According to the experts at Optimal Health Straw Chiropractic, the number of people suffering with neuropathy continues to rise. As a center focused on the management of neuropathy, Optimal Health Straw Chiropractic is well versed in how professional management and simple lifestyle changes can relieve the condition’s painful symptoms.
It is estimated that approximately 20 million people suffer from neuropathy in the United States alone, as noted on the website of Phys Assist, a provider of therapeutic products to people who suffer from pain associated with neuropathy and other disorders.
With so many people suffering from the disorder, it is interesting to note that less than ten percent of Americans actually know what neuropathy is, reports Phys Assist.
This could be because funding spent on neuropathy research and awareness lags far behind other neuropathic disorders causing a similar range of disability, according to the Neuropathy Association.
Neuropathy is a disorder in which there has been nerve damage to the nervous system. There are different types of neuropathic disorders, depending on the area that is affected.
For example, peripheral neuropathy is a condition that develops when the peripheral nervous system has been damaged in some way, whereas cranial neuropathy develops after any of the cranial nerves have been damaged. Autonomic neuropathy affects the part of the body controlling involuntary functions like heart rate and bladder control, while focal neuropathy is restricted to a particular area, which typically improves over time.
As explained on Neuropathy.org, symptoms associated with neuropathy include numbness, tingling, pain, and other abnormal sensations in the feet or hands. The Neuropathy Association describes these sensations as feeling like you have socks on when you actually are barefoot.
The Neuropathy Association notes that although this starts in the hands and feet for many people, it can develop in other places, affecting the senses and functions of the internal organs and muscles.
Because the condition can affect many different areas of the body, The Mayo Clinic reports that other symptoms include hair or skin changes, lack of coordination, weakness, changes in blood pressure, and feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
There are many causes of neuropathy. Per Medical News Today, physical trauma, injury, and infections are all common causes. Other conditions, such as chronic liver and kidney disease, Lyme disease, and alcoholism, also contribute to the development of neuropathy.
One of the most common causes of neuropathy is diabetes. It is estimated that about half of people with diabetes develop neuropathy, reports Phys Assist. They explain that the condition can develop at any age, but is most commonly seen in patients who are 60 and over.
“Catching neuropathy early is a great way to prevent the onset of serious complications such as paralysis, difficulty breathing, or abnormal function of organs,” adds a representative from Optimal Health Straw Chiropractic.
The good news is that there are many treatment options for those suffering with the disorder, according to Optimal Health Straw Chiropractic.
Common treatments include several different medications, such as pain relievers, anti-seizure medications, immunosuppressive medications and antidepressants. Procedures such as Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation can be used to relieve pain by applying brief electric currents to the area. Sometimes doctors will even prescribe plasma exchanges, where all the blood is drained from the body and then returned after exchanging the plasma with a donor’s.
It is very important to consider all side effects that may be experienced before deciding on a course of treatment, warns Optimal Health Straw Chiropractic. “It is important that people realize that there are other options out there for neuropathy,” a representative from Optimal Health Straw Chiropractic explains, encouraging their patients to try alternative forms of treatment, such as holistic medicine.
Holistic medicine continues to gain popularity. According to the American Holistic Medical Association, holistic medicine is a way of treating disease by focusing on the whole person – body, mind, and spirit.
Holistic doctors often prescribe a combination of conventional and alternative treatments, the AHMA further explains. For people with diabetes, this form of treatment can be very effective in managing both diabetes and neuropathy.
Dr. Chad Edwards of Revolution Health and Wellness Clinic maintains that Type-1 diabetes can be managed by maintaining the correct balance of insulin and controlling carbohydrate intake. In Dr. Edwards’ experience, this involves using an insulin pump as well as monitoring carbohydrate intake and, sometimes, further insulin therapy.
For Type-2 diabetes, Dr. Edwards explains, minimizing the risk factors are key in managing and possibly even curing the disease. For example, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress, and implementing an exercise routine are small lifestyle changes that can make a big difference.
Exercise releases natural painkillers called endorphins. It also helps blood circulate through the body, reaching your hands and feet. According to WebMD, regular exercise can promote the expansion of blood vessels in the feet, which helps treat the tingling, painful sensations caused by nerve damage.
Approaching diabetes and neuropathy from a holistic perspective not only offers lasting relief, but also many additional benefits from treating the person, not just the problem.
The staff of Optimal Health Straw Chiropractic encourages those who experience problems because of this disorder, stating, “Neuropathy is a treatable disorder. It is important for people to understand they are not alone in their daily struggle.”
Ryann Carlson contributed to this article.