The results are in; it’s a positive diagnosis for neuropathy.
Ok, that seems like an overreaction. Just a touch.
Yes, a neuropathy diagnosis can be scary and confusing. Our nerves are essential to our ability to function on a daily basis, so any damage to those nerves will naturally elicit fear. Feeling like the only person dealing with neuropathy can be an isolating experience.
Around 50 million Americans are suffering from some form of chronic pain or neuropathy. Plus, as chiropractors for neuropathy, we have experience caring for neuropathy patients – eliminating fear, relieving neuropathy pain, and restoring vitality.
We want to calm our patient’s nerves, pun intended. We field a lot of questions and wanted to share six of them today in case there is a reader out there who is dealing with neuropathy, has a few questions, but might be too afraid to ask them. The more we know, the more prepared we can be and the better we can fight.
What is neuropathy?
A fair question that everyone should be asking. It’s not a word that gets tossed around a lot, but with 1/6th of the U.S. dealing with it in some form, it seems like something we should all know a little bit more about.
Neuropathy is nerve damage.
It’s not a single health condition but more of a range of health problems resulting from damage to the nerves. If nerves get damaged, they transmit altered sensory signals that cause symptoms like:
- Temporary or permanent numbness
- Tingling, prickling, or burning sensation
- Increased sensitivity to touch
- Muscle weakness or wasting
- Dysfunction in organs or glands
- Impairment to urination and sexual function
These symptoms can sometimes be spontaneous or brought on by a stimulus that doesn’t usually trigger pain.
What causes neuropathy?
Unfortunately, there isn’t just one cause, that would make things too easy. Poorly controlled diabetes accounts for about 60% of neuropathy cases, while chemotherapy, HIV, shingles, kidney dies, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases, alcoholism, nutrient deficiencies, hereditary disorders, and physical trauma are other causes. To make matters worse, in 23% of cases the cause is unknown.
Why did my doctor say there is no cure or treatment for neuropathy?
Because they’re pure evil seems like the best albeit least professional answer to the question. A neuropathy diagnosis is still relatively new, so we’re still amassing evidence of treatments like acupuncture, laser, or e-stim that can help, but because of its infancy, the official position is that there is no specific cure.
Not the bedside manner we’ve come to expect:
Correcting the underlying condition causing neuropathy like a subluxation or herniated disc can allow the nerves to heal. If neuropathy is chemotherapy-induced, patients can experience neuropathy relief once cancer treatments stop. To be the bearer of bad news, however, some types of neuropathy, like diabetic neuropathy, are irreversible, and the goal of any treatment plan is to relieve symptoms and prevent future damage.
What is the best treatment for neuropathy?
Neuropathy is a progressive condition, meaning that, much like a bad relationship, it will only get worse unless we take action to stop the damage and start the healing. This may seem a bit on the nose, but chiropractic care is an incredible neuropathy treatment option. A healthy life is impossible without a healthy nervous system. Any subluxations – misalignments in the spine – interfere with nervous system function and can further scramble nervous system messages causing pain and dysfunction. Chiropractors specialize in locating and correcting these subluxations with chiropractic adjustments to optimize nervous system function.
True, any chiropractic patient knows about chiropractic’s powerful effects on the nervous system, but we also use Anodyne Infrared Therapy and ReBuilder Nerve Stimulation.
Anodyne Infrared Therapy – Neuropathy occurs when nerves are starved of nutrients, such as oxygen. Re-establishing blood flow to the nerves helps fight the suffocation of these nerves. This system, which can be administered at home, uses light therapy to create new blood vessels, stimulate the release of nitric oxide, decrease inflammation, and enhance the nerves’ ability to receive oxygen and other nutrients from the bloodstream.
ReBuilder Nerve Stimulation – Also an at-home neuropathy treatment, the ReBuilder “wakes up” the nerves, improving their ability to relay messages back and forth between the body and the brain. Kind of like:
Can I exercise with neuropathy?
Some people think neuropathy is a great excuse not to exercise. While I admire their creative reasoning skills, exercise is essential for nerve pain relief. Exercise lowers blood sugar levels and the risk of further nerve damage. In this context, exercise could mean this:
Or even this:
The simple act of taking the stairs over the elevator or getting outside to take a walk or work in the garden are great ways to lessen pain and improve muscle weakness associated with some neuropathy cases. A chiropractor is an excellent source for an exercise routine tailored specifically to each patient’s individual needs.
How am I supposed to live with neuropathy?
While the prognosis depends on the type of neuropathy and how far it has progressed, correcting the underlying condition causing the damage can give the servers a chance to recover and, in some cases, regenerate.
Lifestyle changes may be necessary but might be for the best. Changing up a diet, staying active and hydrated, being mindful of managing stress, and prioritizing sleep are all things that will impact neuropathy, decrease pain, and have the potential to lead to a more energized life. Remember, there’s no need to go at it alone; this isn’t some sort of Cheryl Strayed solo trip. Build a support system with family, friends, and medical providers. We all know what happened when James Franco went hiking ALONE in Utah for 127 Hours…
So yeah, don’t go at it alone. Chiropractic care has successfully given patients neuropathy pain relief and a renewed sense of hope. Our amazing doctors are expert partners on this road to recovery. Call us or schedule a time to meet with one of our doctors and discuss options to get back in the body you are meant to have.