Understanding Peripheral Neuropathy

Understanding Peripheral Neuropathy

Tingling, throbbing, muscle weakness, and poor coordination are some of the symptoms people have with peripheral neuropathy. Though, it’s estimated that about 20 million people in the United States have peripheral neuropathy, it’s believed that the number is much higher.

Given the wide range of symptoms and lack of testing for all types of neuropathies, misdiagnosis is common. 

At Apple Wellness Center in Winchester, Virginia, our experienced chiropractor, Michael Pasternack, DC, takes a comprehensive approach to pain conditions like peripheral neuropathy, focusing on finding and treating the root cause. 

Peripheral neuropathy is bewildering to many. Here, we want to help you understand this nerve pain condition and how we can help.

Peripheral neuropathy 101

Peripheral neuropathy refers to any condition that damages the peripheral nervous system. Your peripheral nervous system includes the various nerves that connect all the parts of your body to your brain and spinal cord. 

These nerves send messages from your body to your brain and receive messages from your brain. Any disruption in this messaging system ― from nerve damage or nerve dysfunction ― affects how your body operates. 

The disruption may affect any type of peripheral nerve, including:

Some types of peripheral neuropathy involve only one nerve (mononeuropathy), while others may affect many nerves in different areas (multiple mononeuropathy).

Types and symptoms

There are more than 100 types of known peripheral neuropathies. Each type has its own set of symptoms and disease course. Most known neuropathies affect all three types of nerves.

Diabetic neuropathy is one of the most common types. It causes nerve damage from high blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Guillain-Barre syndrome is also a type of peripheral neuropathy that develops when the immune system mistakenly attacks the nerves. 

Carpal tunnel syndrome, compression of the median nerve, is also a peripheral neuropathy disorder.

Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy vary and depend on the type and severity of nerve damage.

Sensory nerve damage

Damage to sensory nerves causes many of the symptoms you may associate with peripheral neuropathy such as pain, tingling, burning, and numbness. 

Motor nerve damage

With motor nerve damage, you may experience poor coordination or muscle weakness, cramps, or spasms.

Autonomic nerve damage

Autonomic nerve damage may cause symptoms like excessive sweating, intolerance to heat, or digestion problems. 

Causes of peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy may develop from a wide range of causes. Though diabetes is the most common cause, you can also develop nerve damage from:

In some cases, the underlying cause of the nerve damage is unknown. 

Treating peripheral neuropathy

For our patients with peripheral neuropathy, our first course of action is addressing the underlying cause of the nerve damage. For example, for patients with diabetes, we help them gain control over their blood sugar by creating a healthy diet and exercise plan.

For the pain symptoms associated with peripheral neuropathy, we provide chiropractic care, improving spinal alignment and the flow of communication from the peripheral nerves to the spinal cord and brain. 

We also offer electrical muscle stimulation to change nerve pain signals and cold laser therapy, which triggers biochemical reactions in the cells, reducing pain sensations. 

Peripheral neuropathy isn’t a single diagnosis, and no single treatment works for all. Our therapies focus on the root cause of the nerve damage to ease symptoms and heal the nerve. We can design a plan for you. 

Call our office or click the book online button to schedule an appointment today.

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