Living with peripheral neuropathy can be difficult and frustrating. This condition can cause various symptoms, including pain, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. About 20 million Americans have been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, and many more are believed to have the condition but have not yet been diagnosed.
What is peripheral neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that occurs when there is damage to the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system consists of the nerves that carry information between the brain and spinal cord and the rest of the body. Damage to these nerves can cause different symptoms, including pain, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness.
It is important to note that the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy vary depending on the type of nerve damage.
Causes of peripheral neuropathy
The most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes. About 60-70% of people with peripheral neuropathy have diabetes. Other causes include:
- Autoimmune diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Kidney failure
- Exposure to certain toxins, such as pesticides
- Infections, such as Lyme disease or HIV
- Traumatic injuries
If you have been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, you can do a few things to manage the symptoms. Read on.
How To Manage Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy can greatly affect your quality of life. Some of the ways you can manage it include;
Changing your diet
Eating a healthy diet is especially important if you have peripheral neuropathy. Eating a diet high in fiber and low in sugar can help control your blood sugar levels. This is important because high blood sugar levels can worsen nerve damage. Also, you might have to quit smoking as it can damage your nerves and worsen symptoms.
In addition to controlling your blood sugar levels, eating a healthy diet can help you maintain a healthy weight. This is important because being overweight or obese can put extra pressure on your nerves, which can worsen symptoms.
Exercise can help to improve blood circulation, which can help to reduce symptoms. In addition, it can help you to maintain a healthy weight. Studies have shown that a good diet and exercise can control diabetic neuropathy.
Managing your stress levels
Stress causes the body to release chemicals that can damage nerves. Therefore, it is crucial to find ways to manage your stress levels. Some ways to do this include yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises.
Medication and Therapy
There are a variety of treatments available, and what works for one person may not work for another. Some common treatments include:
- Pain relief medications: Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help to relieve pain. Your doctor may also prescribe stronger pain medications if over-the-counter medications are not effective.
- Anti-inflammatory medications: These medications can help to reduce inflammation and swelling.
- Antidepressants: These medications can help to relieve nerve pain by affecting the chemicals in your brain.
- Anti-seizure medications: These medications can help to relieve nerve pain by affecting the electrical signals in your brain.
- Topical treatments: There are a variety of topical treatments that can be effective, including creams and ointments.
- Physical therapy- Physical therapy can help to improve your strength and flexibility. It can also help you to regain function and movement.
- TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)- This treatment uses electrical impulses to relieve pain.
- Plasma exchange and intravenous immune globulin- These treatments can help to improve symptoms by removing antibodies from the blood. It works by filtering the blood and removing the antibodies that are attacking the nerves.
- Surgery- In some cases, surgery may be necessary. Surgery is typically only recommended if other treatments have not been effective.
Contact The Team at Southern Pain
If you have been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, it is essential to work with your doctor to devise a treatment plan that works for you. Our team of experts at Southern Pain is here to help you! We offer a variety of treatments that can help to improve your symptoms. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!