Peripheral neuropathy is disorder that causes damage to the body’s peripheral nerve systems. The peripheral nerve system connects the skin, joints, muscles and internal organs to the brain and spinal cord. Any damage to the peripheral nervous system interferes with these vital connections. Numbness and loss of sensation are the most common symptoms of the condition. Symptoms become more visible in the feet and toes and can cause weakness, numbness and burning or stabbing pain. Leading pain management centers in Brooklyn, NY provide effective treatment to help patients better manage the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy and improve the quality of life.
It is estimated that about 20 million people in the United States suffer from peripheral neuropathy. This chronic never disorder is caused not by a single disease, but by a series of other conditions. One of the most common causes of this disorder is diabetes mellitus. Other causes include traumatic injuries, infections, metabolic problems, autoimmune disorders, exposure to toxins/poisons, alcoholism, vitamin deficiencies and other inherited disorders.
Peripheral neuropathy can affect a single nerve or several nerves at the same time. Common symptoms include –
- Prickling and tingling sensations in the affected body part
- A burning or sharp pain (usually in the feet)
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Regularly dropping things from your hands
- Twitching and muscle cramps
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Bowel incontinence (loss of bowel control)
- Digestive difficulty
In leading pain management centers, a group of healthcare professionals comprising neurologists, physical therapists, pain management specialists and chiropractors work as a team to diagnose and treat peripheral neuropathy. Initial diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy involves a detailed physical and neurological examination. Blood tests and diagnostic imaging tests such as MRI scan and CT scan, nerve biopsy, electromyography, skin biopsy and other nerve conduction velocity (NCV) tests may be used to detect the exact causes of this nerve disorder.
Treatment programs for peripheral neuropathy combine chiropractic care, pain medications and physical therapy procedures.
- Chiropractic care – Chiropractic treatment uses spinal manipulation and realignment techniques to treat the underlying cause of neuropathy to help manage pain.
- Physical therapy – Physical therapy helps maintain mobility, reduce pain and improve strength. Therapeutic exercise programs include gentle strengthening, stretching, aerobic and isometric exercises.
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) – Application of low voltage electric current interacts with sensory nervous system to block or reduce muscle stiffness and pain.
- Pain medications – Medications such as Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS), anti-seizure medications and certain Tricyclic antidepressants can help reduce pain.
Early diagnosis and treatment can help improve outcomes. The best way to prevent this nerve disorder is to manage medical conditions such as diabetes or other conditions that put you at increased risk. Making healthy lifestyle choices such as following a balanced diet, exercising regularly and avoiding repetitive motions that cause nerve damage could help reduce risk of peripheral neuropathy.