317 St. Francis Dr. Suite 350
Greenville, SC 29601

317 St. Francis Dr.
Suite 350
Greenville, SC 29601
Tel: 1-864-235-1834, Fax: 1-864-235-2486

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HIGH IMPACT – Peripheral Neuropathy

HIGH IMPACT – Peripheral Neuropathy

To most individuals, “feel the burn” evokes imagery of sweat inducing, endorphin pumping, muscle blasting total workouts.   Unfortunately, to a smaller yet significant subset of our population, this popular catch-phrase carries a much more negative, and literal, connotation.  Members of this group suffer from peripheral neuropathy (PN).   Folks with PN know “the burn” all to well.   Common complaints include a persistent burning in the hands and feet, cramping, stabbing pain in the legs, alternating hot and cold sensations, and a pervasive numbness and tingling.   What is more, these unpleasant symptoms do not like to rest when we do.  In fact, many complain about a “fire in their feet” as they unwind for the night and the need to constantly reposition their legs, leading to loss of much needed sleep.

Peripheral neuropathy is much more common than people think.   There are roughly three million cases in the US per year.   AS such, the causes of PN are many and varied.   The most common are diabetes, injuries, infections, and even chemotherapy agents.   The disorder affects primarily the hands and feet and is characterized by what is known as a “stocking-glove” distribution.

So what happens? What is getting damaged?  The simple answer is that any of the causes negatively impact blood flow in the tiniest of blood vessels.  By shutting these tiny blood vessels down, the tiny nerve branches they supply do not get what they need and become damaged.  Once damaged, the symptoms of PN become apparent – numbness, tingling, and, of course, burning.   Because the body relies on sensory input from the feet as part of balance maintenance, those with PN will notice a loss of balance and difficulty walking.   This is why you may often see folks with PN looking down at their feet when they walk – they cannot sense smaller changes in the terrain and therefore have to use to their eyes to make up for what their feet can no longer do!

Unfortunately, while relatively easy to understand why PN happens, it is not so easy to treat.  True, medications assuredly have a role in management of pain and symptoms, but their effectiveness varies from person to person and have no impact on the signs and symptoms.  Fortunately, there are high impact diagnostics and treatments beyond medications which can significantly improve quality of life with this ailment.   Visit piedmontpmr.com.  Let us help you develop a course of care of the highest impact to finally douse those flames.