Living with Neuropathy Pain
Neuropathy, also referred to as nerve damage, is a common condition that may develop for a variety of reasons. Most commonly, individuals with diabetes or other autoimmune diseases may experience nerve damage to some extent. However, other factors including excessive alcohol consumption, chemotherapy, and exposure to toxins can also cause nerve damage. When nerves are damaged, it hinders their ability to function correctly. This often causes them to send unnecessary pain signals to the brain. Therefore, even if an area of the body has not been injured, the brain could interpret something as a painful sensation.
Neuropathy pain can be extremely uncomfortable to live with, and some patients lose the ability to complete everyday functions. Depending on the type of neuropathy, it can deeply impact the way individuals live their lives. Peripheral neuropathy, for example, is known to manifest painful, debilitating pain and numbness to the extremities. When patients lose the feeling in their legs and lose balance, it can become almost impossible to walk. Although this is one of the more extreme symptoms of neuropathy, the everyday, less-talked-about symptoms can be just as difficult.
The Most Commonly Reported Neuropathy Symptoms
There are different forms of neuropathy to describe the different ways in which they affect the body. It is important to understand their differences, especially after being diagnosed with a form of neuropathy. This can allow you to be a more informed patient and make better decisions when it comes to your treatment.
Autonomic neuropathy refers to nerve damage of the autonomic nervous system. This condition can result in very serious symptoms including irregular blood pressure, digestion, and heart rate, in addition to common neuropathy pain. Since this condition can hinder the ability of vital functions, the patient must closely monitor them. Since autonomic neuropathy involves these important functions, patients should ensure to be extra attentive in their treatment ventures. The most common symptoms of autonomic neuropathy are:
- Bladder dysfunction
- Digestive problems
- Poor eyesight
- Reproductive problems
- Irregular blood pressure
- Irregular heart rate
Diabetic neuropathy is one of the most common forms of nerve damage. This condition develops in patients with diabetes and causes high blood sugar which can eventually cause nerve damage. Diabetic neuropathy can manifest many different symptoms throughout the body, but most commonly patients will experience the following:
- Pins and needle sensations
- Sharp pain
- Muscle weakness
- Discomfort in the extremities
Peripheral neuropathy refers to nerve damage to the brain, spinal cord, and nervous system, reaching out to the peripheral nerves. This collection of nerves is responsible for voluntary movements such as walking and moving our faces. When these nerves are damaged it can cause radiating pain in the feet legs, hands, and other extremities. The most common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are:
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Loss of balance
- Difficulty walking
- Muscle weakness
- Pins and needle sensations
- Muscle cramps or spasms
Proximal neuropathy is a rare form of neuropathy that causes pain in the hip, buttocks, or thigh. This condition is most commonly found in individuals with type 2 diabetes and is therefore closely associated with diabetic neuropathy. However, the symptoms are in a more focused area. Patients with this condition commonly report the following symptoms:
- Nerve pain in the hips, buttocks, or thigh
- Shrinking or weakened thigh muscle
- Difficulty using thigh muscle
- Neuropathy pains
How to Manage Neuropathy Pain
Although neuropathy is not reversible, it is possible to manage the associated pain. At BEST Health System, we offer a variety of conservative and surgical treatment options to patients who are having difficulty managing discomfort.
- Physical therapy can help patients who are experiencing muscle weakness as a result of neuropathy. This conservative therapy allows the patient to build muscle and regain control of areas where they’ve lost it.
- Orthotics can be very useful in cases where neuropathy has made it painful to walk. These shoe inserts can support the feet and offer additional help when walking or running.
- Balance rehabilitation is a conservative therapy that allows patients to regain the balance that was affected by neuropathy.
- Massage therapy can be helpful if neuropathy patients struggle with numbness or pain due to neuropathy as it can help to de-stress the nerves.
- Nutrition services can help patients find a consistent, healthy diet to improve their overall health. A healthier diet can play an important role in preventing neuropathy from spreading.
- A spinal cord stimulator is a surgically implanted device that sends nerve impulses to the spinal cord, ultimately reducing pain brought on by neuropathy.
Find Neuropathy Solutions with BEST Health System
BEST Health System understands how debilitating neuropathy symptoms can be. Therefore, we are proud to offer neuropathy solutions at our BEST clinics. Whether you are seeking a conservative treatment plan or a surgical alternative, we can help. Contact our team to learn more about the neuropathy solutions program at BEST.