Tired of Peripheral Neuropathy?
Any of the following symptoms apply to you?
- Pins and Needles
- Sharp Pain
What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy is a problem of peripheral nerves. Peripheral nerves are the nerves that travel to your hands and feet. When the nerves are damaged, they don’t work properly. People with peripheral neuropathy have no feeling in their feet or abnormal feeling in their toes.
Peripheral neuropathy affects nearly everything. It impairs feeling and sensation, causing pain or even complete numbness. You lose your sense of coordination and balance. Muscles may become weakened or even paralyzed. Unnoticed nicks and scrapes can worsen into dangerous foot ulcers.
The biggest cost, though, is in the day-to-day moments. If you cannot walk more than a few paces with pain, or cannot drive, or cannot work, your world gets a lot smaller.
Fortunately, that is changing. Check out our SMART Neuropathy Program, with new and advanced treatments available at our office are delivering incredible results for our patients.
Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy
In the United States, the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, about 60% to 70% of people with diabetes will develop neuropathy
Other causes of peripheral neuropathy include:
- Medication – Certain medications such as some chemotherapy drugs.
- Heredity – Some people have a family history of peripheral neuropathy.
- Aging – Peripheral neuropathy is more common as people age.
- Arthritis – Certain types of arthritis, especially the lower back, can cause peripheral neuropathy.
- Alcoholism – About half of all long-term heavy drinkers develop peripheral neuropathy.
- Neurological conditions – Some neurological conditions like spina bifida and fibromyalgia can cause peripheral neuropathy.
- Physical trauma – Car accidents, falls, fractures, overuse injuries or repetitive movements can put a strain on peripheral nerves and either damage them in an instant or slowly degenerate them over time.
- Vitamin deficiency – Such as a vitamin B deficiency.
- Viral Infections – Some examples include HIV, Herpes Zoster Shingles, Lyme disease, and Epstein Barr.
- Biomechanical abnormality – An example is flat feet with tarsal tunnel syndrome.
- Some autoimmune diseases – Like Sjogren’s syndrome.
- Smoking – Chronic smoker with poor circulation.
- Hypothyroidism – This causes fluid retention and chronic pressure on peripheral nerves.
- Idiopathic neuropathy – Sometimes, the exact cause of peripheral neuropathy cannot be identified. In this case, you may have idiopathic neuropathy, which means the cause is unknown.
Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy
The most common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may vary from mild to severe and may include the following:
- Burning, numbness, or tingling in your feet may slowly spread up your legs.
- Shooting or stabbing pain in the toes.
- Pain during normal activities (for example, pain when a blanket comes on your feet).
- Balance coordination problem or weakness.
- An abnormal sensation when wearing socks or gloves that are too small and tight.
- Often the pain can be so severe, it causes patients to not be able to sleep.
If you find yourself feeling numbness or experiencing burning sensations in your feet, you may have peripheral neuropathy. If this is the case, we can help with your peripheral neuropathy at Restore Podiatry & Laser Center.
Problems with Standard Neuropathy Treatment
Too many people suffer from neuropathy pain for many years before finding the solutions that work best for them. The normal treatment method for peripheral neuropathy does nothing and hides the symptoms while the nerve damage is still getting worse.
Yes, you read that right. It is surprising that the treatment most commonly offered are medications that only trick the brain and do not fix the problem. The problem with basic treatment is in the medications used and misunderstanding of how medications work and does not improve nerve damage.
Standard Medications for Neuropathy
Prescription drugs like Gabapentin, Lyrica, and neurontin cover up pain but do not stop or reverse nerve damage. The issue with these prescription medications is that these drugs do not treat underlying causes.
In many patients, the severity of neuropathy continues to get worse. This means the patient will need to increase their dosage to continue hiding the pain, while the primary cause may develop into a greater problem. However, these prescription drugs become the go-to standard treatment for peripheral neuropathy patients seeking treatment, aimed at blocking pain signals while their nerve damage worsens.
These drugs trick the mind into not recognizing pain, while the condition itself, which is affecting the pain, continues to progress. The mind telling the nerves there is no pain, does not mean the nerve is not still being damaged by an underlying disease process. This ability for the medication to take away some of the pain but not actually fix the actual reason for the pain is why the medications finally stop working after years.
The condition gets worse, and the drug no longer becomes effective. These prescriptions are sometimes used in combination with NSAIDs and even narcotics. The side effects of this can leave you with even more side effects and a disease that continues to worsen. This is then where a doctor might prescribe a medication to treat the side effect of another medication.
The Problem with Opioids Drugs
The pain of neuropathy can be very serious to the point that opioid drugs may be recommended.
People with neuropathic pain who take long-term opioid therapy for 90 days or more have a higher risk for depression, opioid dependency, and overdose. It is important to remember that there is no way to tell ahead of time which one of you will suffer from these potential complications. One thing that is super important for younger people who suffer from peripheral neuropathy at an early age is to avoid opioid drugs for their long-term health.
Many doctors cannot fix peripheral neuropathy, do not know how to treat it the right way, and in many cases, do not know what caused it in the first place. So they do not give straightforward solutions but go through trial and error treatment methods until they find the treatment to stop the pain instead of focusing on stopping the nerve damage.
Common Misunderstandings with Peripheral Neuropathy Treatment Options
A common misunderstanding with most doctors is that neuropathy damage cannot be reversed and that there is no specific treatment that will repair nerve damage. There is a common misunderstanding that there is nothing that can be done for peripheral neuropathy except manage the pain. Yes, we understand that pain management is important, but we can help without narcotics to restore as much function back to the damaged nerves.
Another way peripheral neuropathy is mistaken is in thinking that if the medication makes the pain go away, then the disease is not getting worse. This is simply not true. Covering up the pain with a medication that tricks the brain into not feeling the pain, does not mean that the nerve is no longer being damaged. It just means you do not feel the damage while the nerve is actually continuing being damaged.
Medication shortcuts and misunderstandings around the options in treatment for peripheral neuropathy have left many people unsatisfied with standard treatment options and still in pain or discomfort. Restore Podiatry & Laser Center offers a variety of treatment modalities in order to find the best options for your unique presentation of peripheral neuropathy.
Our SMART Neuropathy Program
If you suffer from any kind of pain, numbness, tingling, or discomfort from neuropathy, it is important to know the problem with standard treatment. Restore Podiatry And Laser Center has natural pain relief options for those suffering from neuropathy and an experienced team to address the underlying conditions causing your neuropathy using a combination of laser treatment, nerve supplement, topical neuropathy, and/or radial shockwave.
Wondering if you are a candidate for this new comprehensive SMART Neuropathy Program? If you are experiencing symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, call us today to schedule a consultation to find out if you are a good fit for our SMART Neuropathy program or to learn more about this comprehensive approach for treating the root cause of neuropathy, rather than continuing to hide the symptoms as your condition gets worse. You can learn more about SMART neuropathy treatment on our treatment page.