Dr. Tad Tenney | What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
The nerves from the brain and spine to the rest of your body, such as arms, hands, legs, and feet, are connected by the peripheral nervous system.
Your peripheral nervous system acts as a communication network, transmitting critical information between parts of your musculoskeletal system and the central nervous system (spinal cord and brain). When those nerves no longer function properly, it is referred to as peripheral neuropathy.
As a chiropractor, Dr. Tad Tenney looks further than the symptoms of your condition to get to the root causes. The cause of peripheral neuropathy is genetic in some cases, but is, more often than not, the result of injury or disease.
Peripheral neuropathy is often referred to by many other names, including idiopathic neuropathy, diabetic neuropathy, diabetic nerve pain, and chemotherapy-induced neuropathy. Furthermore, other terms such as mononeuropathy, polyneuropathy, alcoholic neuropathy, as well as other nerve damage descriptions can be used.
Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy
Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy can vary depending on whether your sensory, motor or autonomic nerves are affected. In some cases, all three types of nerves are affected, while in others only one or two types of nerves are affected.
Dr. Tad Tanney states that initial symptoms of peripheral neuropathy can be mild while worsening over time until eventually, it becomes a chronic condition. The intensity of symptoms can remain the same for months or years. In other cases of peripheral neuropathy, symptoms may act up for a few days or a few weeks but then just disappear. No matter what the state of this disease is, it is common for waxing and waning of symptoms. Peripheral neuropathy is rarely fatal, but symptoms can be debilitating and cause a feeling of pins, needles, and tightness.
Other symptoms may include numbness, muscle weakness, prickling sensations, mobility problems, extreme sensitivity, burning, as well as shooting or stabbing pains. Dr. Tad Tanney advises to never ignore any symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. As with any disease, this condition becomes harder to treat, the longer you wait.
Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy
Numerous factors can cause this disease, including;
- Diabetes, Type I and Type II — more than 50% of people with diabetes have some type of neuropathy
- Vitamin deficiency, especially folate, B12 and B6 — niacin and vitamin E are vital to nerve health
- Autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Guillain-Barre syndrome, necrotizing vasculitis, or chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
- Inherited disorders, such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
- Bone marrow disorders
- Exposure to poisons
- Medications, such as ones used to treat cancer
- Trauma or pressure on the nerve — such as trauma experienced from motor vehicle accidents or nerve pressure caused by repeating a motion many times, or using crutches, or from having a cast
- Other diseases, such as liver disease, kidney disease, an underactive thyroid, and connective tissue disorders.
While there is no cure for peripheral neuropathy, Dr. Tad Tanney states that it can be treated. Massage, adjustments, and lifestyle advice can all help reduce the effects of this condition. Speak with a doctor today for more information.