Peripheral Neuropathy (PN) is the term used to describe disorders of the peripheral nerves. Even though 10 to 20 million people in the US suffer with PN, information on this common ailment is difficult to find. Approximately 50% of diabetics will develop the condition. As well as many people using statin pills i.e.‘cholesterol drugs’ will be affected by this mysterious and under-recognized malady. What is neuropathy? Neuropathy means “disease or abnormality of the nervous system” which is not a very helpful definition. We need to think of neuropathy as any DAMAGE to the nervous system. Carpal Tunnel syndrome, Herniated Discs and Strokes are all insults to different areas of the nervous system, all with different symptoms. Diabetes is a systemic disease that affects all nerves of the body from the brain, eyes and small nerves of the heart and digestive system, and to the nerves in the hands, feet, and legs.
The peripheral nervous system is made up of the nerves that branch out of the spinal cord to all parts of the body.
Peripheral nerve cells have three main parts: Cell body, axons, and dendrites (nerve/muscle junction). And part of the nerve can be affected, but damage to axons is most common. The axon transmits signals from nerve cell or nerve cell to muscle. Most axons are surrounded by a substance call myelin, which facilitates signal transmission.
There are two types of neuropathy symptoms - negative and positive. Negative signs, which come first, are when damage to the nervous system brings about a LOSS of a particular function. For example, loss of reflexes, loss of strength, and loss of sensation like light touch. These are rarely detectable to the patient because the brain makes up the difference in these losses. Only after some time do the sick and damaged nerves develop the positive signs of neuropathy; tingling , burning, biting, stabbing, shooting pains. These are also a reaction of the brain and the nervous system. Unfortunately, this over- reaction often tears apart the fiber of the patient's life...
The PN patient usually continues to suffer, going from doctor to doctor, to stronger and stronger doses of pills until they are either completely drugged up and ‘out of it’, or lost in their own world of suffering.
There are different types of neuropathy. Some neuropathies come on suddenly, others over many years. Some people are affected only by a weakness in the arms and legs which leads to difficulty standing, walking, or getting out of a chair. The loss of sensation from the feet, ankles and toes contributes to patients not having a ‘good sense’ of where their feet are in space, touching the ground, and this causes them to fall very easily. These under-recognized sensory losses CAN ONLY be detected with proper clinical exam.
Some patients will eventually become unable to walk at all. Others start with a tingling, pin pricking feeling that turns into deep sharp stabbing pains and burning electric shocks. These debilitating problems can also be at their worst at night while trying to get to sleep, because the PAIN never goes away. In fact, once started IT ONLY GETS WORSE!! Some patients will describe the pain as so severe that they cannot tolerate a bedsheet on their legs/feet.
Currently, ordinary medicine has no cure for PN. The extremely powerful drugs dispensed to patients do not treat the nerve damage. They numb the brain to numb the pain. Most patients cannot tolerate a drugged existence but feel they have NO OTHER OPTION against this horrifying pain.
If you would like to have more information about neuropathy treatments or to set up a consultation and see how we can help you (or someone you know), give us a call at 813-253-2333 to schedule an appointment to see how we can help you.
- We will consult with you and listen...really listen... to the details of your case
- We will conduct a thorough physical including a neurological examination
- Plus a thorough analysis of your examination findings so we can start mapping out your recovery
Call today and we can get started with your consultation and examination as soon as there is an opening in the schedule. Tell Jessica that you would like to schedule a Peripheral Neurology evaluation.
Hope is on the way!
Dr. Frank Lanzisera, D.C.
Lanzisera Center LLC
17 Davis Blvd. Suite 401
Tampa, Florida, 33606