When nerve cells are damaged, the flow of communication with each other and the brain are disrupted. This communication breakdown affects the motor and sensory nerves. It typically results in numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, and even pain in the affected area. Neuropathies frequently start in the furthest nerves from your brain—in the hands and feet—but other parts of your body can be affected too.
WHAT IS PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY?
Our nervous system consists of two major parts—the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS). Your brain and spinal cord make up your central nervous system. The peripheral nervous system is the network of all the nerves outside your brain and spinal cord.
The PNS transmits information from the CNS to the rest of the body and then back again. This data captures and relays the sensations we feel (cold feet, finger burning, etc.) to the brain.
Peripheral neuropathy is a disorder that occurs when one or more nerves are damaged, resulting in a disruption of messages from the brain to and from the body. You can think of it as static on a telephone line—the signals are distorted. The damaged nerves may send alerts of pain when there is nothing causing pain, or they might not send a pain signal even if something is harming you.
Peripheral neuropathy can affect anything from the vital organs to the skin or muscles, inhibiting proper movement or sensations throughout the limbs.
WHAT CAUSES PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY?
Peripheral neuropathy is quite common, and it’s estimated that about 25-30% of Americans are affected by it. When nerves experience damage from certain diseases or disorders, they don’t function correctly. Several conditions can cause nerve damage:
- Diabetes / High Blood Sugar
- Kidney Disorders
- Thyroid Disorders
- Physical Trauma
- Vitamin Deficiencies
- Nerve Entrapment
- Chronic Inflammation
- Certain Medications
- Auto-immune Disease
- Radiation & Chemotherapy Treatments
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY?
Peripheral neuropathy may exhibit zero symptoms. However, many patients may experience common symptoms relating to the loss of motor, sensory, and autonomic nerves, resulting in numbness and tingling that moves up the arms and legs. Other symptoms include extreme sensitivity to touch and muscle weakness. Peripheral neuropathy can even inhibit one’s ability to control autonomic sensory symptoms such as digestion, blood pressure changes, low heat tolerance, constant sharp pain, lack of coordination, dizziness, and irregular heartbeat.
- Loss of balance
- Sensitivity to touch
- Heaviness in feet
- Squeezing sensation in feet
THERAPIES TO ADDRESS PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY
Treating and managing the pain caused by peripheral neuropathy is crucial for relief. The first step in treating the symptoms is identifying the underlying causes of the condition itself. Many traditional treatments fail because they only cover up your symptoms and don’t heal your damaged nerves.
At OC Wellness Physicians Medical Group, we believe it’s essential to first conduct a complete diagnostic workup. That may include EKG studies, vascular studies, nerve conduction studies, and other specific diagnostic and blood workups to identify the source of the neuropathy and other contributing health issues affecting the condition.
At OC Wellness Physicians Medical Group, we employ non-invasive, therapeutic approaches to lessen peripheral neuropathy’s effects, providing our patients with lasting, exceptional results.
Incorporating the below treatment modalities, along with daily lifestyle changes, can eliminate the need to rely on pain medications and extensive, risky surgeries. Our treatments are designed to increase blood flow, restore normal nerve impulses, and decrease inflammation.
We use the following treatment modalities to help increase mobility and reduce pain:
- Physical therapy
- Home treatments
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
OC Wellness and Physicians Medical Group is here to help you navigate the best possible treatments and life-changing therapy options available. Call or schedule an appointment today.