What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
The term "neuropathy" describes painful conditions caused by nerve interference or damage. Examples of neuropathies include peripheral neuropathy, diabetic neuropathy and vascular neuropathy. The most common type of neuropathy diagnosed is peripheral neuropathy, or damage to nerves extending from your spinal cord and brain into all areas of your body. Degeneration of myelin (a protective fatty substance protecting nerve cells) prevents cells from transmitting electrical signals to your brain. Eventually, nerves short-circuit, send false signals to the brain and cause symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.
How Do I Know If I Have Peripheral Neuropathy?
Signs of ongoing nerve damage include:
- Numbness and tingling
- Burning sensations in your arms, legs, feet and hands
- Cold feet and hands
- Muscle weakness in the extremities
Symptoms can vary depending on what is causing peripheral neuropathy. Rubbing numb feet vigorously may bring temporary relief but numbness returns quickly during a neuropathy event. If your hands are affected, you may try to grasp and hold onto something but can't because of extreme numbness. Gait abnormalities, inability to maintain your balance, muscle atrophy and weakness are also side effects of untreated peripheral neuropathy.
What Causes Peripheral Neuropathy?
Diabetes is the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy, followed by inflammatory disorders (fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome), metabolic disorders, vasculitis and infections. Less common causes include vitamin deficiencies (especially vitamins B and E) and chemotherapy.
Peripheral neuropathy is divided into subtypes. Mononeuropathy affects only one nerve (carpal tunnel syndrome, for example) while multiple mononeuropathy affects at least two nerves. If you are diagnosed with polyneuropathy, this means many nerves are impacted by a particular disease or disorder. Most people have polyneuropathy.
How Does a Chiropractor Diagnose Peripheral Neuropathy?
During your first appointment, your Southeast Louisiana chiropractor will evaluate your complete medical history, ask you to describe all your symptoms and perform a neurological examination that includes assessing your coordination, reflexes, balance and movement. Other tests could involve electromyography tests to determine how well nerves are transmitting impulses to the brain. EMGs also analyze electrical activity within muscles and soft tissues. If your chiropractor thinks a metabolic disorder or vitamin deficiency is causing your peripheral neuropathy, blood tests may be ordered as well.
How Does Chiropractic Treatment Relieve Neuropathic Nerve Pain?
Nerves affected by peripheral neuropathy need to receive ample amounts of oxygenated blood essential for nerve health. Chiropractors at Geaux Chiro offer an effective variety of chiropractic techniques to naturally alleviate pain, numbness, tingling and burning without drugs or surgery. Adjustments, massage therapy and nutritional planning not only increases circulation to and around damaged nerves but also promotes formation of new capillaries while increasing cellular energy levels by encouraging production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). In addition, chiropractic treatment for peripheral neuropathy improves functioning of your lymphatic system to reduce inflammation, swelling and pain caused by different neuropathies.
Schedule an Appointment at the Nearest Geaux Chiro Location
Following development of a personalized treatment plan addressing your specific neuropathic symptoms, your chiropractor may also suggest taking advantage of physical therapy to further help relieve symptoms of neuropathy and improve overall nervous system health.
Start taking control of your peripheral neuropathy by making an appointment today. We also invite you to call Geaux Chiro to learn more about how chiropractic techniques have helped many or our patients suffering painful neuropathies.