What is neuropathy?
Neuropathy is an umbrella term for any condition or injury that results in damage to the peripheral nerves in your body. Peripheral nerves are the nerves that branch out of the spinal cord and travel to the rest of your body. In other words, they make up the nerves that don’t make up the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). The job of these nerves is to perceive the world around us and to relay this information to and from the brain so that we’re able to adapt, regulate ourselves, and survive.
Peripheral nerves fall into one of three categories:
- Motor nerves, which control your body’s movements by contracting or relaxing muscles.
- Sensory nerves, which provide information on sensation such as pain, vibration, and pressure.
- Autonomic nerves, which innervate and regulate the organs and systems in your body, such as the heart, lungs, GI tract and bladder.
Because of these 3 categories of peripheral nerves, people with nerve damage can gradually develop peripheral neuropathy symptoms, such as:
- Numbness or tingling in the feet or hands.
- Neuropathic pain, such as sharp, burning, or severe pain in the feet or hands.
- Muscle weakness in the feet or hands.
- The feeling of wearing gloves and socks when you’re not.
- Loss of urinary or bowel control.
- Digestive or heart issues.
- Loss coordination when walking.
How we treat peripheral neuropathy in our office
Often people come to our office with symptoms that then prompt us to check for neuropathy. To have peripheral neuropathy diagnosed, we do a series of tests which include a thermal scan and a neurologic evaluation (i.e. checking muscle tone/strength, sensation in the extremities, and deep tendon reflexes). Upon diagnosis, we have three options -or a combination of options- for treatment.
- Red light therapy
Because peripheral nerves branch out from the spinal cord and exit through the vertebral bones in our spinal column, misalignments in these bones can put pressure on the peripheral nervous system and exacerbate symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. Chronic pressure on these nerves can diminish or exaggerate the innervation going into the muscles in your lower and upper extremities, as well as innervation going into your heart, lungs, bladder and other organs.
While we don’t claim to cure peripheral neuropathy, by correcting the structure in your spine chiropractic can restore proper communication going into your body and support damaged peripheral nerves. If conditions or injuries are damaging peripheral nerves and in addition to this pressure is being placed upon these nerves, in a way, by removing that pressure through chiropractic adjustments we can help so that your peripheral nervous system isn’t having to work with both hands tied behind it’s back.
Softwave TRT is revolutionary equipment that we have in our office that can be used in just about anyone. It functions similar to transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS unit) and therapeutic ultrasound in that it increases blood flow and recycles damaged tissue, but it also has a regenerative function that greatly sets it apart. It’s a safe, non-invasive way of stimulating tissue healing and regeneration through stem cell migration. We use it on knees, feet, shoulders, jaws, low backs, and even c-section scars! Up until recently, it was only accessible to professional athletes and used in prestigious hospitals like the Mayo Clinic. However, it’s slowly becoming more accessible to practitioners with 600 machines in the US and only 2 in Central Florida.
The softwave machine itself looks like therapeutic ultrasound, where you can expect application of gel to your feet (in the case of neuropathy) and for a probe head to send acoustic shockwaves into the area. When used over damaged tissue you may feel a sting similar to a rubber band snapping over your skin, but you can control the intensity so that it’s not too uncomfortable. By stimulating tissue regeneration, softwave can help heal the peripheral nerves affected by your neuropathy. If you’re interested in learning more about softwave check out their website in the references below!