Estimates place the prevalence of people suffering from peripheral neuropathy at about 20 million Americans, though medical experts suspect that these numbers are far higher thanks to underreporting and misdiagnosis.
Our team here at Valiant Life Medical is not only well-versed in diagnosing and treating peripheral neuropathy, we also understand that the earlier we intervene, the less of an impact this condition will have on your quality of life.
To give you an idea of the effect that peripheral neuropathy can have on your life, we outline here some of the more significant symptoms and complications.
Peripheral neuropathy at a glance
To better understand the impact that peripheral neuropathy can have on your life, it’s helpful to review what we’re up against. As we explained, peripheral neuropathy describes nerve damage outside your central nervous system, which can be caused by any number of problems, such as:
- Acute trauma
- Autoimmune disorders
- Hormone imbalances
- Vascular issues
These conditions can affect different types of nerve groups in your body, such as your:
- Autonomic nerves, which control automatic functions such as breathing
- Sensory nerves, which are responsible for sensations
- Motor nerves, which largely control your muscles
The type of symptoms you may experience from peripheral neuropathy depend upon which nerves are damaged.
Side effects and complications of peripheral neuropathy
The side effects and potential for complications depend upon the degree of the nerve damage, as well as which nerves sustained the damage. Peripheral neuropathy may be progressive when it’s caused by a chronic condition like diabetes, which means your symptoms may be mild at first, but gradually worsen if left untreated.
These symptoms include:
- Numbness and tingling
- Muscle weakness
- Sensitivity to extreme temperatures
- Slow-healing wounds
These symptoms typically develop in your legs and feet, and they can range from mild to jabbing, throbbing, or burning sensations. You may also develop extreme sensitivity to touch or develop pain anytime there’s the slightest amount of pressure in the area (think of pain from putting your feet under a blanket).
Outside of the discomfort, one of our biggest concerns when it comes to peripheral neuropathy in your extremities is the risk of developing infections from wounds that you’re slow to notice because you can’t feel them. These wounds can easily become infected and are slow to heal, which puts you at risk for severe tissue damage and even amputation in severe cases.
Another potential complication of peripheral neuropathy is the risk of falling. Nerve damage that affects your sensory and motor nerves can lead to problems with balance and gait, putting you at a much higher risk of stumbling.
Restoring your quality of life
Depending upon the source of your nerve damage, we devise a plan that’s designed to reduce your symptoms and prevent complications. In most cases, the earlier we intervene, the better we can monitor the condition and slow its progress if it’s a degenerative problem.
As a multidisciplinary practice, we take a more holistic approach to peripheral neuropathy, which includes:
- Regenerative medicine to encourage nerve health
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic care to improve spinal alignment
- Helping patients manage the underlying condition with their PCP or other healthcare specialist
Our goal through these treatments is to not only relieve your immediate symptoms, but to set you up for better nerve health moving forward.
If you suspect you’re developing peripheral neuropathy, we urge you to contact our office in Fort Worth, Texas, as soon as possible so that we can get you the care you need.