Burning? Sharp? Numb? Tingling?
Have You Had Enough?
In my research and experience within the fields of neurology, nutrition, endocrinology, acupuncture, and neuromuscular rehabilitation for effective treatment of peripheral neuropathy, I have found there is NO SINGLE CURE for the painful suffering of peripheral neuropathy.
Of course, there are drugs that will mask your pain, but ultimately they do nothing to prevent the relentless progression of your neuropathy. I would think that would be the last option for treatment, not among the first to choose from when you are concerned about your long term health.
For effectively discovering the underlying cause of your peripheral neuropathy we look at you from a new perspective and address your individual needs. You see, I found that each person has their own particular set of circumstances that led to their condition. Even though many other people have the same symptoms, your neuropathy may have a different cause. Like different roads leading to the same destination.
Here is important information I want to share with you about peripheral neuropathy, and what we can do to help you get out of pain and get your health back.
When you realize that peripheral neuropathy is a symptom of an underlying problem with your physiology,… then it won’t make sense to simply cover up your symptoms with medication and not correct the cause of your problem.
Peripheral neuropathy, in its most common form, causes pain and numbness in your hands and feet. The pain typically is described as tingling or burning, while the loss of sensation often is compared to the feeling of wearing a thin stocking or glove.
Peripheral neuropathy can result from such problems as traumatic injuries, infections, metabolic problems and exposure to toxins. One of the most common causes of this disorder is diabetes. The effect on the nervous system, and blood vessels to the nerves, results in the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.
Your nervous system is divided into two broad categories. Your central nervous system consists of your brain and spinal cord. All the other nerves in your body are part of your peripheral nervous system, that includes:
* Sensory nerves to receive feelings such as heat, pain or touch
* Motor nerves that control how your muscles move
* Autonomic nerves that control such automatic functions as blood pressure, heart rate, digestion and bladder function
Most commonly, peripheral neuropathy begins in the longest nerves — the ones that reach to your toes. Specific symptoms can vary, depending on which types of nerves are affected. Signs and symptoms may include:
* Gradual onset of numbness and tingling in your feet or hands, which may spread upwards into your legs and arms
* Burning pain
* Sharp, jabbing or electric-like pain
* Extreme sensitivity to touch, even light touch
* Lack of coordination
* Muscle weakness or paralysis occur if motor nerves are affected
* Bowel or bladder problems occur if autonomic nerves are affected
A number of factors can cause neuropathies. These factors include:
* Trauma or pressure on the nerve. Nerve pressure can result from using a cast or crutches, spending a long time in an unnatural position, repeating a motion many times — such as typing at a computer keyboard — or having a tumor or abnormal bone growth. When peripheral neuropathy affects a single nerve, trauma or nerve pressure is the most likely cause.
* Diabetes. When damage occurs to several nerves, the cause frequently is diabetes. At least half of all people with diabetes develop some type of neuropathy.
* Vitamin deficiencies. B vitamins are particularly important to nerve health. Conditions or medications that interfere with the absorption of B vitamins can cause a deficiency.
* Alcoholism. Many alcoholics develop peripheral neuropathy because they have poor dietary habits, leading to vitamin deficiencies.
* Autoimmune diseases. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other immune system dysregulation, in which the immune system attacks your own tissues.
*Organic diseases. Kidney disease, liver disease and an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) also can cause peripheral neuropathy. Patients with immune deficiency also are prone to develop peripheral neuropathy.
* Genetic Inherited disorders such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and amyloid polyneuropathy.
* Toxic exposures. These may include environmental (pesticides, herbicides, chemical byproducts) and pharmaceutical toxic substances, such as heavy metals, and certain medications — especially those used to treat cancer.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to pinpoint the cause of peripheral neuropathy. In fact, if your neuropathy isn’t associated with diabetes, it’s possible the cause may never be found without specialized testing.
Seek treatment right away if you notice any unusual tingling, weakness, or pain in your hands or feet. Early diagnosis and treatment offers the best chance for controlling your symptoms and preventing further damage to your peripheral nerves.
Peripheral neuropathy isn’t a single disease, but rather a symptom with many potential causes. For that reason it can be difficult to diagnose. To help in the diagnosis, we will take a full medical history and perform a physical and functional neurological system exam that includes checking your tendon reflexes, your muscle strength and tone, your ability to feel certain sensations, your eye movements, and your posture and coordination. The source of your symptoms may be in your peripheral nerves, or it may be caused by a dysfunction in the area of your brain responsible for sensation in that part of your body. So we must examine your nervous system as a whole system instead of just looking at the part that hurts. And we don’t stop there…to be good doctors we must be good detectives. We do not leave any stone unturned in finding the cause of your condition.
We order any necessary metabolic function tests using blood tests, stool tests and saliva tests to evaluate the complex interaction of your organ and hormone physiology. We check your levels of vitamin B-12, and your ability to absorb vitamin B12, We check your iron levels, vitamin D levels, mineral levels, liver and kidney function among others. We look at urinalysis, thyroid function tests, thyroid antibodies, blood sugar regulation, adrenal function, environmental toxins and immune system tests.
Electromyography — a test that measures the electrical discharges produced in your muscles may be done. As a part of this test, you’ll be asked to have a nerve conduction study, which measures how quickly your nerves carry electrical signals.
Our first goal of treatment is to manage the condition causing your neuropathy. When the underlying cause is corrected, the neuropathy often improves on its own. Our second goal of treatment is to relieve your painful symptoms. Many types of approaches can be used to relieve the pain of peripheral neuropathy.
Just a word about medical treatment. I have the utmost respect for medical doctors, however, we often have a different perspective on health than they do. They are trained to treat specific diseases and they usually focus on treating one single thing, …the symptoms of the disease, instead of the broad picture,… the person with the disease.
We are different because we do not prescribe any medications to cover up symptoms and possibly cause side effects. We focus on correcting the underlying problem that caused the peripheral neuropathy in the first place.
The medications prescribed by your medical doctor to treat peripheral neuropathy can have numerous side effects and they don’t fix the problem!.
These commonly prescribed medications and their side effects include:
* Pain relievers. Drugs such as codeine, can lead to dependence, constipation or sedation.
* Anti-seizure medications such as Neurontin, Topamax, Lyrica, Tegretol and Dilantin were originally developed to treat epilepsy. However, doctors often also prescribe them for nerve pain. Side effects may include drowsiness and dizziness.
* Antidepressants such as amitriptyline and nortriptyline were originally developed to treat depression. They interfere with chemical processes in your brain and spinal cord that cause you to feel pain. Side effects include weight gain, dry mouth, loss of appetite, drowsiness, muscle stiffness, nausea, constipation, nervousness, dizziness, blurred vision, urinary retention and insomnia.
What makes us different is that we use natural, non-drug, non-surgical methods to eliminate pain and restore normal function of your body to regain health to the best of your body’s ability.
We use a wholistic, integrated approach in helping you restore your health. To help your nervous system we use unique, functional neurological therapies that improve and help rewire your brain and nervous system communication. Advanced electronic stimulation and specific metabolic therapies are used for improving peripheral nerve connections. High tech Low Level Laser with Microcurrent stimulation is also often helpful in regenerating nerve cell metabolism.
Metabolically, we use combinations of meal planning and nutritional supplements based on your individual tests that help to improve normal physiologic function of your body. This results in improved nourishment of your nervous system, blood vessels and entire body.
The best way to prevent peripheral neuropathy is to carefully manage any metabolic condition that puts you at risk. For example that means controlling your blood sugar level if you have diabetes or have a problem with alcohol. Balancing your immune system regulation if you have an autoimmune condition. Restoring normal control of your adrenal glands production of cortisol if that is deficient or excessive.
There are many different causes of metabolic imbalance that results in your symptoms. The one, or several causes that you have … are the ones we want to work on with you. That is individualized treatment …and that is the best treatment for you!
This is a great way to actively work at prevention, and it is something we personally practice. Waiting for disease to take over your body is a poor way to practice health care. By using a wholistic, functional approach, we can work at changing the course of your life from a downward spiral heading towards disease to a progressive improvement towards health.