When the peripheral nerves in our hands, feet, arms and legs are damaged, they can send sensations or feelings of pain and discomfort to the brain via the spinal cord. This is known as Peripheral Neuropathy and affects millions of people across the United States. Some of the more common causes of peripheral neuropathy include diabetes, alcoholism and a deficiency in vitamins. Unfortunately, peripheral neuropathy can also be caused by cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy. The Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy If you have cancer and have received treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy, you may begin to notice some of the following symptoms: · Numbness or tingling in fingers, toes, hands or feet · Extreme sensitivity in hands and feet · Burning sensation · Inability to feel cold or heat · Sensation of wearing a glove or sock Where these symptoms are felt depends entirely on where the affected nerve is in your body. Though not as common, nerves to the internal organs may also be affected which can lead to dizziness, constipation, bladder difficulties and sexual problems. Additionally, when nerves to muscles are damaged, a person might experience muscle weakness, cramping and spasms. Let Your Doctor Know Right Away It is very important that you let your doctor know as soon as you begin to experience these symptoms. Your doctor can work to find a solution to the problem, which may include discontinuing the current treatment. Fortunately, there are some treatments and remedies that can help to soothe the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. By discussing your symptoms with your doctor, he or she can make recommendations as to which treatment would work the best for you. In some cases, it may take some time to try several remedies before you find the one that works best for you. Treatments Although there are a number of different treatment that may make a difference in the symptoms you are experiencing, here are some of the most common: · Medication – While there is no medication that can reverse or stop peripheral neuropathy, there are some that can help to relieve the pain and discomfort. One of the most commonly prescribed medications is antidepressants. · Nutrition – Eating a balanced diet full of foods rich in vitamin B and antioxidants can also have an impact on how severe the peripheral neuropathy symptoms are. It is also recommended that you avoid drinking too much alcohol. · Physical Therapy/Exercise – Regular exercise and physical therapy can help to keep muscles strong and will improve balance and coordination. This has also been shown to help reduce pain. Our team of skilled providers have worked with many patients in the past that have suffered from peripheral neuropathy caused by cancer treatments. Our goal is to provide a customized Recovery Game Plan for each patient to help see the best results. Find out how Arrowhead Health Centers can help you by calling us at 623-334-4000, extension 9 today.
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