By Jarrod Beachum, PA-C
Do you ever experience weakness, numbness, tingling, pins and needles, pain, or hot/cold sensations in you hands and feet? If so, you may be dealing with peripheral neuropathy (PN). PN is a condition of nerve damage to the peripheral nerves that transmit signals to and from everything outside of the brain and spinal cord. About 20 million people in the US have some form of PN. There are many causes of PN, but the more common causes are uncontrolled diabetes, a long history of well-controlled diabetes, chemotherapy, toxin exposure, compressive nerve injury (repetitive or one time), smoking, history of decreased blood flow, and certain medications. Regardless of the cause, it is a chronic condition that can worsen over time if not treated properly.
So what’s the big deal? Well, if the nerves that regulate our body are not functioning properly, many of our innate defense mechanisms won’t work. For example, most of us have stubbed a toe or gotten a small blister or cut on our feet. We generally feel the pain and react by moving the foot from the cause of the injury, and then taking care of any damage to the skin. Well, if a diabetic person has lost sensation in their foot, when they get an injury, they may not know it occurred. Wounds can go untreated, leading to infection and tissue necrosis. That is why those with PN are supposed to check their hands and feet daily for injury. We also have the ability to stay balanced and upright when walking or standing because our peripheral nerves and central balance system are constantly working together to recognize our body position and make minute changes to maintain that position or to make changes smoothly. Even when we are standing “perfectly still” the muscles in our legs and back are active and the neurons are firing to maintain balance in opposing muscle groups. When the peripheral nerves are unable to send position signals to the brain, the brain is unable to coordinate which muscles should be firing, leading to instability and falls. This is the same situation that is happening when you have sat on the toilet too long, and your foot goes numb. You go to stand up and immediately fall over because your brain can’t automatically cause the proper muscles to work. Fortunately, that is temporary condition for most of us, but those with PN suffer with that sensation constantly. We want to change that!
I’m on pins and needles to talk to you about our newest program. Here at 45 Urgent Care and Advanced Rehab and Medical we strive to be on the cutting edge of healthcare to give you the best treatment while being locally convenient and affordable. Our new Peripheral Neuropathy program has been designed to address the issue with different approaches that work together to promote nerve healing and return you to a better state of well-being. Once we conduct a thorough history and physical exam, including advanced diagnostic testing completed in-house, we can tailor the program to your specific needs. Our medical team can help diagnose and manage those conditions which may be contributing to the PN. In-house treatments include PRP injections, Hako med therapy, shockwave therapy, in-light box therapy, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy, and more. We also have home equipment and supplements that promote healing from within.
If you or someone you know is suffering with PN, and haven’t had any relief, please come see us at 45 Urgent Care and Advanced Rehab and Medical so we can talk to you about this life-changing therapy. Start the journey to recovery today!
Jarrod Beachum, PA-C