Neuropathy is sometimes referred to as peripheral neuropathy, it is nerve damage that happens to nerves outside of the brain and the spinal cord. People who suffer from peripheral neuropathy can have pain or they can have no pain and suffer from other symptoms that are more difficult to trace back to neuropathy.
Our pain management specialists at Downtown Pain Physicians can help you overcome your neuropathy and live a full pain-free and functioning life again. Using state-of-the-art equipment, we will pinpoint your diagnosis and then begin a conservative approach to treatment, working through different approaches until we discover the treatment plan that works best for you. Each patient is unique and deserves to be treated with personalized care. That’s important to us. Visit our pain management clinics in Downtown Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan to get your neuropathy under control.
What is Neuropathy
Neuropathy is an overarching term that can be used to refer to a number of health problems. The term peripheral neuropathy refers to nerve damage that doesn’t include the nerves in your brain and spinal cord. These nerves are a key part of your body’s communication system and send messages to and from the brain and spinal cord, or your central nervous system.
When there is an illness, trauma, infection, or other issue that causes neuropathy, it’s often very treatable and the symptoms can be controlled or remedied. It’s important to seek medical help if you feel this might be what you’re experiencing. Getting ahead of the problem and providing early care is the key to treating neuropathy.
When you’re seen by one of our pain specialists at Downtown Pain Physicians, you’ll be treated as the individual, and your treatments will be customized for your needs.
Our pain facilities are in Brooklyn and Manhattan and conveniently located for residents in Downtown Brooklyn, Lower, Midtown and upper East Side of Manhattan, the East Village, Greenwich Village, or Murphy Hill.
Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy
Since peripheral neuropathy is a blanket term that refers to any symptoms in the outer nerves, the way this damage is expressed can be very different. The following are some of the more common complaints that patients have, but it’s not an inclusive peripheral neuropathy symptoms list:
- Chromic numbness or a pins and needles feeling in the hands and feet
- Sharp pains that feel like stabbing
- Throbbing and burning sensations
- Extreme sensitivity to touch
- Pain when doing daily activities that shouldn’t cause pain
- Lack of coordination, falling or walking into things
- Muscle weakness
- Feeling like your nerves are “dampened,” like you’re wearing gloves or socks when you’re not
- Heat intolerance
- Inability to sweat or excessive sweating
- Digestive problems or pains
- Bowel or bladder control issues
- Inability to function sexually
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
Your peripheral nerves fall into one of three categories: sensory nerves, motor nerves, and autonomic nerves. Your sensory nerves are responsible for feeling sensations like temperature, touch, and pain. Your motor nerves control your movements. Your autonomic nerves control automatic systems in the body like your heart rate, digestion, sweating, and blood pressure. When you have peripheral nerve damage, you often can tell what category of nerve is affected by the symptoms.
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What Causes Neuropathy
Just as the symptoms of neuropathy are varied, so are the causes. Peripheral neuropathy can be caused suddenly by a trauma, or it can come on over time like it does with carpal tunnel syndrome. In a significant percentage of cases, the cause can’t even be determined. The following are some of the potential risk factors and causes of peripheral neuropathy:
- Uncontrolled or poorly controlled diabetes
- Tumors, cancer and/or chemotherapy
- Autoimmune disorders
- Bone marrow disorders
- Kidney disease
- Infectious disease
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Excess nutrient consumption
- Exposure to toxins
- Accident or trauma
- Repetitive motions
Types of Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy can be classified in many different ways; by the cause, the type of pain, what branch of the nervous system it is affecting. It can also be categorized by the following types:
- Mononeuropathy. This is when only one nerve is affected and a very common example of this is carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Multiple mononeuropathy. This is when two or more nerves are affected but they occur in different areas. Think of it as having two (or more) cases of mononeuropathy. This is fairly uncommon, but a car accident could cause a neuropathy in your shoulder and one in your leg to occur at the same time.
- Polyneuropathy. This is the most common type of peripheral neuropathy, and it affects many nerves at once. Having chemotherapy can cause a person to feel aches and pains related to neuropathy throughout their body.
- Distal symmetric polyneuropathy. This is another common type of neuropathy for diabetics. It begins with the nerves that are furthest out from the central nervous system, which generally means the feet. Neuropathy symptoms then travel upward and inward, affecting more regions as time goes on.
Tests for Neuropathy
While your symptoms are a big clue to what’s going on and your type of neuropathy, your doctor may order some other tests to dig deeper into the cause of your neuropathy so appropriate treatments can be prescribed.
- Blood tests
- Imaging tests like a CT or MRI scan
- Nerve function tests including electromyography
- Autonomic reflex screen tests
- Nerve biopsy
- Skin biopsy
- Physical exam
Treatment for Peripheral Neuropathy
Neuropathy that is caught early stands a better chance of recovery, but some nerve damage can be permanent, no matter how early on it’s addressed. In other situations, treating the neuropathy is part of the solution but diving in and treating the cause is even more important, for instance, with diabetics the focus is on controlling blood sugar and then the secondary symptoms will begin to respond.
The following are some possible treatment options for neuropathy symptoms, but it’s crucial that the all-over health of each individual is evaluated so treatment can be started for the underlying cause – if there is one. Your health care professional at Downtown Pain Physicians will find the best course of treatment for you but it could involve some of the following options:
- Pain relievers. Sometimes over-the-counter medications can relieve symptoms and in other cases prescriptions may help manage pain.
- Antidepressants. Several different antidepressants have proven to be very useful in treating different neuropathy symptoms by changing the way nerve signals are processed by the brain. Some can even restore proper chemical balances in nerve cells.
- Topical treatments. Some medications can be applied to the skin to improve pain and other symptoms.
- Diet. Some of the causes of neuropathic pain are related to diet, diabetes is one very common example, but celiac disease is another and even having a sensitivity to dairy can cause some neuropathic symptoms. A change in diet might be all that’s necessary.
- Exercise and/or physical therapy. Prescribed exercise can help improve blood flow and that can reduce symptoms for some individuals. This can also be a big benefit for people who have weakness as part of their neuropathy symptoms.
- Neuromodulation. Stimulating peripheral nerves can “turn off” some pain signals and give people relief from pain.
- Spinal cord stimulation. An implanted device in the spinal cord is used to send low levels of electricity that relieves pain.
- Surgery. If there is impingement or pressure on a nerve, surgery might be the best course of action to free the nerve and allow it to resume normal function.
Rest assured, when you’re seen by one of our pain specialists at Downtown Pain Physicians, you’ll be treated like the individual that you are, and your treatment plan will be customized for optimal success. Please, feel free to ask any questions you have. We’re here to get you on the road to healing in the most effective way possible.
Our Facilities Are State of the Art
Not only do we have the best doctors around, but we also believe we have one of the best facilities. Where you receive your care and the tools the doctor has at their disposal can mean a lot when it comes to a successful treatment plan. We’re quite proud of our well-appointed and modern facility, it makes the experience more comfortable for our patients and supplies our doctors with the equipment they need.
Our quality of care is considered among the finest in the country and with the technology and expertise to back it up, our patients find the relief they are seeking. Connect with one of our offices today to take the first step toward relieving neuropathic symptoms.
What to Expect at Downtown Pain Physicians NYC
At your first visit to either of our offices, you can expect a thorough health examination and history so your doctor can get a good idea of your health concerns. There may be x-rays or an ultrasound evaluation necessary at your appointment to gain deeper understanding of your neuropathy symptoms.
After a diagnosis is discovered, your doctor will have a thorough discussion of treatment options with you to make sure you know what steps are possible and you can make an informed decision. You’ll also receive a detailed recovery plan, so you never have to question what to do next.
We want your visit to our offices to be as pleasant as possible from the moment you walk through our doors. Individual attention is part of the fabric of our practice and it’s a critical component of an effective treatment plan. Whether you’re suffering with peripheral neuropathy or any other type of pain, we’re here to help you find pain relief and get back to living your life.
Do you have any questions about Neuropathy Treatment? Would you like to schedule an appointment with the top-rated pain doctors? Please contact our center for a consultation with our physicians located in Downtown Brooklyn or Lower Manhattan.