5 things every neuropathy sufferer should know
SPONSORED — Life gets on everyone’s nerves now and then, but if your nerves are making life unbearable, it’s probably time to get help.
It’s more than just pain
If you’ve been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, you’re not alone.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, an estimated 20 million Americans suffer from the disease. Whether you’ve been diagnosed with neuropathy or simply feel something’s not quite right, there are a few things you should know about this all-too-common condition.
While pain is likely the most common symptom of peripheral neuropathy, the condition is definitely more than just discomfort. Peripheral neuropathy is the result of damage to your peripheral nerves, which causes weakness, numbness and pain throughout the body.
While neuropathy is caused by various behaviors and conditions, its ability to damage the body’s nervous system causes a number of common complications, including damage to organs responsible for the body’s autonomic functions, like the digestive system, eyes, bladder, heart and blood vessels, sweat glands and even sex organs. When you suffer from neuropathy, the disease can have damaging effects on any organ or system within the body — not just your nerves.
Indicators often strike early
Unfortunately, peripheral neuropathy is a disease that commonly goes undetected until pain is extensive and debilitating. According to Sound Pain Solutions, which specializes in neuropathy therapy:
Some of the common indicators of the condition include burning pain, cramping, sensitive skin, leg or foot pain, prickly or tingling feelings, electric shock-like pain, muscle weakness, impaired balance, disrupted sleep due to pain or muscle cramping and numbness and pain in the hands or feet.
Most sufferers of neuropathy first notice pain and tingling in the hands and feet, as the peripheral nerves are generally the first affected by the disease.
There are multiple causes
Just as individual cases of neuropathy vary significantly, so to do the causes of the disease. According to Mayo Clinic, peripheral neuropathy refers to general nerve damage, not a single disease. Because of this, there are countless causes of the condition, ranging from alcoholism to infections, tumors, vitamin deficiencies and even genetics.
If you have diabetes, you’re particularly at risk for neuropathy. According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly half of diabetics develop some level of nerve damage. Even prescription medications used to treat other conditions can cause neuropathy. According to Sound Pain Solutions, most cases of neuropathy are diagnosed as idiopathic, meaning the cause is unknown.
Medications are only masking the symptoms
Whatever the cause (known or unknown), one of the most common ways to treat neuropathy is through prescription drugs. Unfortunately, these medications simply address the common symptom of neuropathy — pain — without addressing the underlying issue that’s actually causing the nerve damage.
Additionally, these medications don’t help neuropathy sufferers actually regenerate nerve cells, tissues or physiological function, meaning the condition could be worsening even if you’ve got the pain under control.
There is hope
Whether you’ve been taking pain-management medications for your neuropathy, or simply suspect you may be suffering from nerve damage, you should know that there is hope beyond pharmaceuticals.
Sound Pain Solutions provides therapies to help patients not simply relieve pain but actually regain lost nerve function. This, in turn, helps restore normal sensation, improve balance and prevent some of the long-term damage of peripheral neuropathy. If you want to lead a comfortable, happy and active life, it’s time to look beyond the prescription bottle.