Neuropathy Treatment at Spring Chiropractic
What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition in which nerves are damaged, leading to symptoms such as weakness, burning pain, numbness, tingling and balance issues. The harm to the nerves can be caused by numerous issues in the body including compression of nerves in the back, physical injury, inadequate blood flow to the nerves, elevated levels of glucose in the bloodstream (diabetes), chronic infections and more. Every patient’s cause is unique, so it must be identified to aid in the healing of the nerves.
Symptoms of Neuropathy
The symptoms of neuropathy can vary greatly, depending on the cause. Some common symptoms include:
- Numbness or reduced feeling in the hands, arms, feet or legs
- Back pain or pain in hands, arms, feet or legs
- Sharp, burning or throbbing pains
- Extreme sensitivity to touch
- A feeling of electric shocks in the hands, arms, feet or legs
- Unusual sensations
- Loss of sensations
- Muscle weakness or paralysis
- Difficulty walking or moving the arms
- Loss of coordination; balance issues
- Abnormal sweating
- Feeling tired or weak
- Digestive problems, such as nausea, constipation, or diarrhea
- Sexual dysfunction
Symptoms of Neuropathic Pain the Back
Many individuals don’t immediately associate back pain with neuropathy since the pain usually does not originate in the back itself. Instead, those with nerve damage or compressed nerves in their back may experience pain in their arms or legs, such as sciatica which causes pain to radiate down one leg. However, this pain is actually the result of a nerve in the back.
If a person has undergone back surgery and later begins to experience chronic, gradually intensifying pain, there is a chance that the nerve has been damaged. People tend to assume that the back surgery was unsuccessful. A second surgery may be required to repair the affected nerve or release the pressure put on it.
Symptoms of back-based neuropathy are similar to those of peripheral neuropathy, such as sudden and sharp shooting pains, constant tingling, a burning sensation and weakness in the affected area.
Causes of Nerve Damage
Back pain that leads to peripheral neuropathy is usually caused by the compression of nerves. There are a variety of injuries that can lead to this. A herniated disc is one of the most common causes of nerve damage in the back. This occurs when the disc puts pressure on the nerve, sending pain signals to the brain.
Diabetes can cause peripheral neuropathy due to damage to the nerves caused by high blood sugar levels. High levels of glucose in the blood can damage the blood vessels that supply oxygen to the nerves, which can lead to nerve damage. This nerve damage can lead to symptoms such as burning, numbness, tingling and pain. Additionally, people with diabetes are more likely to have problems with their circulation, which can also contribute to nerve damage and peripheral neuropathy.
Alcoholism can lead to peripheral neuropathy due to its toxic effect on nerve tissue. Alcohol affects the nerves in several ways: it can damage the myelin sheath (the protective coating around the nerve cells), decrease the production of neurotransmitters (chemicals that transmit signals between cells), and interfere with the production of vitamins and other nutrients that the body needs to protect the nerves. Excessive alcohol consumption can also lead to a deficiency in B vitamins, which are necessary for keeping nerve cells healthy. All of these factors can lead to the nerve damage that characterizes peripheral neuropathy.
Nutritional deficiencies, such as vitamin B12 deficiency, can cause damage to the peripheral nerves. Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy. Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that helps to maintain the health of nerve cells. When there is a deficiency of B12, nerve cell health is compromised, which can lead to the development of peripheral neuropathy. Symptoms include tingling, numbness, and pain in the hands and feet. Treatment includes vitamin B12 supplementation and other lifestyle and dietary changes.
Auto-immune diseases, such as Guillain-Barre Syndrome can damage nerves. Peripheral neuropathy can be caused by auto-immune diseases, wherein the immune system mistakenly begins to attack the body and its own nerves. To ensure an accurate diagnosis and the best possible treatment plan, it is essential to undergo thorough testing.
Chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancer can damage the nerves in the hands and feet, leading to peripheral neuropathy. The drugs used in chemotherapy can cause the body to produce abnormal proteins that can damage the nerves. Chemotherapy drugs can also affect the way the body metabolizes nutrients and vitamins, leading to a deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals that are important for nerve health. In addition, chemotherapy drugs can also cause inflammation in the nerves and decrease the amount of blood flow to the nerves, leading to nerve damage and peripheral neuropathy.
Metabolic disorders can cause peripheral neuropathy by causing a disruption of the normal metabolism of the nerves. This can lead to damage to the nerves, which can cause pain, numbness, and tingling in the extremities. Metabolic disorders can cause a deficiency of essential vitamins and minerals, which can lead to damage of the peripheral nerves. This can also lead to a disruption of the normal nerve signals, which can cause muscle weakness, difficulty walking and balance problems.
Physical injury or trauma caused by a traumatic event can damage the nerves in the peripheral nervous system. Trauma can cause direct physical damage to the nerve fibers, leading to a disruption of the nerve impulses. It can also cause damage to the myelin sheath, the protective covering of the nerve, which can also inhibit nerve impulses. Other causes of physical injury or trauma that can lead to peripheral neuropathy include physical compression of the nerves, stretch injuries to the nerve and entrapment of the nerve in scar tissue.
Infections can cause inflammation of the nerves which can lead to peripheral neuropathy. The infection may also directly damage the nerve cells. In some cases, the infection may cause an autoimmune reaction, where the body’s own immune system attacks the nerves. Types of infections include:
- Viral infections such as chickenpox, shingles, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and Epstein-Barr virus.
- Bacterial infections such as Lyme disease and leprosy.
- Fungal infections such as valley fever and histoplasmosis.
- Protozoal infections such as toxoplasmosis.
- Parasitic infections such as schistosomiasis.
Toxins, such as lead, arsenic and mercury can damage the nerves in the peripheral nervous system. Other toxins that can cause peripheral neuropathy besides heavy metals also include industrial chemicals such as solvents and insecticides, and certain medications.
Can Peripheral Nerves Heal?
It is well established in the scientific literature that peripheral nerves have the capacity to heal. The pivotal point is to identify and address the source of the nerve damage in order to create the ideal conditions for the healing process. With the correct interventions and support, the nerves can repair themselves successfully.
Neuropathy Treatment: How to Fix Peripheral Neuropathy
It’s estimated that over 20 million people in the United States have some form of peripheral neuropathy. Damage to these nerves most often affects feeling in the extremities such as the hands and feet.
If you have been diagnosed with neuropathy or suspect that you have nerve damage, contact Spring Chiropractic for a free assessment. We will review your symptoms and discuss treatment options.