What is Peripheral Neuropathy (PN) and how do we treat it at NCRC?

The peripheral nervous system is that which transmits information between the brain/spinal cord and other parts of the body.  Neuropathy is nerve damage.  So how do we get peripheral neuropathy and what are the symptoms?

There are many conditions which may lead to the damage to the peripheral nervous system.  Risk factors include:

  • Diabetes

  • Chemotherapy

  • Lyme disease

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Shingles

  • Spine surgery

  • Traumas

  • Alcoholism

  • Back, leg and hip problems

     

Symptoms may include pain, numbness, burning, tingling or loss of feeling.  It is not uncommon for some people to entirely lose feeling in their hands and feet.  Because of the lack of sensation in the feet and legs, people experience clumsiness, a lack of coordination and falls.  They often face a progression of needing a cane, then a walker and finally a wheelchair.  

Don't ignore your neuropathy!  If left untreated, it can develop into a serious disorder that leads to permanent nerve damage.  As the disease progresses, it silently moves upwardly from feet to lower legs to thighs and from fingers up through the arms.

So how do we treat it?

Typically, peripheral neuropathy is treated with drugs such as Lyrica or gabapentin which treat the symptoms--but which may themselves cause dizziness causing falls.

At NCRC we treat PN with an array of treatments.  We first do an assessment to determine the extent of the of PN.  For example, people may be experiencing numb feet but may not be aware that the disease has progressed to their thighs.  Next a treatment program is set up which may  consist of a  combination of manipulation/ART, K-laser treatments, spinal decompression/traction, nutritional supplements, vibration platform therapy and Physical Therapy.  Each of these enhances the effectiveness of the others.  For example, the ART treatment may include nerve flossing which helps ensure that the nerves are able to move freely and are not impinged.  The K-laser, proven 90% effective in clinical trials in the treatment of neuropathy, prevents neural apoptosis and enhances neurite outgrowth.  If your NP is due to stenosis, spinal decompression/traction may be used. The supplements we recommend nourish nerves and encourage nerve regrowth.  And the vibration plate and PT help both with pain relief and with balance retraining. 

Through the use of a mix of these modalities, we are better able to create an optimal healing environment reducing inflammation, swelling, muscle spasm, stiffness and pain.