We all rely on an extensive network of nerves running throughout our bodies that serve to not only keep us alive, but also to appreciate the world around us. Nerves give us the ability to see, smell, hear, taste, and feel. These experiences enrichen our lives and keep us safe.
When nerves are damaged, they can take away those abilities. More than that, there are times when nerve damage causes usual, painful sensations.
There are various causes of neuropath (nerve damage), which makes this a fairly common problem for many people.
Whereas neuropathy is commonly associated with diabetes—and rightfully so given that 60-70 percent of diabetic individuals will have nerve damage during their lifetime—there are several other potential sources, including:
- Alcoholism – This can be attributed to the malnutrition seen in many alcoholic individuals.
- Certain medications – Some chemotherapy drugs, for example, have nerve damage as a potential side effect.
- Heredity – Family history and genetic disposition sometimes lead to peripheral neuropathy.
- Injury – Acute injuries sometimes damage peripheral nerves and cause problems.
- Arthritis – There are many forms of arthritis, and neuropathy can be caused by certain ones.
- Neurological disorders – Conditions like fibromyalgia and spina bifida increase the risk factor of this issue.
Neuropathy can be concerning anywhere it happens in the body, but nerve damage in the feet is particularly concerning for a couple of reasons.
First, your feet endure tremendous force loads on a daily basis and are at heightened risk for injury and various medical conditions.
Second, your feet are generally not particularly visible. We keep our lower limbs covered in socks and shoes, plus they are the furthest points on the body from our eyes. This means you have to be vigilant to catch those issues that can become medical emergencies!
If you have sustained nerve damage in your feet that is causing problems like burning, tingling, or painful sensations, or you are unable to feel anything, come see us at our Palm Desert office. We can determine the root cause of the problem and then create an effective treatment plan for you.
If diabetes is responsible, we can help you develop a diabetic foot care plan to prevent issues from arising in the first place.
Treatment for neuropathy has many different forms, but typically serves to accomplish one of two objectives – relieve symptoms and manage whichever condition has led to the nerve damage. Traditional methods include:
- Medications – Mild symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications, but prescription painkillers are sometimes used for more-severe symptoms. Other medications that may be used in treating nerve damage include antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, and creams containing capsaicin. Supplements may be helpful as well.
- Physical therapy – This form of therapy is sometimes used in instances where muscle weakness is due to damaged nerves and can help improve the ability to move.
- Surgery – When neuropathies are caused by pressure from tumors, compression on nerves, or if there is injury or damage to the nerves, a surgical procedure can be used to relieve the pressure and improve the condition.
A more highly-advanced nerve pain treatment we are proud to offer at our practice is laser therapy. This state-of-the-art therapy is noninvasive (no surgery!) and has produced amazing results for patients. It is painless and sessions are fairly quick.
In this treatment, laser energy (as you might imagine based on the name) is directed into specific areas of the body. With a multi-wave locked system laser specifically, there are two therapeutic wavelengths administered to reach deeper into affected tissues and target nerves affected by pain and inflammation.
Laser therapy is not only highly effective, it is also a safe practice, as evidenced by its approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – the regulatory branch of the federal government tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that medical devices are safe and effective. (Of course, we wouldn’t even consider using this treatment if it wasn’t safe for you!)
For more information on neuropathy treatment or how laser therapy can help take away your nerve pain—or to request an appointment for neuropathy treatment in the lower limbs—contact us online or call (760) 568-0108 and one of our staff members will be happy to assist you.