Neuropathy is damage to the nerves on the periphery of the body, outside the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include weakness, numbness, and pain, usually in areas where the nerve endings are smallest, such as in the hands and feet. One of the most common causes of neuropathy is diabetes, where there is nerve damage due to high glucose levels. Some other causes include injury, infections, metabolic conditions, and exposure to environmental toxins.
Let’s talk about how neuropathy is diagnosed and what treatments are available.
To diagnose neuropathy, your doctor will perform a complete physical exam and ask you questions about your medical history, including family history, current and past medications, symptoms, lifestyle, and exposure to toxins. Your doctor will also perform a neurological exam, including things like checking your reflexes, muscle strength and tone, ability to feel temperatures and sensations, and your posture and coordination.
Your doctor may order some tests to help diagnose neuropathy. These include:
- Blood tests – This can detect vitamin deficiencies, diabetes, decreased immune function, and other conditions indicative of neuropathy.
- Imaging tests – These can look for herniated discs, pinched nerves, and tumors that could help rule out other conditions.
- Nerve function tests – This records the electrical activity in your muscles to detect nerve damage.
- Nerve biopsy – A small portion of the nerve is removed to detect any abnormalities.
Treatment is aimed at relieving pain and other symptoms of neuropathy. Your doctor will work with you to find the right combination of medication and therapies to help with your neuropathy. While there is no cure for neuropathy, many medications can help manage your symptoms. These medications include:
- Pain relievers – Over-the-counter pain medications can help relieve mild pain from neuropathy. For more severe pain, your doctor may prescribe prescription-strength pain medication or narcotics.
- Anti-seizure medications – Medications used to treat epilepsy have been shown to help relieve nerve pain.
- Antidepressants – Certain types of antidepressants can help relieve nerve pain by disrupting the chemical processes in your brain that cause you to feel pain.
- Topical treatments – Pain-relieving creams and patches applied to the skin can help improve painful symptoms of neuropathy.
There are many therapies that can also help improve symptoms of neuropathy. These therapies include:
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) – This involves placing electrodes on the skin that deliver electric currents at varying frequencies.
- Intravenous immune globulin – This procedure involves delivering high levels of proteins that work as antibodies (immunoglobulins) into the body. This can help people with inflammatory conditions.
- Surgery – If you have tumors that are putting pressure on the nerves, surgery may be necessary.
- Physical therapy – This can help improve muscle strength and tone if you have muscle weakness from neuropathy.
Neuropathy Treatment in Jacksonville, FL
Here at NIVA Health, we offer comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of neuropathy to help relieve your pain and discomfort. Our team of doctors and nurse practitioners are skilled at helping you receive the best treatment possible for your neuropathy.
If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment at one of our office locations, use our convenient online appointment request form. Your journey to a pain-free life is just a click away. Let us help you today!