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Love your nerves

By EMILY G. BUGARIN

Health experts are urging hardworking Filipinos to consult a doctor once they experience numbness, muscle weakness and pins-and-needle sensation on certain parts of the body before symptoms lead to permanent nerve damage or neuropathy.

Neuropathy, a disorder affecting nerves, is a difficult health issue being experienced but ignored by many people, among them are the workers who have to endure the daily commuting – bus, jeepney and MRT rides – compounded with the almost everyday horrendous traffic.

Crowded vehicles, jostling positions in a full train, standing in a moving bus can take toll on the nerves of passengers, according to Ming Arroyo-Cunanan, marketing head of Merck, Inc.

Cognizant of the commuters’ struggle, Cunanan said Merck has come up with the Neuropathy Awareness Campaign which gives focus on everyday “#True Heroes”, the men and women who work hard daily for their families.

“The people who wake up extra early to commute, and then selflessly pour out all their time and energy just to provide for their families – these people are the True Heroes. To be able to work like this every day without complaint and hesitation is very admirable, more so, deserving of some kind of recognition,” Cunanan told members of the media during the launch of the Nerve Therapy Trip in Makati City last Thursday.

NERVE THERAPY TRIP

The “Nerve Therapy Trip”, which is part of the awareness campaign, is an upgraded bus ride that keeps passengers relaxed as they head to work to and from work.

The “Trip”, which involves two Neurobion buses, will be officially launched to the riding public on August 7. It will ply the Alabang-Navotas route and vice versa for 25 days. This is in line with the observance of Neuropathy Awareness Month.

During the trip, passengers will be taught how to take care of their nerves through the Neuro Motion video, a collection of simple exercises that the regular person can perform on the way to work or even at the office.

Gelli Victor, a neuro motion fitness consultant, said it is important for the daily commuters and workers to do simple exercises even while inside vehicles or in their work places to protect their nerves from damage.

Dr. Roy J. Cuison, resource speaker during the media launch of the Nerve Therapy Trip, said other symptoms of neuropathy include increased sensitivity to touch, sharp pains, extreme sensitivity to pain, loss of sensation, and reduced sense of touch.

There are also a number of conditions and causes of nerve damage such as genetics, chronic diseases like diabetes, environmental toxins like smoking, alcoholism, nutritional deficiencies (including Vitamin B deficiency), and even side effects of medications, according to the doctor.

To prevent nerve damage, Cuison said, one has to maintain a healthy lifestyle, a balance diet, stop smoking and drinking alcohol, get sufficient time for rest, and take Vitamin B daily to nourish the nerves.

While damaged nerves repair naturally via regeneration, after a certain time – when approximately 50 percent or more of the nerve tissue is destroyed – the damage is permanent, Cuison explained. This is the reason why early detection and diagnosis are vital.

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