Are you one of the estimated 20 million people in the United States that suffer from nerve damage? Are you looking for a peripheral neuropathy treatment that will actually relieve nerve damage? Whether your nerve damage was caused by a traumatic injury, diabetes, or unknown reasons, there is a treatment for you.
What is Peripheral Neuropathy
According to Mike Bechtol, Director of Care Logistics at Arrowhead Health Centers, peripheral neuropathy means dead or dying nerves. As opposed to affecting your central nervous systems (brain and spinal cord), peripheral neuropathy affects the communication network that transmits information to the central nervous system. Peripheral nerves are the nerves that send sensory information back to the brain from the arms, legs, fingers, toes, elbows, knees, heels, etc. They send messages to the brain saying the feet are cold, and the hands are stiff. The peripheral nerves are also responsible for sending messages from the brain and spinal cord to muscles causing them to move. Peripheral neuropathy interferes with these signals disrupting and sometimes overshadowing the message transmission. As a result, burning pain, tingling, impaired digestion, and many other symptoms can develop.
What are the Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy
Since peripheral neuropathy can affect the numerous nerves in the body, a wide range of symptoms exist.
- Irritating prickling, numbness, & tingling
- Unexpected electric-like shocks in feet
- Loss of balance and fear of falling
- Difficulty climbing stairs or staying active
- Losing sleep due to pain, burning, or cramping
- Constant need to move legs or feet
- Extreme sensitivity to touch
- Painful cramps
- Fasciculations (uncontrolled muscle twitching visible under skin)
- Muscle atrophy
- Decreased reflexes
- Failure to sense pain *like cutting yourself with a knife, or a burn)
- Extreme painful reaction to otherwise non-painful stimuli
- Inability to sweat normally and heat intolerance
- Loss of bladder control or organ functions
- Gastrointestinal malfunction: diarrhea, constipation, incontinence
- Problems swallowing
If you suffer from one or more of these symptoms, regardless of the cause, it’s time to address the real root of your discomfort. You do not need to live with the constant fear and uneasiness caused by neuropathy.
What Causes Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy can be traced through disease or trauma, however, in several cases, the cause is unknown. Doctors refer to this as idiopathic neuropathy.
Trauma from things like automobile accidents, intense falls, sports-related injuries can cause nerves to be severed, crushed, compressed, and/or stretch resulting in nerve damage. Even broken and dislocated bones can put damaging pressure on neighboring nerves.
Repetitive Stress, awkward, and/or forceful activities can irritate ligaments, tendons, and muscles causing them to become inflamed and swollen. As a result, the passageways through which some of the nerves pass become narrow, constricting and hindering nerve function. Ulnar neuropathy and carpal tunnel are examples of this.
Diseases and disorders can infiltrate the nervous system in various ways wreaking havoc on nerve function and impairing message transmission. Metabolic and endocrine disorders, small vessel disease, autoimmune diseases, kidney disorders, cancers, neuromas, and infections can all lead to forms of peripheral neuropathy.
Toxins from medications, environmental exposure (like lead or mercury), and heavy alcohol consumption can also be the cause of peripheral neuropathy. Those caused by medication and heavy metals may be reversible once exposure is reduced or eliminated, however, damage caused by long-term alcohol abuse may not.
Peripheral Neuropathy Treatment
As you can see, peripheral neuropathy can affect each person differently, which mean peripheral neuropathy treatment is most effective when customized to each patient. At Arrowhead Health Centers, we coordinate a comprehensive plan customized to each patient and their individual needs.
The peripheral neuropathy program begins with a biopsy of the nerves to determine if a patient has peripheral neuropathy. This is the definitive way to tell if a patient is suffering from peripheral neuropathy and not another medical disorder. After the biopsy, a nerve conduction test is then performed to evaluate the nerves and determine the appropriate course of action.
Once diagnosed, neuropathy treatment consists of nerve therapy, functional strength training, short-term medication and a take-home electronic device to help with discomfort while sleeping. Since every patient’s medical needs are different, the team at Arrowhead Health Centers (AHC) puts together a Recovery Game Plan that is unique and tailor-made for the patient. Rather than going from doctor’s office to doctor’s office, the team at AHC collaborates, putting together one comprehensive plan with you, your needs, and your symptoms at the center. When that happens, you know you’re getting the best care possible. For more on peripheral neuropathy treatment and how to relieve nerve damage, visit our website.