Neuropathy is a serious condition that can affect your quality of life and keep you from the activities you enjoy most. But what exactly is neuropathy? If you have been diagnosed with this condition you may be wondering exactly what this means and what your treatment options are.
At BEST Health System, we believe the first step to a patient’s wellness journey should be patient education. This guide will help you understand neuropathy as well as a few treatment options offered at BEST. This way you will be well-equipped to make an informed decision in your wellness plan with your doctor.
What is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy is the result of nerves that become damaged which can cause symptoms such as weakness, numbness, and pain. There are four main types of neuropathy all of which affect a different part of the body. They include the following:
Peripheral neuropathy is the most common form of neuropathy. It is typically caused by diabetes. It affects nerves leading to your extremities—to your feet, legs, hands, and arms.
Proximal neuropathy is the second most common type of diabetic neuropathy. It usually affects elderly people with diabetes; as opposed to peripheral neuropathy, it usually resolves with time or treatment. It specifically affects the muscles in the upper part of your leg(s), buttocks, and hips.
Autonomic neuropathy can affect so many of your body’s systems, from your digestive tract to how well you can see. However, symptoms depend on what specific nerves in the autonomic nervous system are damaged.
Focal neuropathy affects one specific nerve. Think of it as focused neuropathy. It can also be called mononeuropathy. Focal neuropathy, which comes on suddenly, most often affects nerves in the head, especially ones that go to the eyes. It can also affect the torso and legs.
Your Treatment Options
If you have been diagnosed with neuropathy, you have a variety of treatment options available to you. Each different form of treatment offers its own benefits. You and your doctor will discuss which is best for you and the lifestyle you lead. Neuropathy treatment can include any of the following:
Spinal Cord Stimulator
To relieve pain caused by neuropathy, a spinal cord stimulator sends low levels of electric pulses to the spinal cord via a surgical procedure. When nerves are damaged they transmit nerve impulses to the brain which causes a patient to feel pain.
In this procedure, a battery pack and a collection of wires are used. Electrodes are placed between the spinal cord and vertebrae, and batteries either lie beneath the buttocks or abdomen.
This effective form of therapy works by targeting multiple muscle groups directly from the spine and then alters how the brain senses pain. If you are experiencing chronic back pain, connect with our team at BEST Health System and allow us to guide you on your path to recovery.
Nerve stimulators are relatively similar to spinal cord stimulators. They work similarly but instead send mild electrical currents directly to the nerves outside of the spinal cord. If you have been recommended for a nerve simulator you can expect to start with a trial run to test your response to temporary electrodes placed along the length of the nerve causing pain. However, if your pain does not subside significantly, the electrodes will be removed. The electrodes will become permanent at the nerve site if they work and an internal battery-operated stimulator will be placed under the skin. These batteries last for several years and we can replace them easily.
Once the stimulator is in place, the electrical pulse setting can be customized to provide the highest level of pain relief.
A facet joint injection is performed to treat neck and back pain in combination with other non-surgical spine treatments like rest, medications, chiropractic manipulations, and physical therapy.
Neuropathy can cause both neck and back pain so the goal of a facet injection is to reduce this pain. You can expect a surgeon to place medication directly into the painful joint if you are recommended for this minimally invasive procedure.
Injections are used to treat pain and identify the painful joint. A successful injection will confirm that a particular facet joint is causing the pain.
Placet Rich plasma (PRP)
The goal of a PRP injection is to reduce pain and improve nerve function. It is injected into the joints and the ends of nerves. Each injection is customized with our patients in mind, meaning that your symptoms and the pain you are experiencing help determine the kind of PRP injection that is right for you.
PRP stimulates nerve regeneration and repair when applied to injured nerves. As a result, neuropathic pain is reduced and sensation is increased.
PRP can also be used to treat various types of neuropathy. There are a number of mononeuropathies that can be treated with it, including carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, and others. Moreover, PRP can lead to nerve repair in cases of diabetic neuropathy due to its ability to precipitate a cascade of events.
What BEST Can Do For You
BEST is a premier orthopaedic center dedicated to helping patients get the relief they need in order to continue with their day-to-day activities. We understand how frustrating it can be to live with pain that keeps you from work, hobbies, and family. At BEST, we offer a wide range of minimally invasive treatment options for our patients. Our procedures typically require a less than one-inch incision which helps reduce recovery time and eliminates the need for an overnight hospital stay.
If you would like to learn more about BEST and the treatments we offer, feel free to reach out to us today!