What is neuropathy?
If you’re suffering from chronic pain, and can’t quite determine the source, you might be struggling with a type of neuropathy. Neuropathy is a condition in which the nerves outside of your brain and spinal area become damaged over time. This can lead to quite a bit of pain, but there are plenty of other symptoms that might tag along. Some common symptoms of neuropathy are:
Pain in the affected area
Weakness in the affected area
Reduced movement of the affected area
The annoying pins-and-needles feeling in coordination with numbness
Neuropathy can be caused by a few different factors, and in most cases, the area that becomes impacted is generally either the hands or feet. This is due to the fact that those areas are the furthest away from the brain. A common form of neuropathy is peripheral neuropathy (when this occurs in your hands or feet), and it can be caused by numerous factors such as:
An injury in the affected area
Toxins that may enter the body, and various neurotoxins
Prolonged infections or an infection that is left treated for an extended period of time
Both types of diabetes
Abnormalities in protein
Poor lifelong diet
Regardless of what brought on this condition, don’t worry, because it is treatable. While you might not be able to fully cure it, the symptoms can be very manageable.
So let’s dive right in and take a look at what causes neuropathy, and some common methods out there to treat it.
What causes neuropathy
If you’ve ended up with this condition you might be wondering what caused it. Chances are if you haven’t been exposed to any damage, diabetes is typically the underlying cause. Let’s take a look at some of the common causes of neuropathy, and how it happens.
Onset from diabetes
Diabetes is a disease that makes it difficult to manage your body’s insulin levels. A lot of people are led to believe that insulin is the only issue when it comes to diabetes. While it may be the initial result, neuropathy can also be caused by diabetes. The reason that diabetes can cause neuropathy, is due to the fact that it can reduce the flow of blood in your body. This can lead to nerves at the hands and feet becoming damaged. Those damaged nerves may then lead to the symptoms that come with neuropathy.
How do alcoholism and poor diet contribute to neuropathy?
Among other issues, alcoholism and a poor diet can definitely do some damage to the body. If your body is not getting the nutrients it needs, over time, certain things can begin to stop functioning properly. Your nerves are definitely one of those things, and messing around with your blood pressure can cause your nerves to become damaged. So be sure to maintain a healthy lifelong diet if you want to avoid this condition. Plus, alcohol is basically poison to your body, and it will cause numerous issues when consumed in excess. Well, you guessed it, one of those issues in neuropathy
Infections and toxins
Everyone knows that leaving an infection untreated is not a good idea, but did you know it could damage your nerves? Certain infections can overrun an area of your body, and over time, this can cause nerve damage in that area. While infections might seem like a surface issue, there is definitely more going on beneath the surface. This is also true for toxins, and your body is not the best at handling dangerous chemicals.
If a certain area of your body becomes injured and gets injured often, it can lead to permanent damage to your nerves. This is common in people who work with their hands, dance, or play aggressive sports. Have you ever heard of carpal tunnel? That is a very similar condition that occurs in the hands due to intense use of those muscles and ligaments. Well, believe it not, similar overuse or damage to your hands and feet can result in peripheral neuropathy.
Your immune system generally plays a role in protecting your body, so what happens when it turns against you? This process is generally referred to as an auto-immune disease and can be the cause of neuropathy in multiple areas. This is due to the fact that your body might begin to target those nerves. This can lead to nerve damage and quite a bit of other issues. So if you suffer from common auto-immune illness like HIV, this is definitely something you should be aware of.
What treatments are available for neuropathy?
So now that you know what neuropathy is, and what causes it to happen, you’ll want to know exactly what you can do to treat it. Luckily, there are plenty of treatment methods that you can try. The only downside is that neuropathy in any variation is generally not curable. You should be aware that this is a condition that will be with you for a lifetime or at least many years. So let’s take a look at how it can be treated.
What medications are available to treat neuropathy?
Medication tends to be the primary way of treating neuropathy, and there are plenty of great medications on the market to look out for. Before you choose any medications, you should always consult with a doctor to make sure they’re right for you. The only downside to dealing with neuropathy is the fact that it cannot be directly treated. This means that you will likely need different medications to deal with different symptoms. For example, if you’re looking to treat painful neuropathy, you might need to rely on medication like oxycodone. There are also plenty of topical medications that you can choose from as well to help you relieve pain.
Can surgery help with neuropathy?
Depending on the severity of the issue, you can also opt for surgery. Surgery is generally only used in special cases but can be needed if multiple nerves have ended up damaged in the process.
Since this condition is chronic, there are some mobile aids that you can use to help you reduce some of the pain from moving. Some common mobile aids you might want to seek out are canes and wheelchairs.
If you’re suffering from any type of neuropathy, you should definitely try to treat it as early as possible. The earlier you end up treating it, the better off you’ll end up being. If you’re someone who suffers from autoimmune diseases or diabetes, make sure you understand the risks and stay on top of your medications. If you find yourself struggling with pain or numbness in your hands and feet, be sure to consult with your doctor.