When we hear the word neuropathy we automatically think of it being some type of nervous system issue. The definition of neuropathy is, “Damage to or disease affecting the nerves.” A good question to ask yourself is, “How do these nerves become damaged or start to die off?” Neuropathy is really a vascular issue because the arteries around the nerves start to lose their blood supply causing the nerves to shrivel once the blood vessels disappear due to a lack of oxygen. Neuropathy covers a wide area and can be termed mononeuropathy meaning it affects only one nerve or polyneuropathy meaning it affects several nerves. Peripheral neuropathy is also common meaning it affects the peripheral nervous system including the hands and feet. Three different nerve types including sensory nerves, motor nerves, and autonomic nerves can be disrupted when experiencing neuropathy. The sensory nerves control the sensation pathway from your extremities to your brain. A patient with neuropathy would experience symptoms like tingling, burning, pain, and numbness. The motor pathway controls a person’s ability to move and generate power. If you were experiencing motor issues you would have trouble with balance and feel weakness, heaviness, or cramping in your hands and feet. The last pathway, the autonomic nerves, control gut and bladder control. When these nerves aren’t firing it can cause changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and sweating.
Another common misconception that often occurs when patients hear the word neuropathy is that it only occurs due to Diabetes. However, this statement is only partially correct. Only thirty percent of all neuropathy diagnoses are linked to diabetes. Patients who are diabetic or pre-diabetic are more at risk for amputation, though. Approximately 86,000 diabetics every year lose an extremity as a complication from their neuropathy. So, where does the other seventy percent of cases come from? Neuropathy is a progressive disease on its own. It can also be linked to poor circulation, spinal stenosis, chemotherapy, medications, infections, alcohol abuse, and autoimmune diseases, among other causes.
Most medical doctors or neurologists will prescribe a drug to help relieve a patient of their symptoms. It is your duty to understand that the drug prescribed is only going to mask the symptoms while the real condition itself becomes progressively worse. Treatments such as low-level laser therapy, infrared, and nerve stimulation therapy are designed to regenerate cell growth, decrease swelling, decrease pain, promote angiogenesis, and increase the healing time of chronic wounds. This is how neuropathy can be treated and controlled and there are over two thousand research articles to prove it!
December 21, 2016
Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. Andrew Kender, Dr. Robert Nichols, Chiropractic Physicians