Introduction to Peripheral Neuropathy and Its Causes
Peripheral neuropathy refers to damage to the nerves located outside the brain and spinal cord. These nerves are responsible for sending signals between the brain, spinal cord, and the rest of the body’s organs and tissues. There are many reasons why an individual may develop peripheral neuropathy, but it is most commonly due to diabetes, alcohol misuse, infection, or injury.
Patients may undergo diagnostic testing for peripheral neuropathy if they experience debilitating pain, numbness, and tingling sensations in the extremities (hands and feet). If patients experience these symptoms, they should schedule an appointment to gather a proper diagnosis from a board-certified healthcare professional.
During the diagnostic process, patients undergo a series of tests to form an accurate diagnosis. This often consists of medical imaging including MRI, blood tests, neurologic studies, and more. Regardless of the results, patients need to stay positive and engaged throughout the treatment process.
At BEST Health System, we understand the frustrations and uncertainties associated with a fresh diagnosis. It can often be difficult to be proactive in treatment while dealing with this new reality. With BEST, we provide guidance and support throughout the patient journey, from diagnosis to post-treatment follow-ups. Continue reading to learn more about peripheral neuropathy and how to combat nerve pain.
Understanding Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms and Types of Nerve Pain
Peripheral neuropathy comes with many symptoms and it can affect everyone quite differently. It is essential to understand these different symptoms to ensure you are being proactive in your treatment and know what to expect. Peripheral neuropathy can affect sensory, motor, and autonomic nerves throughout the body. This can lead to instability, muscle weakness, a false sense of pain, and other more serious symptoms. In more severe cases, peripheral neuropathy can make it difficult for patients to walk, talk, and swallow. If you begin to experience these symptoms, it is essential to quickly seek medical attention as this could impact your ability to live comfortably.
Medical Treatments for Managing Nerve Pain
Although it is impossible to reverse nerve damage, there are ways you can manage the associated symptoms. Oftentimes, patients can find relief through conservative treatment methods including pain medications, electrical nerve stimulation, and physical therapy. Physical therapy is beneficial for peripheral neuropathy patients as it can help them regain balance and manage other functional issues.
If these treatments are ineffective, patients may consider surgical intervention. At BEST Health System, we offer spinal cord stimulators (SCS) to patients seeking neuropathy pain relief. These are surgically implanted devices that prevent false pain signals from being sent to the brain. This is modern technology that offers premier relief to patients suffering from persistent nerve pain. Dr. Keith Girton is our orthopaedic and spine surgeon who specializes in spinal cord stimulation devices. Dr. Girton understands the extreme pain associated with neuropathy, and is passionate about helping patients find relief. The team at BEST has observed the benefits of spinal cord stimulation and looks forward to helping more patients find relief from neuropathy pain.
Alternative Therapies and Lifestyle Changes for Neuropathy Patients
There are a few ways that patients can improve their lifestyle to prevent their peripheral neuropathy from worsening. Often, lifestyle factors heavily contribute to the development of neuropathy, and certain practices can help patients manage nerve pain.
Doctors may recommend that patients make the following lifestyle changes:
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Improve diet
- Engage in daily physical activity
- Quit smoking
Connect with BEST Health System
BEST Health System is proud to offer various treatments for patients experiencing neuropathy symptoms. At BEST Health System, we encourage all patients to be proactive in their treatment and set their expectations high. Connect with BEST Health System to learn more about peripheral neuropathy and the associated treatment options.