Managing Your Neuropathy Symptoms

 Managing Your Neuropathy Symptoms

More than 20 million Americans suffer from peripheral neuropathy. This painful condition affects the network of nerves that connects your central nervous system (your spinal cord and brain) and the rest of your body. Peripheral neuropathy happens when one or more of the peripheral nerves are damaged. 

While peripheral neuropathy can cause an array of uncomfortable symptoms, there is some good news: It can be treated — and for many people, once the source is identified and managed, neuropathy symptoms may reverse.

As a skilled provider of neuropathy treatments for patients in Carmel, Kokomo, and Indianapolis, Indiana, Jonathan Gentile, MD, uses cutting-edge technology and innovative therapies to identify the cause of neuropathy and relieve its symptoms. If you have peripheral neuropathy, here’s what he wants you to know.

Why peripheral neuropathy happens

Peripheral neuropathy can happen any time a peripheral nerve is injured or compressed. Possible causes include:

To some degree, neuropathy symptoms can vary depending on the underlying cause.

Many people who have neuropathy have symptoms that affect their hands or feet. Common symptoms include numbness, tingling, pins-and-needles, shooting pain, and dull aches. In more advanced stages, neuropathy can cause muscle weakness and problems with coordination.

Peripheral neuropathy can also affect the nerves that control your bowel or bladder. This type of neuropathy can cause fecal incontinence or bladder leakage. 

Managing peripheral neuropathy

In some instances, addressing the underlying problem causing neuropathy can help relieve your symptoms and even reverse the condition. For instance, if neuropathy is due to a medication, a vitamin deficiency, or a disease like diabetes, your symptoms may improve by correcting those problems — for instance, by changing medication, taking supplements, or managing glucose, in these examples.

But what if your neuropathy can’t be “cured”? Then there’s still good news: There are plenty of ways to effectively manage your symptoms and prevent the nerve damage from progressing.

In addition to addressing any underlying problems contributing to your symptoms, Dr. Gentile often prescribes medicine to help relieve pain and associated inflammation. Oral medication can be helpful, but many patients respond well to injected medicines. In addition to relieving pain, some injections can interrupt pain signals or prevent them from “triggering” the pain response.

Spinal cord stimulation benefits patients with chronic nerve pain, including radiating pain in the legs and low back. Other patients may be candidates for an implantable spinal cord stimulator device. This device is implanted under your skin in a simple outpatient procedure. When the device is activated, it emits a tiny impulse that interrupts pain signals and prevents pain from “happening.”

Get help for your neuropathy symptoms

Peripheral neuropathy symptoms can be painful, but the good news is, they can also be managed — and sometimes eliminated. The key is seeking treatment at the first sign of numbness, tingling, weakness, or pain. 

Book an appointment online or over the phone to schedule your neuropathy evaluation with Dr. Gentile today.

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