Neuropathy is a general term that means “nerve damage.” It refers to a disease or dysfunction of one or more peripheral nerves and it typically causes numbness or weakness but can also give you pain. This is the result of damaged nerves. It can be very uncomfortable and even prevent people from doing simple everyday tasks.
Do You Suffer From Neuropathy?
If so, we can help. The purpose of this article is to explain more about what neuropathy is and the treatment options that you have for treatment in southeast Idaho. This is a condition where nerves are not functioning properly. Because every nerve in your system has a specific function, your symptoms will depend on which nerves are being affected. There are three categories.
- Sensory nerves (resulting in tingling, numbness, and pain)
- Motor nerves (control muscle movement)
- Autonomic nerves (resulting in loss of bladder control, unnecessary or excessive sweating, and rapid heart rate)
The signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy might include gradual onset of numbness, prickling or tingling in your feet or hands; sharp, jabbing, throbbing, freezing or burning pain; sensitivity to touch; lack of coordination and falling; or muscle weakness or paralysis, if motor nerves are affected.
What Causes Neuropathy?
There is no one specific cause of this condition. But there are several common issues that can trigger neuropathic pain in your body. They include:
- Some drugs and medications
- Herniated disc or arthritis
- Spinal cord injury
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Sports injury
- Physical trauma
- Toxins and poisons
- Multiple sclerosis
One form of painful neuropathy that can be severely debilitating is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). CRPS is a chronic pain condition that most often affects one limb (arm, leg, hand, or foot) usually after an injury, trauma, or surgery. This condition is believed to be caused by damage to, or malfunction of, the peripheral and central nervous systems. CRPS is divided into two types: CRPS-I and CRPS-II. Individuals without a confirmed nerve injury are classified as having CRPS-I (previously known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome). CRPS-II (previously known as Causalgia) is when there is an associated, confirmed nerve injury.
Neuropathy Treatment — We Can Help
The good news for someone with neuropathy is there are several treatment options. We are able to offer treatments for neuropathy that are not available anywhere else in southeastern Idaho. These treatments include sympathetic nerve blocks, IV infusion therapy, spinal cord stimulation, DRG stimulation, peripheral nerve stimulation, and medication management. Here’s a quick look at treatment options.
- Medication — Depending on the type of neuropathy that you are dealing with, over-the-counter medication can help. Some options for this include prescription antidepressants, antiseizure, antiepileptic medications.
- Sympathetic Nerve Blocks – These block nerve signals. The nerve block will be administered in a specific location that depends on the part of your body that is giving you pain. For example, for pain in the upper part of your body, the nerve block would be done in your neck.
- Spinal Cord Stimulation – A neural stimulator is similar to a pacemaker — surgically implanted under your skin. This is commonly placed in the abdomen or upper buttocks. This device will deliver mild electrical impulses to your spine through tiny medical wires that are insulated. These impulses reach your brain before the pain signals — essentially overriding them.
- DRG Stimulation – Ganglions are bundles of nerves in the spine that send signals to the brain. Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG) Stimulators consist of electrical leads and a pulse generator to permit focused electrical therapy to a specific area. DRG Stimulation includes a hand-held controller that can switch between stimulation settings.
- Peripheral Nerve Stimulation – Our neuropathy treatment includes PNS. This is the surgical implantation of a small electrical device next to one of your peripheral nerves which deliver rapid electrical pulses. These pulses will feel like mild tingles. You will be able to control the level of the stimulation by adjusting the settings on the device or turning it off and on.
What About Diet?
Nutrition plays a vital part in the treatment of health issues that can cause neuropathy. Every person and every case is unique so there is not any one specific diet that is best. But there are some general guidelines that are good for your health in most circumstances.
First, limiting the number of sweets and sugar-sweetened drinks is beneficial for your overall health. The same goes for large amounts of food and foods that are high in starch or carbohydrates. Instead, eat a balanced diet that is full of fruits and vegetables. You should also include high-fiber/whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein such as fish or poultry.
There are additional issues that may require an adjustment to your dietary needs. For example, if you have celiac disease. This disease can put you at risk for developing nerve damage so you should maintain a gluten-free diet. This means avoiding foods like bread, pasta, cereal, and many others. Or if you have neuropathy that is related to alcoholism, you must avoid drinking to control your symptoms.
There are additional issues that may require an adjustment to your dietary needs. For example, if you have celiac disease. This disease can put you at risk for developing nerve damage so you should maintain a gluten-free diet. This means avoiding foods like bread, pasta, cereal, and many others. Or if you have neuropathy that is related to alcoholism, you must avoid drinking to control your symptoms. Over drinking can lead to the malabsorption of important nutrients such as vitamin B12.
Can neuropathy be cured?
There are some cases where correcting the underlying condition causing neuropathy will enable the nerves to recover or regenerate. However, some types of neuropathy are irreversible and the goal of treatment will be to provide symptom relief and prevent the condition from worsening.
Does walking help?
It is important to confer with your physician before undertaking any exercise, but the answer is yes. Neuropathy can increase your risk of injury or change your response to it which is why you will want to check with your doctor first. Regular exercise can be beneficial for reducing pain and improving muscle weakness that some people with neuropathy have.
Choose Pain & Spine Specialists Of Idaho
The pain doctors in Pocatello at Pain & Spine Specialists of Idaho are Board Certified physicians. We implement leading treatments and procedures to help resolve or manage the effects of neuropathy. You will find treatment options at our clinic that you won’t find anywhere else in Idaho. Don’t let pain or discomfort dictate how you live your life and hold you back from the things in life that matter most – contact our clinic today.