Neuropathy develops when nerves in the body are damaged. The condition can cause a range of symptoms, which vary depending on the nerves affected. There are a number of treatments available that can help to slow or prevent the progression of some types of neuropathies. Find out more about them below.
Neuropathy typically affects the peripheral nerves, which are the nerves outside of the central nervous system. The condition develops when a nerve becomes damaged or injured, which then sends pain signals from the peripheral sensory receptors to the brain. Neuropathy may only affect one nerve (mononeuropathy) caused by a condition such as carpal tunnel syndrome, or two or more nerves in different locations (multiple mononeuropathy), or it can affect many nerves, known as polyneuropathy, which is the most common.
Damaged nerves can cause severe and painful symptoms. Peripheral neuropathy often affects the hands and feet, but it can also affect other areas of the body depending on which nerves are damaged. The most common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are pain, numbness, and tingling in the hands or feet, which may spread upwards to the arms or legs. Other symptoms may include:
- A sharp, throbbing, or stabbing pain or burning sensation in the affected area
- Inability to feel/numbness
- Muscle weakness
- Sensitivity to touch
- Loss of coordination or balance
- Paralysis (if motor nerves are affected)
If autonomic nerves are damaged, symptoms may include:
- Bladder, bowel, or digestive problems
- Intolerance to heat
- Excessive sweating or the inability to sweat
- Irregular heartbeat
- Changes in blood pressure
The most common cause of neuropathy is diabetes, but other medical factors and conditions can cause nerve damage, such as acute or overuse injuries, vitamin deficiencies/imbalances, chemotherapy, autoimmune disorders, infection, and exposure to certain chemicals and heavy metals.
When To Seek Treatment
If you have symptoms of neuropathy, it is important to visit your doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment offer the best chance of controlling symptoms effectively and in preventing neuropathy from progressing.
To successfully diagnose peripheral neuropathy, your doctor will review your medical history and carry out a thorough physical/neurological examination. They may perform a series of non-invasive tests to determine how much your neuropathy has progressed and to decide which treatment options are best. Your doctor will work with you to devise an appropriate care plan to manage your symptoms effectively.
Preventing Neuropathy From Progressing
The ability to stop the progression of neuropathy depends on the specific underlying cause of the condition along with other factors. Some types of neuropathies are treatable, and therefore, the progression can be slowed or prevented. Depending on the cause of neuropathy, treatment may include:
In many cases, lifestyle changes are a successful way to support nerve health and slow the progression of neuropathy. This can include:
- Eating a healthy diet rich in B-12 (such as meat, fish, eggs, and fortified cereals) fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein to ensure you get the necessary vitamins and minerals essential for nerve health
- Ensuring you get regular exercise (which can help to reduce pain and improve muscle strength)
- Avoiding activities that can lead to nerve damage, such as repetitive motions, inactivity, or exposure to toxic chemicals or heavy metals
- Avoiding consuming too much alcohol, which can worsen symptoms
- Giving up smoking, as this can affect circulation and lead to other complications
If neuropathy is a result of diabetes, it is important to manage the condition to avoid complications and to prevent neuropathy from progressing. This includes monitoring and lowering blood sugar levels and regularly checking the feet for signs of injury, wounds, or infection, which may go unnoticed if there is loss of feeling. Minor injuries can become significantly worse if left untreated, leading to infections or ulcers.
Medications, such as pain relievers, certain tricyclic antidepressants, or medication to treat the underlying cause, may be recommended to reduce pain, improve symptoms, and prevent progression.
Physical therapy can help to improve movement and balance associated with neuropathy. For conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, wrist splinting may help to improve symptoms, particularly at night.
Electrotherapy Neuropathy Program
Electrotherapy is a safe, painless, non-invasive, drug-free therapeutic treatment option to treat chronic pain associated with peripheral neuropathy resulting from diabetes, chemotherapy treatment, injuries, and infections. It may also be effective in treating other forms of chronic musculoskeletal pain.
This highly effective, FDA-approved treatment has minimal side effects, requires no downtime, and has proven results. It uses therapeutic energy waves to stimulate the body on a cellular level to optimize energy levels between the cells. This helps to heal injured tissues and relieve pain. Therapy is associated with a number of benefits that may include:
- Reducing or stopping pain symptoms
- Reducing inflammation
- Increasing blood flow
- Speeding up tissue turnover
- Increasing immune system functioning
- Lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Increasing cellular metabolism
- Helping eliminate toxins from the body
- Improving sleep quality
- Improving energy levels
Surgery may be recommended if neuropathies are the result of nerve compression, such as pressure from nearby ligaments, bones, or other tissues, or from a tumor.
Neuropathy Pain? Visit NIVA Health
At NIVA Health, we effectively treat chronic pain associated with peripheral neuropathy and other forms of chronic musculoskeletal pain in the most natural way possible. We provide a highly-effective, cutting-edge neuropathy program to stimulate the repair of the damaged cells and provide you with long-lasting relief from your symptoms.
To learn more about our neuropathy program or any of our other wellness services, visit NIVA Health at one of our convenient locations or call us at (866) 377-5872. You can also request an appointment online or sign up for a free consult.