Have you noticed that you have trouble performing your normal daily activities? Do you have pain, loss of feeling, changes in muscle control?
These could be symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. Talk to your doctor about all the changes you have noticed. It is important to find treatment options for peripheral neuropathy that are right for you.
What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Neuropathy describes the abnormal function of one or more peripheral nerves. Peripheral nerves refer to nerves located outside of the brain and spinal cord.
Causes of peripheral neuropathy include physical damage, disease, infections, metabolic processes, or toxins like chemotherapy. Diabetes is one of the most common causes of neuropathy.
Symptoms of neuropathy include weakness, numbness, and pain. The pain is usually described as tingling, burning, or stabbing in nature. This occurs most often in the hands and feet but may happen anywhere in the body.
How Neuropathy Impacts Your Body Function
Your nervous system carries signals to and from your brain. This allows you to move and feel sensations.
There are 4 categories of neuropathy.
- Autonomic nerve neuropathy affects the body’s system responsible for regulating automatic functions. This includes breathing and the beating of your heart.
- Motor neuropathy affects the nerves that tell muscles to move parts of the body.
- Sensory neuropathy affects the nerves that send impulses to your brain from your body.
- Combination neuropathies describe a mixture of 2 or 3 of the other types of neuropathies.
Why is it Important to Treat Neuropathy?
Severe cases of neuropathy can result in death.
If you are unable to control your muscle movement, you may be unable to walk or care for yourself. You may also have trouble using your hands, talking, or swallowing.
Impaired sense of touch may interfere with your ability to feel the floor causing you to fall. You may touch a hot pan causing severe burns. Blisters often occur on the feet in people with neuropathy and can lead to infection and even amputation.
Losing the ability to regulate automatic functions can cause organ failure. If your heartbeat is irregular, your heart does not fully fill with blood before it sends it to the body. When the stimulation to breathe regularly is lost, oxygen levels fall and all body tissues begin to die.
Available Treatment Options for Peripheral Neuropathy
The first step in treating neuropathy is defining the underlying disease process. Treatments must focus on individual patient needs and conditions.
Treatment options include:
- Medication to relieve pain
- Physical therapy to increase strength and balance and increase movement in all affected body parts.
- Occupational therapy teaches you ways to be more independent. You learn new methods for performing daily activities when you have lost function.
- Dieticians develop nutrition plans that focus on balancing vitamins and nutrients needed to keep you healthy.
- Special aids, such as braces and special shoes can help increase your balance and mobility.
- Surgery may help relieve compression-related neuropathy such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Health daily habits are very important. Smoking tobacco leads to decreased oxygen in the body and causes increased problems with neuropathy. Increased body weight and alcohol intake can put extra strain on your body.
It is Time to Get Started on Treating Your Peripheral Neuropathy
The professionals at Carolinas Regenerative Medicine will work with you to develop treatment options for peripheral neuropathy tailored to your specific needs. We’d be happy to answer your questions and help develop a plan of care for you.