In the United States, it is estimated that more than 20 million people suffer from some form of Peripheral Neuropathy. The real number is likely higher, due to the diversity and complexity of this condition’s symptoms, which make it difficult to diagnose. Neuropathy can be caused by any number of different life events and health conditions. It’s important to understand it so that we can take the steps to avoid it, or to find the best treatment for us should we develop it.
WHAT IS NEUROPATHY?
Let’s begin with a simple definition. Think of your nerves as roads for the signals that go to and from the brain or spinal cord--the central nervous system (CNS). When they become damaged or diseased, it can lead to signal loss, inappropriate signaling, or distorted messages. That is neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is when dysfunction occurs specifically in the peripheral nervous system (PNS), which includes all of the nerves in your body besides the CNS.
SYMPTOMS AND CLASSIFICATION
Neuropathy is characterized by many symptoms, the most common being numbness, tingling, weakness, and pain. While these typically occur in the extremities (namely, the hands and feet), neuropathy can also affect other parts of the body, such as the digestive and circulatory systems, depending on which part of the PNS is damaged or diseased.
ENJOY THE SIMPLE THINGS AGAIN
We can classify peripheral neuropathy based on the type of nerves that it affects:
- Motor: These nerves are responsible for controlling movement. Neuropathy that affects the motor nerves is characterized by muscle weakness, loss of coordination, cramps, and muscle atrophy.
- Sensory: These nerves enable us to feel sensations such as touch, temperature, and pain. Neuropathy that affects the sensory nerves usually manifests as numbness or tingling.
- Autonomic: These nerves regulate involuntary organ functions. Neuropathy in the autonomic nervous system affects the gastrointestinal tract, the reproductive system, blood pressure, etc.
Neuropathy can be caused by a wide range of conditions, from accidents that damage the nervous system to chronic diseases like diabetes. In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of neuropathy in the U.S., with roughly 60% to 70% of diabetics reportedly suffering from this condition.
Identifying the root cause of your nerve damage is necessary for arriving at the correct diagnosis and planning subsequent treatment.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
A patient normally undergoes a battery of tests to identify whether or not they are suffering from neuropathy. An initial assessment is conducted by your physician, wherein they conduct a thorough physical examination and go over your medical history. From there, several tests can be performed, such as neurologic exams, bloodwork, imaging, genetic testing, electrodiagnostic assessment (EDX), and more.
Treatment for neuropathy will depend on the underlying medical problem causing it. At Beyer Functional Wellness, we offer two forms of treatment:
- Hako-Med Therapy: We use a Hako-Med Microcurrent Stim machine to alleviate muscle spasming and inflammation. Our device is unique in that it is the only machine on the market that stimulates the nerves both electrically and biochemically, helping our patients heal dramatically quicker.
- Cold Laser Approach: Used in conjunction with our Hako-Med machine, the cold laser approach involves using low levels of light to stimulate healing in the affected nerves.
If you or a loved one is suffering from neuropathy, look no further than Beyer Functional Wellness. Our treatment methods are safe and non-invasive. Our very own Dr. Beyer has successfully treated peripheral neuropathy and many of his patients have reported feeling 95% better.