The term ‘neuropathy’ itself speaks about what it essentially means. Neuro means related to nerves or the nervous system and pathy denotes disorder in a specific part of the body. Hence, neuropathy, popularly known as peripheral neuropathy, refers to the disorder of nerves. This disorder could be caused when certain injury or disease damages your nervous system. Originating from your brain and spinal cord, these peripheral nerves extend to your muscles and tissues. The peripheral nervous system is the primary source of all communication between the body and brain in the form of electrical impulses. There are three types of nerves:
- Motor nerves
- Sensory nerves
- Autonomic nerves
Each nerve comprises of neurons, which transmit information throughout the body in the form of electrical and chemical impulses at very high speeds. Thus, damage to the nerve cells results in damage to the communication link.
Neuropathy is a rapidly growing condition which is being researched extensively to understand the various causes and treatments for the same.
Did you know? The leading cause of deaths among senior citizens is due to accidental falls. Some people fall because of the condition of neuropathy and hence are unable to feel their feet. They try to stand but because of the numbness, don’t get a proper standing posture, and as a result trip and fall over.
Causes of neuropathy
There are a number of causes that could lead to the development of this condition in an individual. The most common causes include:
- Metabolic system anomalies
- Out of range glucose levels
- Inflammation of specific body parts, e.g. hands, feet
Treatment for neuropathy
The most significant concept to remember here is; it is essential to diagnose the underlying cause and provide symptomatic relief by eradicating that cause itself. Based on the root cause of the nerve damage, the treatments for neuropathy can vary. Here is a list of some of the ways to treat it.
- In case of mononeuropathy
Mononeuropathy is the condition when the damage is caused to a single nerve only, causing twitching, muscle wasting or a loss of sensation in the affected part of the body. Such a condition can be treated by physical therapy to retain the muscle strength. Some doctors also prescribe pain relief medications. In the case of devastating nerve damage, surgery is often recommended, to release the entrapped or compressed nerves.
- In case of polyneuropathy
Polyneuropathy is the simultaneous malfunctioning of multiple nerves throughout the body. This is a far more common kind of neuropathy. If you have polyneuropathy with sensory impairment, your doctor may recommend orthopedic shoes to prevent foot injury.
- Food protein testing
Quite often, the disorder could be caused due to the immune system’s reaction to a particular food group, such as gluten, milk, eggs, yeast, or soy. This reaction usually causes inflammation, which further causes cell death. Moreover, the inflammation won’t let the nerves to regenerate. Therefore, food protein testing could help you identifying these food groups and avoid such inflammatory reactions by treatments such as immune globulin therapy and plasma exchange.
- Verifying the adrenaline stress index
This is a salivary test that checks if your adrenal glands are working properly or not. The adrenal glands are positioned right above the kidneys, and they react to stress. Also, verifies in case there is a stage seven-exhaustion problem.
- Electrical nerve stimulation
In this process, an electric current is transmitted throughout the body and the nerve block, and an anesthetic is injected directly into the region around the malfunctioning nerve to interfere with the transmission of the signals of pain to the brain, thus inhibiting the pain from occurring in the affected region.
- Exposure to toxins
Nerve damage could also be caused due to an elongated exposure to toxins. Thus, avoiding alcohol and smoking helps to avoid exposure to such toxins and ultimately helps to fast track the treatment for neuropathy.
- Balanced diet
Eating a balanced, healthy diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals is, of course, the one common mantra for a complete positive health. And it’s no different in this case. Moreover, our foods these days are not substantially rich in Vitamin D and B12. Thus, taking supplements for these also sometimes prove to be helpful.
- Control of blood glucose
The maintenance of the apt glucose levels is of paramount importance in the treatment of neuropathy caused due to diabetes, also known as diabetic neuropathy, to help prevent further damage to nerves.
Many studies have shown that acupuncture may be helpful to relieve the neuropathic symptoms. Some alternative treatments for neuropathy include supplements for fish oil, amino acids, as well as a variety of herbs such as curcumin, primrose oil, and geranium oil. Finally, your doctor will treat the underlying disease to prevent further damage to the nerves.