Neuropathy, sometimes called peripheral neuropathy, is a type of nerve damage caused to your extremities, like your fingers and toes. It usually indicates a problem with your peripheral nervous system, which sends signals between your brain and your spinal cord. It’s also a fairly common condition, with an estimated 20 million Americans affected by it.
Neuropathy occurs when the nerve cells, or neurons, are damaged. Although neuropathy is uncomfortable, it is treatable. The providers at Beeson Wellness Center explain more about the telltale symptoms of neuropathy.
The causes of neuropathy
Neuropathy is always a sign of nerve damage, but many things can cause nerve damage. One of the most common causes of nerve damage is diabetes; prolonged high blood sugar levels damage your nerves.
Other causes of nerve damage include the following:
- A history of taking chemotherapy drugs for cancer
- Heavy alcohol use
- Older age
- Vitamin or nutritional deficiencies
- Blood vessel disorders
- Trauma or repetitive stress
- Autoimmune conditions
- Toxin exposure
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Certain infections
The telltale symptoms of neuropathy
Numbness or tingling
Feeling numbness, tingling, or prickling sensations in your hands or feet is a frequent symptom of neuropathy. This feeling may spread upward into your arms or legs. It may be constant or occur only intermittently.
Neuropathic pain may be described as stabbing, sharp, throbbing, or burning. It often does not respond to traditional over-the-counter pain relievers.
Muscle spasms are also common among people with neuropathy. This may also be experienced as muscle cramps or twitches. Sometimes, these spasms or twitches are even visible on the outside of your body. These spasms can also be painful, and you can’t really control when they happen.
Tightness or stiffness
You may feel a tight or stiff sensation in your hands or feet. This may feel like you’re wearing a sock or a glove even if you aren’t.
If you have neuropathy, you may find that your muscles feel weaker. You may find it more difficult to hold on to objects or have difficulty with walking. In some cases, you may even lose the ability to move a part of your body, on either a temporary or permanent basis.
How to treat neuropathy
The traditional medical approach to treating neuropathy often provides only limited relief, usually by prescribing medications.
The providers at Beeson Wellness Center take a more holistic approach to treat neuropathy. First, they may perform diagnostic tests, such as an ultrasound, digital X-rays, or surface electromyography. In addition, they will take a comprehensive health evaluation to look for the cause of the neuropathy and to rule out other causes.
Treating neuropathy may include a combination of the following therapies:
- Chiropractic adjustments
- Physical therapy
- Dietary changes
- Exercise routines
- Massage therapy
- Trigger point injections
Although neuropathy is certainly uncomfortable and should be seen as a wake-up call to seek treatment, the good news is that treatment can be quite effective. If you’re experiencing the symptoms of neuropathy, the best thing that you can do is to contact the providers at Beeson Wellness Center for an appointment.