Neuropathy is a frustrating condition to deal with, as the signals between your brain and nerves get crossed and leave you with unpleasant symptoms. If you think you might be dealing with neuropathy, our healthcare professionals at TRUE Health Medical would be happy to assess your symptoms and provide you with first-rate treatment to help your body function as it should again.
What is neuropathy?
Neuropathy is a condition that occurs when one or more nerves malfunction from damage or degeneration. Since your nerves are peripherally connected to your brain and spinal cord (i.e., central nervous system), neuropathy can affect any part of your body, including your arms, hands, feet, legs, mouth, face, or internal organs. For this reason, neuropathy is also referred to as peripheral neuropathy. When neuropathy affects one nerve, it is called mononeuropathy, multifocal neuropathy when it involves a combination of nerves in a confined area, and polyneuropathy when it affects various nerves throughout the body.
When your nerves malfunction, they fail to deliver the proper signals from physical sensations to your brain. Consequently, neuropathy often occurs with unexplained numbness, tingling, or muscle weakness. Additionally, your nerves may fail to send pain signals when you are experiencing harm or send unwarranted pain signals when you are not experiencing harm.
What are the causes of neuropathy?
There is rarely a single cause of neuropathy. In contrast, it is often caused by various conditions and events that adversely impact your health. As such, neuropathy can be caused by such things as the following:
- Autoimmune disorders and infections, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), lupus, Lyme disease, rheumatoid arthritis, or shingles, among others
- Certain medications and treatments, including some antibiotics, anti-seizure medications, or chemotherapy and radiation
- Genetic disorders, such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease
- Kidney or liver disorders
- Traumatic injuries
- Various tumors
- Vascular disorders
How is neuropathy diagnosed?
Before a physician can confidently make a positive neuropathy diagnosis, various tests and examinations must first occur.
If you are getting tested for neuropathy, your physician will likely review your medical history, which could include any family history of neurological diseases, the symptoms you are experiencing, your lifestyle, medications you take, and any underlying conditions you have.
After conducting a medical history review, your physician may also assess your neurological responses by examining your posture and coordination, tendon reflexes, muscle strength and tone, and your ability to feel various sensations.
In addition to a medical history review and neurological examination, various tests may be ordered. Some of these tests could include blood tests, computerized tomography (CT) scan or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test, nerve function tests, such as electromyography (EMG), or tissue biopsies.
After reviewing the results from the tests, examinations, and medical history review, your physician will be able to either diagnose or rule out neuropathy as the cause of your symptoms.
How is neuropathy treated?
If any underlying medical conditions are contributing to the patient’s neuropathy, such as diabetes or certain infections, that condition will be identified and treated first. However, some cases of neuropathy require further treatment measures. Some of these measures could focus on symptom management, while others focus more on preventing nerve damage. As such, neuropathy treatment could involve any of the following:
- Chiropractic care
- Ergonomic casts or splints
- Lifestyle adjustments
- Medications to control pain, such as antidepressants, antiseizure medicines, or anesthetic medications
- Nerve block injections
- Nutritional coaching
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Trigger point injections
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
For more information on neuropathy treatment options at True Health Medical, please feel free to call us at one of our clinics in Gilbert, Arizona, or Val Vista, Arizona! We serve patients from Gilbert AZ, Chandler AZ, Queen Creek AZ, Sun Lakes AZ, Mesa AZ, Sacaton AZ, and Apache Junction AZ.