If you have reduced sensation in your feet, or experience numbness, tingling, burning pain in your foot, you may need to seek peripheral neuropathy treatment. But what is neuropathy? Can you prevent this condition from developing or worsening? And how can you relieve its painful symptoms? Here’s what you need to know.
What is Peripheral Neuropathy
This condition involves your peripheral nerves—those are the ones not found in your brain or spinal cord. Neuropathy specifically describes damage to these nerves. The result? Disruptive, painful symptoms and an increased risk for foot or leg amputation.
Peripheral Nerve Damage: What are the Causes?
There are various conditions that can lead to peripheral nerve damage. If you have an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, your risk for neuropathy increases. Contracting an infection like HIV, shingles or Lyme disease may also lead to neuropathy.
Some inherited conditions can also lead to nerve damage, as can certain tumors, whether or not they are cancerous. Additionally, conditions that attack your kidneys, thyroid or bone marrow may also lead to neuropathy.
Of course, health conditions are not the only neuropathy risk factors. If you consume excessive amounts of alcohol, or develop vitamin E, B-1, B-6 and/or B-12 deficiencies, neuropathy can also develop. Even experiencing low levels of copper in your body could result in this form of nerve damage.
Environmental factors such as mercury and lead exposure, or treatment with chemotherapy drugs, can also increase the risk for neuropathy. Injuries and accidents may also lead to damage and neuropathy. In some cases, you develop idiopathic neuropathy—that means we don’t know why your nerves sustained damage.
Still, the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy that we see in our Powder Springs podiatry practice is diabetes. Statistics show that nearly half of patients with diabetes will eventually develop neuropathy. That’s why we always emphasize the importance of diabetic foot care in our practice—because we’d rather help you prevent complications than see you in the office for peripheral neuropathy treatment.
Neuropathy Symptoms: What to Look For
Some of the most common symptoms of neuropathy are stabbing, burning or tingling foot pain. Numbness or sensation loss are also common. But why do symptoms vary so widely across patients?
Here’s the deal: each group of peripheral nerves performs different asks in the body. And so, the neuropathy symptoms you experience will be connected to the groups of nerves that are damaged by your condition. Other possibilities include:
• The slow onset of numbness, tingling and prickling foot pain that may spread up your legs.
• Stabbing, throbbing or burning pain.
• Extreme sensitivity to touch.
• Weakness, coordination or balance loss, challenges to mobility and/or frequent falls.
Unfortunately, peripheral neuropathy is a progressive condition. And so, without treatment, your symptoms are likely to worsen.
Because there are so many potential causes of peripheral neuropathy, you can’t always prevent this form of nerve damage. But we can help protect your nerves—and your feet—by making sure your diabetes is well-controlled. Dr. Alvin Cowans works with his diabetic patients to set goals that keep them in a lower risk category, ideally maintaining blood sugar at 120 or HbA1c at 6.
Now, he didn’t come up with those numbers on his own. Rather, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the best way to prevent neuropathy is to maintain a healthy blood sugar level, while also keeping your blood pressure and weight in the healthy ranges. Additionally, you can reduce your risk for neuropathy by quitting smoking and following a healthy diet. And always make sure to take any medications in your prescribed doses.
Maintaining Diabetic Foot Care When you Have Neuropathy
As we noted earlier, neuropathy can affect sensation in the feet, so it’s crucial that you perform daily diabetic foot checks. Every day, make sure to examine your feet, checking every surface, including your soles and the webbing between your toes.
Why is this such an important routine? It can help you detect changes to your skin surface that could have developed without your feeling any injury. Remember, when you have diabetes and neuropathy, small wounds can quickly turn into ulcers. That’s why you must check your feet every day. If you notice a change right away, we can provide immediate care, reducing your risk for serious complications.
Treating Peripheral Neuropathy in Powder Springs, Georgia
In our practice, we provider several peripheral neuropathy treatment options. The methods we recommend depend on the severity of your unique health profile.
When patients require prescription medication for neuropathy relief, we may recommend Neuremedy, Gabapentin, Lyrica or EB N5. Each works differently to target your neuropathy pain. Neuremedy is is a special that supports the health of nerve cells in your feet and legs. In order to reduce symptoms such as pain, numbness, burning and/or tingling. Gabapentin and Lyrica are prescription drugs specifically relieve diabetic neuropathy pain. And EB N5 is classified as a medical grade food. Packed with ingredients including L-methylfolate Calcium and Alpha Lipoic Acid, it’s delayed release formulation helps address deficiencies related to neuropathy.
Pain Laser Therapy as Peripheral Neuropathy Treatment
In our practice, we also offer Class IV laser therapy for neuropathy pain. Because it uses red and near-infrared light wavelengths to help your body heal, this form of laser therapy can stimulate your body’s internal processes in order to reduce your pain levels.
Plus, our Class IV laser gives off heat waves, unlike many other lasers that produce cold waves. As a result, these hot light wavelengths can help your body with nerve regeneration, offering the chance to reverse the damage of diabetic neuropathy. Plus, one laser session lasts about six minutes, making it easy to fit into your busy schedule! And, since this peripheral neuropathy treatment doesn’t require ingesting supplements, you won’t have to worry about interactions with other prescription medications.
Ready to say goodbye to pain, numbness and tingling in the feet? Call us at 770-727-0614or click here to request peripheral neuropathy treatment in the Lost Mountain neighborhood of Powder Springs.