Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy
Diabetic Neuropathy
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Small Fiber Neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy and Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathy is very common. It is estimated that about 25% to 30% of Americans will be affected by neuropathy. The condition affects people of all ages.

Peripheral neuropathy is a result of dysfunction or damage to the nerves located outside of the brain and spinal cord (peripheral nerves), often causes weakness, numbness and pain, usually in the hands and feet, or long-term abnormal feelings of sensation and/or loss of sensation. Sometimes the abnormal sensations lead to painful neuropathy.

Neuropathic symptoms and/or pain, neuropathic pain occurs without any associated stimulation, for instance, if there is a burning sensation or a prickling sensation, it is not in response to something hot or sharp.  It is a sensation created by dysfunction of the nerves.

Pain is experienced differently for everyone. As such, the words used to describe neuropathic pain may vary. Frequent descriptions include pricking, tingling, burning, stabbing, or aching. The pain may be present on a constant basis, or it can wax and wane in intensity. As described, the pain is most often present without associated stimulation, but actions such as bearing weight may dramatically exacerbate or worsen the pain.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy

  • Gradual onset of numbness, prickling, or tingling in your feet or hands, which can spread upward into your legs and arms
  • Sharp, jabbing, throbbing, or burning pain
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch
  • Pain during activities that shouldn’t cause pain, such as pain in your feet when putting weight on them, walking, moving toes, or when they’re under a blanket.
  • Lack of coordination and falling
  • Muscle weakness
  • Feeling as if you’re wearing gloves or socks when you’re not
  • Paralysis if motor nerves are affected
  • Heightened sensitivity to normal touch or stimulation, such as pain or burning in response to the sensation of clothing or light touch.

What are some causes of Neuropathy?

  • Diabetes Mellitus (all types)– This is the number one cause of peripheral neuropathy in the US. – 60-70% of people with diabetes will get neuropathy.
  • Metabolic Syndrome – high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes
  • Prescription Medications – chemotherapeutic agents, antiseizure medications, antibiotics, others
  • Vitamin Deficiency – vitamin E, B1, B6, B12, niacin
  • Small Fiber Neuropathy
  • Alcohol Use or Abuse
  • Tobacco Use
  • Thyroid Hormone Abnormality
  • Excess Growth Hormone
  • Repetitive Stress Injury – such as carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Vasculitis/blood vessel disease
  • Infections – shingles, HIV, Lyme disease, diphtheria, leprosy
  • Injury/Trauma
  • Disc Herniation/Spinal Stenosis – narrowing
  • Kidney Disease
  • Tumor Formation/Cancer
  • Toxin Exposure – arsenic, lead, mercury, thallium, others
  • Inherited / Genetic Causes

FAQ’s

Yes, it can be. Nerves are known to be able to regenerate. Just like when you have a deep cut in your skin, sometimes there is numbness for a while, but the nerves can regenerate. Sometimes the damage is severe enough or long enough that full recovery is difficult, but my success rate for resolution is very high.

Yes. Most people come to me knowing that they have neuropathy. If they have not seen a neurologist, I refer them to one so that they can get a thorough physical exam focused on their nerve symptoms.  We begin working on the symptoms while we wait for that evaluation. I work with that evaluation, my own thorough history, and evaluation. AND with the pandemic, many medical centers, and specialists, like neurologists, have created training and tools for physical exams for things like neurology for telemedicine. I utilized those training and tools and can do much of a neurological evaluation over video.

I am very experienced and well-versed in this area and work with people with many different underlying reasons for their neuropathy.

How does Dr. Litov treat neuropathy using Integrative, Naturopathic and Functional Medicine?

The goal is to improve your day-to-day quality of life, to be able to function better at home and work.  This doesn’t happen overnight, so there are a number of steps.

  • The most important thing is to find out what is causing the neuropathy in order to adequately treat it. To do that, I do a thorough evaluation investigation/evaluation of present symptoms, medical history, labs, and imaging, and take the time to find out how your neuropathy has come into your life and health.
  • It is important for me to look at the evaluations you have had already. Many people come to me already having seen a neurologist. I look at those records as well as any other records that are pertinent to the neuropathy. I take a multi-systems approach and look at the genetic, biological, neurological, biochemical, hormonal, environmental, medications, nutritional aspects of what is going on for you and address whether they are contributing to your symptoms.
  • I will address both the acute symptoms and the underlying root cause of the symptoms. This way you can get some more short-term relief while uncovering and treating the underlying cause of the problems.
  • I integrate the best of both natural and conventional medicine for individualized treatments and care to get you back on your feet, so to speak.

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