A Guide to Understanding Neuropathy

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A Guide to Understanding Neuropathy

May 6, 2020


Are you experiencing numbness, tingling, or burning in the hands and feet? Do you struggle with poor balance and feelings of physical weakness?

You may be eligible for Neuropathy treatment here at Darryl D. Robinson, M.D. in Oklahoma City.

Peripheral neuropathy manifests in many different ways, each coming with its own set of symptoms and dangers. Here at Oklahoma Pain Doc, we have helped countless patients in the OKC metro area address the warning signs of neuropathy to avoid long-term pain and dysfunction. Understanding the risks, symptoms, and potential treatment options regarding your condition is crucial for getting your condition under control.

What Is Neuropathy?

The term “peripheral neuropathy” refers to a variety of highly common yet potentially serious conditions that collectively affect some 20 million individuals in the United States alone. It is defined as the dysfunction, damage, or decay of one or more nerves located outside of the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). Although it is mostly felt in the legs and feet, neuropathy can manifest just about anywhere in the body and affect one or multiple nerve types.

There are three main types of peripheral nerves vulnerable to the effects of neuropathy:

  • Sensory nerves: These nerves create the sensations of touch

  • Motor nerves: Motor nerves transmit messages from the brain to your muscles to create movement

  • Autonomic nerves: This nerve type controls involuntary functions such as heart rate, breathing, digestion, and blood pressure

Neuropathy most often develops from a diabetic condition, occurring when high glucose levels damage your nerves and blood vessels. It can also derive from a variety of other sources, such as genetics, chemotherapy, failed surgery, hormonal imbalances, and other possible causes.

What Are the Symptoms?

Early warning signs and common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include:

  • Numbness or loss of sensation in the fingertips

  • Sharp and sudden cramps

  • Heightened sensitivity to touch

  • Feelings of physical weakness

  • Impaired balance or reflexes

  • Severe bone or joint pain

For patients with autonomic neuropathy, these symptoms may also occur:

  • Heartburn and bloating

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Diarrhea and incontinence

  • Feeling full without being able to finish a meal

  • Sudden spikes in heart rate

  • Muscle contractions

  • Severe sweating

  • Sexual dysfunction

  • Slacked and sagging face muscles

  • Inability to speak or swallow properly

  • Hypoglycemic unawareness (inability to notice when blood sugar is low)

What Are the Risks?

If treated promptly and properly, your condition should remain manageable. Without quality care, however, peripheral neuropathy often creates serious risks to your overall health and well-being.

Those who do not receive help from a medical professional can typically expect their symptoms to be lifelong. This is because damaged nerves train the body to become used to sending confusing messages to the brain. The severity of your symptoms will depend largely on how badly the nerve or nerves are damaged, which is why it is crucial to quickly seek medical help to avoid further decay.

How Can I Treat My Neuropathy?

The best thing you can do if you suspect you have a neuropathic condition is to seek medical help right away. Your health specialist will provide you with specific self-care guidelines regarding your condition upon diagnosis.

In many cases, lifestyle adjustments can be made to combat the underlying causes of your condition. Maintaining an optimal weight through diet and exercise gradually restores overall nerve health and builds up resistance to neuropathic decay, especially for neuropathy patients who also have diabetes. If you are a smoker, reducing or stopping tobacco intake eases pressure on the blood vessels, which supply vitamins and nutrients to the peripheral nerves.

An excellent way to avoid the symptoms of neuropathy is to add plenty of B vitamins to your diet. Red meats, fish, and eggs are advised, though dairy should be limited. Doctors also recommend 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day.

Non-Surgical Solution

Sometimes, the onset of neuropathy cannot be avoided. Physical therapy and lifestyle management are great tools for combatting symptoms, but they aren’t always enough to prevent symptoms from cropping up. In some cases, neuropathic symptoms become so severe that patients have no choice but to undergo invasive nerve decompression surgeries. These procedures often lead to weeks of continued discomfort and months of rehabilitation. Additionally, these surgeries rarely provide permanent relief.

At Oklahoma Pain Doc, we’ve mastered the art of treating pain-related conditions with our advanced non-surgical techniques. We use the human body’s own restorative properties to boost the healing process and mend damaged nerves. Once the healing cycle has run its course, you will be able to return to a greater quality of life while maintaining control over your condition.

Dr. Darryl D. Robinson, our founder and lead physician, has been treating pain-related syndromes in the OKC metro area for nearly 20 years, earning him recognition as one of the region’s top therapists. This quality of care has been made possible by Dr. Robinson’s specialties in Pain Management.

Are you ready to take control of your neuropathy?

Call us today at 405-703-4990 to schedule your evaluation.

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