Monday, May 17, 2010

Peripheral Neuropathy - Find the CAUSE

Peripheral Neuropathy (PN) is a condition in which the nerves of the peripheral nervous system (most commonly hands or feet) have been damaged. PN can be caused by structural problems, disease processes that directly affect the nerve or be due to the effect of a systemic illness. It is estimated that as many as 20 million Americans suffer from this condition.

Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include:
• Pins and needles feeling
• Numbness in the hands or feet
• Tingling or burning sensations
• Weakness in the arms or legs
• Sharp shooting or burning pains

Traditional medical management involves prescribing drugs like Neurontin, Gabapentin, Klonopin, Topamax or Lyrica to help dampen these symptoms. This may be a little bit helpful for a little while but I haven’t seen anyone who this gave complete or permanent relief. None of these drugs actually address the cause of the peripheral neuropathy. Often times PN is labeled “idiopathic neuropathy” which means “we don’t know what the cause is”. The reason for this is usually it hasn’t been looked for.

In our office we look for and address several causes including:

1)Blood Sugar- Most people are aware that diabetics can develop neuropathies but many aren’t aware that you don’t have to be diabetic to have a problem with blood sugar. You could be insulin resistant or have a condition called Metabolic Syndrome or simply be dysglycemic. Blood sugar issues need to be recognized and addressed.

2)Autoimmune secondary to food sensitivities – An autoimmune condition is a where your immune system attacks your own body. One tissue that can be attacked is myelin, the fatty sheath that surrounds nerves. Foods sensitivities can be a common trigger for this attack. These need to be identified and removed.

3)Statin Drugs- Cholesterol lowering drugs also lower Coq10 levels which is required for ATP(energy) production. ATP is needed by every cell in the body. Statins can suppress ATP levels to the point that nerves cannot maintain their electrochemical gradient. The result is a neuropathy.

4)Toxicity- Chemotherapy is a big cause of neuropathy in our age advancing population. Heavy metals can be another. Toxic exposure can be mitigated.

5)Parietal Lobe Problems The parietal lobe of the brain is an area responsible for receiving proprioceptive information from skin, muscle, tendons, ligaments and joints. If you have a problem with your parietal lobe these messages can become distorted and you will have symptoms like numbness, tingling and burning. These deficits can be addressed through specific therapies.

A useful tool in the treatment of neuropathy is the Rebuilder. This device uses 7.83 dual pulsed electrotherapy to stimulate the nerves and the muscles. It is currently being used by Cancer Treatment Centers of America specifically to address peripheral neuropathy symptoms. While it is effective, unless the underlying causes are managed, the relief will be incomplete or short lived.

By doing the necessary testing and examinations, the causes of peripheral neuropathy can be determined and addressed through diet, supplementation and therapies. To find out if we can help you please call our office to schedule a Case Review and Neuropathy Screening (814)238-0232.