Peripheral Neuropathy myths and facts; are you getting the right advice and treatment and is it scientifically sound?
A patient I have not seen in a few years called me concerning a neuropathy diagnosis after experiencing numbness in his feet. The term neuropathy according to Wikipedia means ” damage to or disease affecting nerves, which may impair sensation, movement, gland or organ function, or other aspects of health, depending on the type of nerve affected.” Basically, the term peripheral neuropathy is a very vague diagnosis describing problems in the nerves that are away from the spine.
The term itself has been used by mass marketers to advertise cures and treatments, both in newspapers using full-page ads or on the internet. The ads usually mention, the symptomsc and how they can cure the problem with their unique technologies. Where the care goes from there is anyone’s guess. Medically, it usually means a drug or some sort of pain management procedure to do something to the nerves. Some have a machine that can somehow resolve the problem.
Peripheral Neuropathy is often associated with diabetes and numerous other diseases that are relatively rare. In the majority of the cases, the peripheral neuropathy symptoms are generally caused by nerve entrapments in the fascia and connective tissue resulting in numbness or other symptoms.
Visiting a provider who understands body mechanics, rehabilitation, and the mechanisms behind why you are experiencing numbness is most likely the right person to help you get relief fast. That provider is your local sports chiropractor who will take a primary care approach to your full history and perform a thorough evaluation. For some, this defies the convention of visiting a medical specialist who focuses on the symptoms rather than the mechanism behind your problems.
A vague neuropathy diagnosis is generally meaningless as it describes some nerve pathology without any guidance as to why in most cases. Inherited body traits can give us similar issues to our other family members since we are all genetically linked. The good news is that neuropathy is often a complication of less-than-ideal body mechanics and how we have adapted to them.
Rarely, does the conversation of body mechanics develop when discussing neuropathy in medical settings? Mechanically speaking, most neuropathies leading to numbness in some or multiple parts of the body are due to body asymmetry and gait problems that are inherited. They are rarely due to nerve endings that require a medical solution of burning the nerves so you can no longer feel things as I have heard recommended, sometimes called small fiber neuropathy.
In the case of my patient, he has severely flat feet, with asymmetry which caused pelvic torsion, upper body torsion, and alterations in how he walks and moves his body as a secondary manifestation. I refer to this as a DNA Spine. Generally, this can lead to numbness in the feet and even the arms, as the body tries to compensate for the poor body mechanics, and the legs tighten over time. The book, Cheating Mother Nature, what you need to know to beat chronic pain, discusses the idea of how the body will adapt to its body mechanics and how something as simple as a foot orthotic can level the pelvis and improve upon what mother nature gave you. Just leveling the pelvis will help the core work better and more effectively, often relieving feelings of numbness in the hands and feet.
With neuropathy, solutions are found by understanding why you are experiencing the symptoms.
The mechanism that causes neuropathy can be complex, so your healthcare provider needs to use their knowledge to understand what is unique about you. Through a process of elimination, nerve entrapments that may be causing numbness are the most efficient way of resolving problems related to a neuropathy diagnosis in the arms and legs. Common places of nerve entrapment resulting in neuropathy may include the toes (Morton’s neuroma), back of the knees (popliteal nerve), the piriformis muscle in the buttock (sciatic nerve), and in the upper back, forearms and under the armpit, and under the pectoralis minor as well as in the hands and wrists.
The most effective approach to treating neuropathy causing adhesions is by using active Treat- test – treat methods and evaluation protocols to efficiently resolve problems.
While working by hand is the most effective method, some healthcare practitioners have had varying success using cold lasers and other methods. 37 years of experience show that manual evaluation and treatment by hand are often the most effective. From the chiropractic perspective, since we are physician-level providers, if something does not help, we will modify our approach and confirm its effectiveness using Treat-Test Treat. This means more effective care for you and a faster road to recovery in many cases.
How long should chiropractic neuropathy treatment take?
Typically, most neuropathies will resolve more quickly (less than 10 visits) through the use of manual methods of the soft tissues as well as joint manipulation. Patients who have other mechanical problems that have become chronic may take longer to treat. Complexity and chronicity can determine the total amount of care required.
You should be suspicious if the treatment is taking too long without improvement. Typically, each visit is usually different as you improve and we together explore the mechanisms behind your problem.
Peripheral neuropathy is not as scary as the name sounds, and with the right healthcare practitioner, most resolve relatively quickly. Considering most neuropathies of this sort are mechanical in nature, a mechanical solution offers the best likelihood of treatment success. Chiropractic doctors who have been trained in myofascial release, active release treatment, or the Graston technique are often a great place to start to get great advice, excellent care, and a great outcome, helping you avoid unnecessary testing and risky medical procedures. If the problem is more involved or is a more life-threatening problem, your chiropractor will refer you to someone who can help you better than they can. Seeing a chiropractor first can avoid unnecessary expenses and tests that may not be helpful or necessary to properly understand and diagnose the problem.
Do you need help now? Book online here.