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The Top 3 Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy

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This week, we’ve had an influx of patients asking us about leg pain coming from what appeared to be a peripheral nerve, also known as peripheral neuropathy. Have you been told you have neuropathy? A common symptom of neuropathy is a sensation of either burning, tingling or numbness down one (or both) legs to the foot. It is very common in diabetics and individuals with hypertension. Peripheral neuropathy also responds really well to natural treatments. Read ALL of today’s blog, so that you can better understand if this type of natural treatment is for you if you’re currently suffering with peripheral neuropathy.

By: Alex Earl, DC
Spine Care Specialist

Do your feet burn, tingle or go numb?

If so, you might be suffering with a condition known as peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that can cause a wide range of painful symptoms, including tingling, numbness, and burning sensations in the hands and feet. While there are many possible causes of peripheral neuropathy, the condition can be challenging to treat and manage, particularly in cases where the underlying cause cannot be addressed.

Chiropractic care and physical medicine may offer a natural solution to help alleviate neuropathic symptoms and improve quality of life for patients. Chiropractors are trained to evaluate the musculoskeletal system and can provide targeted treatments to address any associated issues, such as nerve impingement. By working in collaboration with other healthcare professionals and taking a holistic approach to treatment, chiropractic care may be able to help patients overcome the pain and discomfort of peripheral neuropathy.

Several factors can increase a person’s risk of developing peripheral neuropathy, especially lower extremity neuropathy. Here are some of the most common risk factors:

  1. Diabetes: People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing peripheral neuropathy, particularly if their blood sugar levels are poorly controlled.
  2. Aging: As people age, they may be at a higher risk of developing peripheral neuropathy.
  3. Alcohol abuse: Chronic alcohol abuse can damage nerves and increase the risk of peripheral neuropathy.
  4. Vitamin deficiencies: Deficiencies in vitamins like B12 and folate can increase the risk of peripheral neuropathy.
  5. Certain medications: Some medications, such as chemotherapy drugs and certain antibiotics, can increase the risk of peripheral neuropathy.
  6. Autoimmune diseases: Certain autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, can increase the risk of peripheral neuropathy.
  7. Infections: Certain viral or bacterial infections, such as Lyme disease, can increase the risk of peripheral neuropathy.
  8. Hereditary factors: Some people may have a genetic predisposition to developing peripheral neuropathy.

It’s important to note that not everyone with these risk factors will develop peripheral neuropathy, and some people without any known risk factors may still develop the condition. If you are experiencing symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider to know your options for relief and long-term solutions BEFORE it gets any worse.

In diabetic peripheral neuropathy, the nerves become sensitized due to a combination of factors, including chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, and metabolic disturbances. When blood sugar levels are consistently high, it can cause damage to the nerves, leading to a breakdown in their ability to transmit signals effectively. Over time, the nerves become hyperactive and hypersensitive, leading to the characteristic symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, including pain, tingling, and numbness.

While there are pharmaceutical options available to manage the symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy, they often come with a host of side effects and may not address the underlying cause of the condition. This is where natural treatments, such as vitamins and changes in diet, lifestyle, and stress management, can be some of the best long-term solutions for managing diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

Some important (and often overlooked) solutions include several vitamins and nutrients which have been shown to be beneficial in managing diabetic peripheral neuropathy. For example, vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in nerve health and function, and a deficiency in this vitamin can contribute to peripheral neuropathy. Similarly, vitamin D has been shown to be important for nerve function, and low levels of this vitamin have been linked to an increased risk of peripheral neuropathy. Other nutrients that may be helpful in managing peripheral neuropathy include alpha-lipoic acid, acetyl-L-carnitine, and magnesium. These nutrients can help to reduce inflammation, improve nerve function, and alleviate symptoms.

Another important factor to consider is nutritional changes. Making changes to your diet can also be an effective way to manage diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Eating a diet that is rich in whole, nutrient-dense foods and low in processed foods and refined sugars can help to stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation in the body. A diet that is high in protein and healthy fats can also be beneficial, as it can help to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, which is a common complication of diabetes.

Eating grass-fed meat is a wonderful way to increase protein intake. The quality of red meat does matter in this case. I do not advise you avoid red meat while going through a peripheral neuropathy situation.

In my experience, avoiding the foods that are high in sugar and seed oils are the quickest way to reduce the severity of symptoms.

Seed oils include canola oil, grapeseed oil, safflower and sunflower oils. These ALL cause a massive spike of inflammatory markers in the blood and are very detrimental towards your optimal health goals.

Certain lifestyle changes can also be helpful in managing diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Regular exercise, for example, can help to improve blood sugar control, reduce inflammation, and improve nerve function. Stress management techniques, such as mindfulness meditation and deep breathing exercises, can also be helpful in managing the stress that can exacerbate peripheral neuropathy symptoms.

While natural treatments may take longer to show results than pharmaceutical options, they can provide a more sustainable and long-term solution to managing diabetic peripheral neuropathy. By addressing the underlying causes of the condition, such as chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, these treatments can help to improve nerve function and reduce the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. Additionally, they often come with fewer side effects and can provide other health benefits beyond just managing peripheral neuropathy.

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy can be a debilitating condition that can greatly impact a person’s quality of life. However, there are natural treatments available that can help to manage the symptoms and improve nerve function over time. By incorporating vitamins and nutrients into your diet, making healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle, and managing stress, you can take a proactive approach to managing your diabetic peripheral neuropathy and improve your overall health and wellbeing.

Real Life Case Study: “Feels like my feet are on fire.”

This week, we had a gentleman arrive for his appointment with the chief complaint of tingling and burning sensations down his legs. After assessing his presentation, we came to the rational conclusion that he is most likely suffering with peripheral neuropathy.

But identifying the condition is only ½ the battle.

Now that we know what the most likely cause of his symptoms was, we then can start to rationally formutate our clinical decision making to help him overcome this tricky situation!

The first step we took for this particular patient was addressing the two “lowest hanging fruit” to aid him in the relief he was looking for AND also putting him on the path towards optimal health.

We placed him on a gluten-free, dairy-free, and high protein meal plan for 7 days. That’s the intake component. We also agreed to avoid sugary drinks, such as lemonade, soda pop, and sweet tea. (I know, right!)

We increased his water intake from 0 ounces per day to 24 ounces. Baby steps.

The other component we addressed was the movement aspect. He needs to be moving and stimulating his skeletal muscles. So, we had him walk for 10 minutes after each meal to help regulate his blood sugar levels. That’s it; just a slow-paced walk for 10 minutes, 3 times a day.

After 7 days, the peripheral neuropathy symptoms were 90% resolved. That’s 90 PERCENT. Pretty cool, huh?!

Do this next!

Maybe you (or someone you know) is in a similar situation to our 56 year old sciatica patient? If so, I have great news for you today… You are in the right place for relief. Every day, Chattanooga and North Georgia residents are getting the same relief as our recent patient. If you’d like to learn more about your options for overcoming spine pain, do the following:

  1. Share this Article with a Friend or Family member who currently has peripheral neuropathy (or it sounds like they do!)
  2. Call our office TODAY at (866) 668-0108 to book your next appointment!
  3. Keep an eye out for next month’s article, which will be about our #1 Spine Strategy that our patients have called, “The Best Stretch” they’ve ever had for that one tricky spot of their spine. If you have spine stiffness, you know the spot I am referring to!