Neuropathy, or nerve damage, is a disruptive and potentially debilitating condition that affects more than 20 million people in the US. Holistic rehabilitation specialist Josephine Huang, MD, of Lower Manhattan Pain and Wellness Center provides complete care for patients with neuropathy, including proactive strategies to prevent, reduce, or delay nerve-related complications. Call her Chinatown, New York City office today, or click online to schedule a visit any time.
Neuropathy, also known as peripheral neuropathy, is the term used to describe damage that affects your peripheral nervous system, a vast messaging network that sends information from your central nervous system (brain and spine) to all areas of your body. It also carries sensory information from your body to your central nervous system.
Your peripheral nervous system plays a vital role in virtually all body processes, ranging from voluntary actions like muscle movement to autonomic functions like digestion, heart rate, and blood pressure.
When peripheral nerves are damaged, their ability to transmit signals is impaired. They may signal improperly, much like static on a telephone line, or they may send distorted signals, much like a wavy television picture. Or, like a broken wire, they may stop signaling altogether.
Persistent tingling sensations, muscle weakness, worsening numbness, and chronic pain are hallmark signs of neuropathy. Most people feel the effects of neuropathy in their feet and legs first, followed by their hands and arms. Other common symptoms include:
Neuropathy also makes some people feel as though they’re wearing socks or gloves when they aren’t. As nerve damage progresses, it may cause reduced balance and coordination as well as serious foot problems, including ulcers and infections.
As one of the most common complications of poorly controlled blood sugar, neuropathy affects up to 70% of people with diabetes. Chronic blood sugar fluctuations can damage the protective coating that covers your nerves as well as the small blood vessels that supply your nerves with oxygen and nutrients.
Depending on the nature and severity of your neuropathy symptoms, your treatment plan may consist of a variety of targeted solutions, including acupuncture. For many neuropathy patients, acupuncture is an ideal way to stimulate the nervous system, reduce pain, promote blood flow to damaged nerves, and encourage healing.
Managing underlying health issues like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and kidney disease can help you keep your symptoms under control and prevent further nerve damage, while physical therapy can help you address muscle weakness, impaired coordination, and poor balance.
Lifestyle changes are equally important — many patients find that eating a nutritious diet, exercising most days of the week, and losing excess body weight are often all it takes to keep neuropathy symptoms in check.
To learn more, call Lower Manhattan Pain and Wellness Center today, or click online to book an appointment with Dr. Huang any time.