Approximately 20 million people in the United States have peripheral neuropathy in some form. Damage to the peripheral nervous system can cause a wide range of symptoms, from numbness to paralysis. If you believe you may have peripheral neuropathy, book your appointment with one of the chiropractors at Apple Wellness Center in Winchester, Virginia today.
The peripheral nervous system is a network of nerves that run throughout the body. It sends signals to the central nervous system, which is in the brain and spinal cord. Messages travel from the central nervous system to the peripheral nervous system as well.
Damage to the peripheral nervous system — whether caused by illness such as infection or disease or by trauma, vitamin deficiency, or several other conditions — can cause many different symptoms. Diabetes mellitus is the most frequent cause of peripheral neuropathy. The symptoms that a patient feels depends on which, and how many, nerves are damaged.
There are three main types of nerves:
Peripheral neuropathy can affect one nerve, which is called mononeuropathy; individual nerves in different areas, referred to as multiple mononeuropathy; or many nerves can be affected, which is polyneuropathy. Polyneuropathy is the most common form of peripheral neuropathy.
The symptoms a person with peripheral neuropathy has depends on which nerves are damaged. Often, early symptoms include tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, but the inability to perceive temperature or pain can also occur. If autonomic nerves are involved, diarrhea, constipation, or loss bladder control could result.
Because some causes of peripheral neuropathy can be controlled, one of the first steps in treatment is making sure any contributing factors that can be removed or controlled are addressed. In some cases, nerves can regenerate, allowing for recovery of function.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes weight management, a balanced diet, exercise, and avoiding alcohol can help improve the symptoms and overall effects of peripheral neuropathy. The chiropractors at Winchester Spine & Injury counsel patients on how to make healthy choices.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) has also been shown to help relieve the pain associated with peripheral neuropathy. TENS is considered safe for most people and is noninvasive.