Because there are so many types of neuropathy, this disorder affects a large amount of people; in fact, nearly 20 million Americans have some form of neuropathy. Oftentimes, however, people suffering from neuropathy may be misdiagnosed or may not even know they have it at all. At Integra Medical Center, we will not only address if a patient is suffering from neuropathy, but also start a treatment plan to control and relieve the symptoms.
What Is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy takes place when nerves in the body become damaged. This most often happens to the nerves in the peripheral nervous system, which is why it is commonly known as peripheral neuropathy. This damage can affect one nerve (mononeuropathy) or multiple nerves (polyneuropathy).
Generally, neuropathy is caused by another medical condition, and the conditions that can cause this disorder vary greatly. Neuropathy can be caused by natural injuries or injections in the body, exposure to toxins, pinched nerves, alcoholism or metabolic disorders, such as diabetes.
Common Types of Peripheral Neuropathy
Although there are over 100 types of neuropathy, there are a few common types that are experienced more frequently by people suffering from the condition. Common types include:
This type of neuropathy affects the autonomic nervous system, which is the system of nerves that has a large range of control over most of the body. This means that you can experience symptoms like abnormal sweat patterns, high blood pressure or even gastrointestinal tract issues, such as diarrhea or constipation.
Roughly 60 to 70 percent of diabetic patients will experience some form of neuropathy during their lifetime, making diabetic neuropathy a serious concern. This often happens because the disease keeps the body from processing nutrients into energy, which leads to high blood sugar levels that can injure nerve fibers in the body.
The most common hereditary neuropathy is Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT). CMT affects nearly 1 in 2,500 Americans and has over 70 variations of the disorder. Affecting primarily motor and sensory nerves, CMT often produces weakness in the feet and leg muscles and can also attribute to foot deformities like high arches.
Symptoms of Neuropathy
While neuropathy symptoms can vary, especially for those experiencing autonomic neuropathy, there are several staple symptoms that are signs of the condition.
- Tingling and numbness in the feet or hands
- Cramping in the legs
- Extreme skin sensitivity
- Weakened grip abilities
- Muscle weakness
- Pain in legs and feet when walking
- Burning pain (especially at night)
To begin treating neuropathy, you must first uncover and address its cause, whether that cause is a serious condition like alcoholism or something more generally treated like an infection. Once the cause is treated, however, there is no guarantee that your symptoms will completely go away. At Integra Medical Center, we want to make sure that we help you to control your pain and discomfort from neuropathy, so that it does not hold you back from living your life.
At Integra Medical Center, our Robinson Township chiropractors often use physical medicine and therapy to relieve your neuropathy symptoms. Physical rehabilitation will help strengthen the muscles and balance by implement exercises, and through this strengthening, we can help to restore any lost functions in the body.
Transcutaneous Electronic Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
One way to relieve nerve pain is to stop the pain signals from traveling to the brain, which can be done with TENS therapy. We place adhesive electrodes on the skin that will release electrical impulses to the nerves at varying frequencies. We perform this treatment for about 30 minutes a day until the neuropathy symptoms dissipate.
Often coordinated with physical therapy treatment, we can use massage therapy to stimulate nerves and improve blood circulation, especially in the hands and feet. It will also help to relax muscles, so that the nerves can work to rehabilitate, which can help reduce pain.
If you have any questions or are concerned you have neuropathy, you can fill out our Ask The Doctor form located on this page. A member of our staff will contact you as soon as possible.