Peripheral Neuropathy Treatment Brisbane.
What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy is a term that describes a problem with a nerve, often in the foot or feet. The word Peripheral means ¬around the outside and so it refers to the ends of your arms and legs. Probably because the legs are longer than the arms, feet are more prone to be affected by neuropathy of some sorts. To understand what happens when you have peripheral neuropathy, and what sorts of Peripheral Neuropathy Treatment Brisbane are possible, some background information is useful.
We will talk about:
• Types of Peripheral Neuropathy
• Symptoms of Neuropathy in the feet
• Peripheral Neuropathy Treatment Brisbane
• What nerves do and why they matter
Types of Peripheral Neuropathy
There are many types of this condition. Only some of which have effective Peripheral Neuropathy Treatment Brisbane available. We like to divide the cause of nerve damage into three groups. These are: diseases affecting nerves, poisoning of nerves and physical injury to a nerve.
Disease: The single most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes. There are many other conditions that affect the nerves such as Parkinson’s Disease, Spina Bifida, familial disorders, Fibromyalgia, M.S. and vascular conditions such as Raynaud’s Disease. Post Herpetic Neuralgia (coming after a case of shingles) deserves a special mention below.
Poisoning: This is not as uncommon as you may think. Pharmaceutical drugs can damage the peripheral nerves. Chemotherapy for cancer is a great example of this. Alcohol use over a long period can also be a problem. Some chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides are implicated in causing nerve damage. This may affect people who work on a farm, in any industry that allows contact with chemicals (hairdressers from several decades ago) and home gardeners. Consider this: you really should not know what weed killer smells like. If you, like me, do know, it means we have breathed in the chemical. Were we always as cautious about not getting the poison on our skin as we should have been?
Physical Injury: In most cases, the injury to a nerve will cause pain ‘downstream’ from the point of injury. For example, a disc prolapse in the back might touch the Sciatic nerve. The pain can then be felt all the way down the limb to the little toe area. Some injuries, especially chronic constriction injuries can cause pain both up and downstream relative to the point of trauma. Peripheral Neuropathy Treatment Brisbane is most effective for this sort of pathology.
Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy
There are two general types of neuropathy: Anaesthesia or Paraesthesia. As you can probably deduce for yourself, anaesthesia is the absence of pain and other sensations. This might mean that a wound that should be painful isn’t. The para part of the word is like in paranormal. This means that you feel sensations that are not really there, such as the buzzing or stabbing pains.
The most common words used to describe the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include: numbness, burning, tingling, pins and needles or flashes of stabbing pain. It is very common for the symptoms to be worse at rest. You may be woken from sleep, have difficulty falling asleep or find yourself restless while watching TV in a recliner for the evening.
Peripheral Neuropathy Treatment Brisbane
We will discuss treatment of the types of neuropathy in turn.
Injury: When we see people seeking Peripheral Neuropathy Treatment Brisbane, we will generally start by looking for signs of physical trauma to a nerve. This is mostly because, of all of the dozens of reasons you may get nerve pain in the feet and legs, this is the most treatable type.
As an illustration to better understand this mechanism of injury, let’s talk for a moment about Sciatica. Most people will know that sciatica is a compression of the sciatic nerve by a damaged disc in the spine. The disc substance bulges out and touches the nerve, compressing it and causing pain. What is less well known is that there are literally miles and miles or nerves in a leg. There are many points where a nerve goes through a muscle or a fascia, or even punches through a bone. They go around things, over things and change direction. It is in all these places that a compression of the nerve may occur. These can generally be treated very successfully with Neural Prolotherapy, even if they have been causing issues for years.
Diseases. As you might imagine, the outlook for these conditions is very variable and depends on the type, duration and severity of the disease. For example, having blood sugar elevated in the long term can cause nerve damage that cannot be reversed. Having blood sugar that is high in the moment can cause paraesthesia that will pass when the blood sugar lowers again. For a more in depth look at diabetes neuropathy management, please read out Diabetes and Your Feet info sheet for a more comprehensive discussion.
An important point about Diabetic Neuropathy: If you have got diabetes, and you have neuropathy, it does not mean that you definitely have diabetic neuropathy. Physical injury to nerves is very common in the general population and no less common in diabetics. It is quite possible to be a diabetic, have no diabetic neuropathy, and have a pressure neuropathy causing your symptoms.
For true diabetic neuropathy, treatment is aimed at two key tasks. Of most importance, it is vital to protect the feet from un-felt damage. Secondary treatment can then focus on reducing the unpleasantness of paraesthesia. We think that paraesthesia is so unpleasant because your brain is disturbed by feeling sensations that it knows are not real. This may be reduced by substituting real sensations that can drown out the fake ones.
Shingles or Post Herpetic Neuralgia. The pain that lingers after shingles has passed seems to respond very well to neural prolotherapy. We cannot help you while the shingles is still active. Consult your G.P.
Poisoning. Unfortunately, the damage to nerves from agricultural types of chemicals often occurs over a long period and there may be a delay of several decades in the symptoms appearing. As far as we can determine, there is no treatment to reverse this.
If a current medication is suspected in altering your sensation, you will need to work with your G.P. or specialist to sort through the possibilities. We are not the right people to help you with this.
If chemotherapy has caused your altered sensation, the effects do seem to diminish with time. Treatment with neural prolotherapy may help in some cases. Providing the feet with real information to report back to the brain may also be helpful for some people.
What do nerves do and why do they matter?
Nerves do a wide range of things. As we are podiatrists, we will discuss these with a particular reference to the feet:
Sensation: Most obviously, nerves allow you to feel sensations such as touch, pressure, heat and pain. Lack of sensation in feet is a problem as you may not feel a shoe rubbing or other type of wound. Simple things like standing on hot concrete can become very damaging and result on burns to feet.
Balance and co-ordinating movements: Nerves give a lot of feedback to your brain that allows micro-adjustments to your posture to help maintain balance, cope with uneven surfaces and even out the pressure on each area of skin on the soles of the feet. Nerve damage can affect balance and stability leading to falls. It can reduce the cooperative way that body parts help each other to move causing mechanical inefficiencies with walking and overloading large muscles by the under use of small muscles.
Joint Innervation: Joints are also supplied by nerves (or innervated) by the peripheral nerves. The sensations coming back from these are mostly used by your brain to fine tune your movements. Only sometimes will you be consciously aware of sensations within your joints. If joints lose their sensation, your brain may not fire off the muscles around the joint to slow your movements before the joint hits bone against bone. This happens at the end of range of motion. This can cause a joint condition called Charcot’s Disease.
Muscle Movement: Nerves instruct the muscles how to move and when. They carry the electric ‘current’ that causes the fibres of the muscle to contract. The foot contains many small muscles packed in like sardines in a can. If they lose nerve input, they don’t do a normal amount of work. They can then waste away. Leaving the foot without important structural stability. Movements of the foot bones can then occur in unusual ways. This can cause damage to the skin, muscles, bones and joints of the foot.
Sympathetic functions: These are the things your body does that you cannot consciously control, like beating your heart. In the feet, this translates to opening and closing blood vessels, sweating heating and cooling and allowing more blood to flow to areas that require healing.
So, if you are seeking Peripheral Neuropathy Treatment Brisbane, call now to book an assessment with one of our dedicated podiatrists on 3256 1006. Ask to be put in with a Prolotherapy practitioner when you call. We treat conditions of the foot, leg, thigh and hip. We are unable to treat upper body conditions. You may like to read some different information on the American Podiatric Medicine Website.