Is neuropathy causing numbness in your hands and feet?

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Neuropathy is a generalized term used to describe numbness, tingling or nerve dysfunction in the body. Diabetic neuropathy for example is a common side effect of long standing diabetes that can make the feet numb and affect the ability to sense where the feet are when you are walking. Some people experience burning sensations.

Another common type of neuropathy is numbness in the hands upon waking in the morning, or the sensation of a dead arm when walking in the morning. Some people experience numbness in the feet when sitting for a while or on the toilet where it takes a while for the sensation return.

Another common neuropathy is experienced when driving the car, or having the arms above your head.

Should you see a neurologist or a chiropractor first?

The idea that for nerve problems you see a nerve specialist has been taught to many of us for years, although, often, nerve entrapments can be diagnosed with a thorough history and exam from a chiropractor. Why think of chiropractic first for most neuropathy symptoms?

Chiropractors are trained in neurology but are also well trained in the diagnosis and treatment of the musculoskeletal system. Their holistic or whole person point of view allows them to take a primary care approach to understand where the numbness is coming from and why.

In our over specialized healthcare system, patients are often passed from specialist to specialist, even if they work in the same large clinic or hospital system. Often, this increases complexity, reduces efficiency of diagnosis and treatment and patients get frustrated when they ask what caused their problem because often, the doctor cannot offer a straight answer other than could be this or that. When doctors don't know, they test. Chiropractors do this as well however when you do a thorough history and exam, you know more and test less.

Chiropractors often will be a one stop shop for most things musculoskeletal especially if they are sports certified. Keeping it simple often gets the problem improved or resolved quickly and efficiently especially with problems such as neuropathy.

Chiropractors keep it simple by being thorough.

Being trained in musculoskeletal diagnosis helps chiropractors find nerve entrapments which are often the cause of the numbness. Often an evaluation is enough to understand where to treat the problem and chiropractors often begin treatment during the first visit. This approach to care is primary care of the musculoskeletal system.

Problems in the lower body can be the reason the arms and hands fall asleep. Problems in the upper body may cause the legs to go numb. Confused yet? This is the reason so many people are choosing to see a chiropractor first who will evaluate and ask about your current and past musculoskeletal history.

If you wish to understand why you are dropping things, the lower body may give your chiropractor the clues they need to help you improve quickly. It is not enough to offer a therapy. The chiropractor needs to use the right tools to solve your problem rather than treat a prescription from another provider only for the symptomatic part.

Diabetic? While we understand long term diabetes can result in neuropathy, there can often be other causes. Just because you are diabetic, it does not mean that your problem is due to the diabetes. Assuming that all your neuropathy issues are from diabetes may be ignoring the true cause for your problems with numbness and sensation.

How do chiropractors treat neuropathy.

We all adapt to our surroundings, to our body mechanics, to falls, and even to growth during our early years. Understanding neuropathy is not about a specialist who looks at nerves while ignoring how you move and function. This is the reason, as explored in my book Cheating Mother Nature, what you need to know to beat chronic pain, why we must approach the problem holistically, using a primary care approach to the evaluation and treatment of the condition.

Rather than doing some neurologic tests, and some other tests, the chiropractic evaluation begins with a deep thorough history of your current condition, and prior problems. This helps the doctor in knowing how to approach the evaluation.

In our office, our evaluation begins from the ground up, observing your feet, how you move and function and I will explain what I find while looking to connect the dots. This holistic approach offers a better way forward than sending you for tests or from doctor to doctor, the way primary care used to be.

Sometimes, we will recommend an x ray which can be performed in our North Brunswick office. As with other types of physicians, when we do not know, we will test. A better exam allows us to understand and know more before we proceed. In most cases, patients will also be treated the same day and the care is individualized to what we find out during our examination. This is different than the one size fits all approach patients often receive in many of today's medical system that that go from generalist to specialist to intervention or medication to therapist instead of keeping it simple.

Chiropractic keeps it simple and uncomplicated. Find a problem, address and begin to solve it. Most patients begin to improve quickly and also understand why they hurt too.

Chiropractic used manipulation of the spine and extremities along with myofascial release to improve how you move or function. Most often, neuropathy involves nerve entrapments which can be improved or resolved by using palpation (feeling for the typical adhesions of nerve roots causing the malfunction) and then treating them by hand or with a tool which improves function. Often, our treat test treat approach will resolve most of these problems and then exercises are recommended to rehabilitate the region or regions of the body.

Foot orthotics are often recommended to correct imbalances from the feet up, which are common in neuropathy cases.