an ancient system of holistic healing? Ayurvedic medicine deserves a look. “Ayurveda” comes from the Sanskrit words Ayur (life) and Veda ( knowledge) and is the oldest (5,000-year-old) recorded system of medicine in history. It combines the concept of whole health; lifestyle, exercise, diet along with medicinal herb compounds, some which predate written history. Many traditional therapies are now being studied in a clinical setting using western methods of research, double-blind trials, and research review to prove or disprove their efficacy. The most promising trial we’ve previously highlighted is Degenerative Cerebellar Ataxia After Ayurvedic Therapy. In 2009 a joint study in India was conducted by the Department of Neurology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Advanced Ayurvedic Research Unit, National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Department of Neurosciences, Psychiatric and Neurological Rehabilitation.  In this study, they sought to discover if traditional Ayurvedic medicine could have a positive effect on balance issues caused by…

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Dialing Down The Pain

Superficial Siderosis Pain

Gary always hurts.   It’s a fact-of-life he can’t run from; from his head to his toes, 365 days a year, 24-hrs a day. Pain. The days his pain scale reads 3 or 4, those are good days.  Most days he can look forward to hitting 5 or 6; but if a headache decides to join in at full force, then you can throw out that scale. Thankfully there are ways to ease some of the body ache and joint pain. Doctors frown upon taking acetaminophen in truckload quantities. Floating in a haze of prescription painkillers is an option, but Gary already takes 199 pills a week. ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY-NINE PILLS. It’s understandable why we try to find him relief using alternative methods. I make Arnica infused olive oil in large batches. I tried arnica first when I hurt a flexor muscle running. (Lesson- stretch, stretch, stretch). You can buy arnica off the shelf in a variety of forms, cream, balm or oil. I tried cream but found the oil-based formula worked the best. Gary was still working back then, but I was sure it could help him too.   We started by rubbing just the sorest spots on…

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The Neuropathy Chronicles 2.0

Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms   Hello Pain, My Old Friend   You might remember from one of our earlier posts, The Neuropathy Chronicles, how we managed to tame the burning foot pain that is so familiar to Superficial Siderosis patients. Two years later TCM is still the winner. We saw for ourselves how true this was during early spring when the electrical system of Gary’s heart (more on this later) decided to join the party. Complications led to pulmonary embolisms in five lobes of his lungs and long-term coagulation therapy. The TCM herbal blend Gary uses stumped the VA pharmacists. He cycled off his neuropathy formula in the hospital while they researched medication conflicts and stayed off them. Jump ahead two months and here comes the tingling. Pretty soon it progressed to full-fledged burning. The VA pharmacy was never able to find any negative information so they let him resume his Corydalis Relaxe™ with the understanding they would be monitoring him closely. TCM herbal blends work differently than commercial pharmaceutical medications. It takes, on average, two months for your body to reach a therapeutic level. TCM blends are not a quick fix. You can’t expect instant relief, but patience pays off. The…

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The Neuropathy Chronicles

Pain of neuropathy

Neuropathy: Burn Me, Stab Me, Shoot Me We touched on our search for some relief from peripheral neuropathy in our August blog post, QUARTERLY NEUROLOGY FOLLOW-UP. You’ll find an explanation of the type of neuropathic pain connected with Superficial Siderosis in MANAGING NEUROPATHIC PAIN. Sharp jolting stabs of burning pain across one or both feet was making it impossible to sleep. A short trial run of the prescription medication Lyrica was discontinued due to some very off-putting side effects. We were trying to avoid the opiate road for as long as possible, so in August we turned to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). A tincture made from boiled rhizomes of the Corydalis Yanhusuo plant has been used to treat pain since the eighth century by TCM practitioners. Modern day researchers have identified twenty alkaloids, including tetrahydropalmatine (THP), which acts as a sedative and analgesic, as well as dl-Tetrahydropalmatine, Corydaline, Protopine, Tetrahydrocortisone, Bulbocapnine, Leonticine, Corybulbine-3 and Tetrahydro Columbamine. Corydalis has been used as an analgesic and antispasmodic to reduce pain. THP acts on the central nervous system to decrease nerve pain, and researchers noted that the herb was effective in reducing nerve pain in Seventy-eight percent of the patients tested. TCM practitioners…

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Managing Neuropathic Pain

Hello, Switchboard I’ve Been Disconnected   One of the better explanations I found during our search for ways to manage neuropathic pain associated with Superficial Siderosis was a quote from Dr. Corey W. Hunter¹. “Typically, a healthy nerve will only send a signal when it is stimulated, e.g., a nerve in the hand that senses temperature will stay quiet until the hand gets near the flame on the stove. However, an injured nerve is like a broken telephone that rings when no one is calling (burning) and is unable to get a dial tone when you need to make a call (numbness). Even when it has nothing of importance to say to the brain, the nerves will send a message and a confused message at that. The “confused” message can be interpreted by the brain as pain or strange sensations like “pins and needles.” Over time, the spinal cord can become accustomed to getting bombarded by a nerve that never seems to turn off and makes adjustments to account for it. So, even once the nerve manages to stop firing, the spinal cord has become so used to sending that signal that it will take over and keep doing it…

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