What is neuropathy?
Neuropathy is damage or dysfunction of one or more nerves that typically results in numbness, tingling, muscle weakness and pain in the affected area. Neuropathies typically start in your hands and feet, but can affect many other body parts as well. It is estimated that 25-30% of Americans will be affected by neuropathy, making this condition one that our physicians at Remedy Pain Solutions diagnose and treat very regularly.
What causes neuropathy?
Neuropathy can be caused by many underlying conditions, with some being more easily treated than others. Some of the main causes of neuropathy are:
- Autoimmune disorders or infections
- Other health conditions
- Medications and poisons
- Vascular disorders
- Abnormal vitamin levels
- Inherited disorders
- Unknown cause
What are the symptoms of neuropathy?
- Tingling or numbness
- Sharp, burning, throbbing, stabbing or electric-like pain
- Changes in sensation
- Falling, loss of coordination
- Not being able to feel items touching your hands or feet
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle twitching
- Inability to move part of the body (paralysis)
- Low blood pressure or abnormal heart rate
- Sweating more or less than normal
- Problems with bladder (urination), digestion (bloating, nausea/vomiting), and bowels (diarrhea, constipation)
- Sexual dysfunction
- Unintentional weight loss
How is neuropathy diagnosed?
- History and physical exam
- Neurologic exam
- Blood work and imaging test
- Genetic testing
- Nerve conduction study (NCS), electromyography (EMG)
- Tissue biopsy
- Other tests
How is neuropathy treated?
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Mechanical aids
- Proper nutrition
- Adopting healthy living habits
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
- Immune suppressing or immune modulating treatments
- Complimentary treatments
How do you prevent against neuropathy?
- Manage your diabetes
- Take care of your feet
- Declutter your floors
- Stop smoking
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle
- Review your medications
- Regular follow up visits with your primary healthcare provider
Can neuropathy be stopped or reversed?
Your long-term outlook is dependent on the source of your neuropathy. If the neuropathy is caused by a treatable condition, treatment of the underlying condition may stop the neuropathy or prevent it from getting worse. If the underlying cause of your neuropathy can’t be treated, the goal then becomes to manage the symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Our physicians at Remedy Pain Solutions are trained to accurately diagnose and treat neuropathy. It is important for patients to seek an evaluation by their healthcare provider as soon as they notice symptoms of neuropathy. If left untreated, neuropathy can lead to permanent nerve damage in some patients. If you are concerned that you may have new or chronic neuropathy, call us at Remedy Pain Solutions to set up an appointment at one of our several clinic locations.