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Peripheral Neuropathy

Do you suffer from pain, numbness, tingling, or burning in the hands or feet? Have you been treated without success and are tired of taking medications that don’t fix the problem? What Is Peripheral Neuropathy? Peripheral Neuropathy (PN) is the term used to describe disorders of the peripheral nervous system. Even though 10 to 20 million people in the US suffer with PN, information is hard to come by.

According to the Neuropathy Association, “Peripheral Neuropathy is caused by damage to your body’s peripheral nerves. This damage disrupts the body’s ability to communicate with its muscles, skin, joints, or internal organs. It is like the body’s wiring system breaking down. If ignored, peripheral neuropathy can lead to numbness, pain, weakness, and incoordination.” Peripheral neuropathy often causes numbness and pain in your hands and feet. People typically describe the pain of PN as tingling or burning, while they may compare the loss of sensation to the feeling of wearing a thin stocking or glove.

This nerve damage can result from such problems as traumatic injuries, infections, metabolic problems, and exposure to toxins. One of the most common causes is diabetes. Approximately 50% of diabetics will develop the condition. Many people using statin medications (cholesterol drugs) will also be affected by this mysterious and under-recognized condition. 

The Peripheral Nervous System: The peripheral nervous system is made up of the nerves that branch out of the spinal cord to all parts of the body.

Peripheral nerve cells have three main parts: Cell body, axons, and dendrites (nerve/muscle junction). And part of the nerve can be affected, but damage to axons is most common. The axon transmits signals from nerve cell or nerve cell to muscle. Most axons are surrounded by a substance call myelin, which facilitates signal transmission. 

There are two types of symptoms with PN: 

Negative signs: Negative signs, which come first, are when damage to the nervous system brings about a LOSS of a particular function. For example; loss of reflexes, loss of strength and loss of sensation, like numbness. But these are rarely detectable to the patient, because the brain makes up the difference in the losses.

Positive signs: Only after some time do the sick and damaged nerves develop the positive signs of neuropathy, which are tingling, burning, biting, stabbing, and shooting pains. This is a reaction of the brain and the nervous system.

Patients with PN will have individualized pain, which makes it hard to diagnose. Some neuropathies come on suddenly. Others will not develop it for many years. Some people are affected only by a weakness in the arms and legs, which leads to difficulty standing, walking, or getting out of a chair. The loss of sensation from the feet, ankles, and toes also causes patients with PN to fall very easily. Some patients will eventually become unable to walk at all. These debilitating problems can also worsen at night while trying to get to sleep.

Currently, ordinary medicine has no cure for peripheral neuropathy. These individualized symptoms can easily confuse a doctor not trained in the recognition and treatment of these patients. So the patient usually continues to suffer. They go from doctor to doctor to seek help and begin using stronger doses of medication because the pain never goes away. The extremely powerful drugs dispensed to patients do not treat the nerve damage! The pain medications numb the brain to numb the pain. Most patients can not tolerate a drugged existence but feel they have no other option against this horrifying pain. These under-recognized sensory losses can only be detected with a proper clinical exam.

Chiropractic care can play an important role in improving quality of life for neuropathy sufferers, and our office has the necessary tools to uncover the underlying cause of this ‘silent’ nerve damage and treat your condition without powerful pain medication.

If you would like to have more information or to set up a free consultation to see how we can help you or someone you know suffering with this painful condition, please give us a call at 865-584-7246 to schedule an appointment to see if you are a candidate for these breakthrough procedures for this painful condition.

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