WHAT IS PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY?
Peripheral Neuropathy (PN) is the term used to describe disorders of the peripheral nerves. Even though 10-20 million people in the U.S. suffer with PN, information is hard to come by. Approximately 50% of diabetics will develop the condition. Many people using statin pills, “cholesterol drugs”, will be affected by this mysterious and under-recognized malady. Not to be forgotten are those that have gone through chemotherapy and after battling Cancer, are now affected by PN.
Neuropathy means “disease or abnormality of the nervous system”, which is not a very helpful definition. We think of neuropathy as any damage to the nervous system. Small fiber neuropathy is a major cause of pain in the hands and feet, especially in the elderly.
SYMPTOMS OF PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY
Sensory symptoms due to loss or damaged small somatic nerve fibers result in pain, numbness, tingling, and burning sensations. These symptoms typically affect the feet and hands starting at the tips then move upwards.
Symptoms may be mild initially, with some patients complaining of vague discomfort in one or both feet similar to the sensation of a sock gathering at the end of a shoe. Others report a wooden quality in their feet, numbness in their toes or a feeling as if they are walking on pebbles, sand or golf balls. The most bothersome and fairly typical symptom is burning pain in the feet that extends proximally in a stocking-glove distribution and is often accompanied by stabbing or aching pains, electric shock-like or pains and needle sensations of the feet and calves.
Some Neuropathies come in suddenly, others over many years. These debilitating problems can also be substantially worse at night while trying to sleep because once the pain gets started IT ONLY GETS WORSE!
Each person with neuropathy will describe their pain in their own individual “pain language”. This can easily confuse a doctor not trained in the recognition and treatment of neuropathy. People usually continue to suffer, going from doctor to doctor and increasing dosages of medication until they are either completely drugged or lost in their own world of suffering. Currently, ordinary medicine has no cure for peripheral neuropathy at this time. The extremely powerful drugs dispensed to patients DO NOT TREAT NERVE DAMAGE. These drugs numb the brain to numb the pain. Most people cannot tolerate a drugged existence but feel they have NO OTHER OPTION against this horrifying pain.
HOW DO WE TREAT NEUROPATHY?
If your in-office exam reveals that you do suffer from neuropathy, our care plans focus on the rehabilitations of the nerves and reduction in the symptoms of burning, tingling and pain. This is actually accomplished by a combination off our non-invasive, drug-free, FDA-cleared technologies which have all been clinically proven to reduce the symptoms associated with the various components of neuropathy.
Dr. Charles Ferrante is part of a nationwide team of doctors (Blueprint Healthcare Network) that has refined a total body approach to health and wellness. NJ Neuropathy is committed to providing the most cutting-edge and least invasive treatments for our patients.
Can peripheral nerves heal?
Yes! It is well established in the scientific literature that peripheral nerves can and does heal. The key issue is that not only do we need to get the nerves healing but we have to stop whatever is causing the nerve damage in the first place. When the underlying cause of the neuropathy is discovered and proper support for the nerves are provided it optimizes the ability for the nerves to heal!
In order to effectively heal nerve damage, four factors must be determined:
- What is the underlying cause of the nerve damage?
- How severe is the nerve damage?
- What types of nerve fibers are damaged?
You have sensory nerves (both small fiber nerves and large diameter nerves) and motor nerves (that control movement of your muscles) NOTE: If there is muscle weakness from neuropathy for greater than two years the damage to the muscles will probably be permanent!
- How much treatment will the nerves require to heal?
This will be dependent on the degree of nerve damage and what types of fibers are damaged.