What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Your peripheral nervous system connects nerves from your spine and brain to the rest of your body, such as the hands, feet, arms, and legs. It acts as an extensive communications network that transmits vital information between the central nervous system (your brain and spinal cord) to every other part of your musculoskeletal system.
Peripheral neuropathy occurs when those nerves are no longer able to function properly. Sometimes this is genetic but more often it is the result of disease or injury. Think of it as a system run amok. For example, it may send signals of pain to the brain when you’re not actually being harmed.
You may have peripheral neuropathy, and wonder why you’ve never have heard the term before, even if you’ve seen a doctor. It’s often referred to by a variety of different names, including diabetic nerve pain, idiopathic neuropathy, diabetic neuropathy and chemotherapy induced neuropathy. In addition, other medical terms such as polyneuropathy, mononeuropathy, alcoholic neuropathy or other nerve damage descriptions may be used. In the end however all these terms are just names for different kinds of peripheral neuropathy.
If you’re suffering from peripheral neuropathy, you’re far from alone. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), an estimated 20 million people in the United States suffer from some form of peripheral neuropathy. They also report there are more than 100 different types of peripheral neuropathies.
What are the Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy?
Symptoms can vary depending on whether your motor, sensory, or autonomic nerves are injured. While some neuropathies affect all three types of nerves, others only affect one or two of them.
Neuropathies can manifest in a wide variety of different forms and patterns. Your initial symptoms may be mild, and then worsen over time until it becomes a chronic condition. Symptoms may remain at the same level of intensity for months, or even years. In other cases, symptoms may flair up for just a few days or weeks, and then disappear. Waxing and waning of symptoms are quite common no matter what the state of disease is. While symptoms can be debilitating and cause complaints of tightness, pins and needles, hot or cold sensations, balance problems, extreme discomfort and pain peripheral neuropathy is rarely fatal.
Other symptoms include numbness, prickling sensations, muscle weakness, burning, extreme sensitivity, mobility problems, and shooting or stabbing pains. Because peripheral neuropathy can have such an extreme impact on quality of life and treatment to reverse its signs and symptoms is available symptoms of peripheral neuropathy should never be ignored. Like any other disease the longer you wait to treat it the harder it can be to help it.
Unfortunately, there’s currently no cure for neuropathy, and most doctors are unware that treatment to reverse disease is available. Often people who can’t find relief feel hopeless, discouraged and even clinically depressed. A recent study by Italian researchers published online in “Diabetes & Vascular Disease Research” found that diabetes patients with peripheral neuropathic pain have an increased risk of depression.
What Causes Peripheral Nervous System?
In many cases, the cause for peripheral neuropathy remains elusive but systemic disease such as diabetes, vascular disease and chemotherapy are common causes. . Other possible triggers include toxins from exposure to heavy metals, certain inherited diseases, hardening of the arteries, infections, kidney disorders, blood diseases, alcohol abuse, chronic inflammation, hormonal diseases, autoimmune disorders, and certain prescription medications (such as antibiotics).
In addition, physical trauma and injuries can lead to damaged nerves, resulting in neuropathy. During accidents, falls or sports injuries, nerves may become crushed, severed, crushed or compressed, or even detached from the spinal cord. These kinds of neuropathy have to be treated differently than disease or idiopathic (cause unknown) neuropathy cases.
Prolonged pressure on a nerve can also cause neuropathy. For example, carpal tunnel syndrome is a common problem, which occurs when a nerve inside the wrist becomes compressed or pinched. Since Carpal tunnel syndrome involves only one nerve it is also referred to as a mononeuropathy. In cases such as this, treatments such as splinting to protect the nerve, a steroid injection, or surgery can be offered. When multiple nerves are involved treatment requires a different approach.
Athletes and others who frequently work out often experience repetitive physical stress, potentially leading to inflammation in tendons, ligaments and muscles, which increases pressure on specific nerves. Why it is not obvious many soft tissue injuries can present with similar symptoms as peripheral neurpathy and treating those injuries can lead to vast improvements in symptoms. It is very important to find a doctor who specializes in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy in order to get a proper diagnosis and the care you need.
Our Treatment Options Provide Long Term Relief!
At Piedmont Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, PA we take a regenerative medicine approach to health care; rather than simply covering up symptoms with medications we try to reverse disease and restore function. That is why we have affiliated with Realief Neuropathy Centers, a national company with a system of care that has been created with the help of the University of Minnesota Medical School.
Results from the Realief system of care have been published in medical studies and that demonstrated reversal of the signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. No other treatments available today can say that. Our aim is to restore a high quality of life to those suffering from the miserable life-limiting symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy. Many of our patients came to us after trying countless mainstream and alternative therapies for neuropathy without success.
While we do make use of medications we recognize that even though they can provide symptomatic relief from pain, they often fail and do not reverse disease. They also often have undesirable side effects. That is why we look at all the factors that may be affecting your condition and try to address those that we can treat successfully. Whether that be neuropathy alone, associated vascular disease, arthritis, or soft tissue disease such as strained tendons of sprained ligaments with our treatment approach patients have shown a significant reduction in neuropathy symptoms. We’re determined to provide you with long-term relief so you can return to the full, active and joyful life you deserve, unimpaired by neuropathy. We are delighted to offer emerging technologies like the Realief system of care that makes use of photobiomodulation and physiotherapy in additions to the other tools in our arsenal. Rest assured that we will try to find treatments that are either drug-free, have the least amount of side effects, are comfortable, and non-invasive with no risk of adverse side effects whenever possible.
We’d like to invite you to a no-obligation informational session. Call our office at 864-235-1834 for your informational session or a complete medical consultation today!