Podiatrist vs Chiropractor: Who Should Treat My Neuropathy?

Dr. Robert Parker
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Dr. Parker is a podiatrist and surgeon in Houston, TX who has been helping patients for more than 40 years.

You might not think about it all too often, but your feet are complicated anatomical structures. They contain numerous bones, muscles, and connective tissues—all of which work in conjunction to support your entire body and enable movement.

On top of being intricately-structured, feet also endure tremendous amounts of physical force.

Not too many people are aware of this, but when you walk at a normal pace, you place up to two times your bodyweight in force on the landing foot with every step you take.

The reason for mentioning these facts—lots of moving parts that endure substantial force loads on a daily basis—is to say this:

There are lots of issues that can arise in feet and ankles!

And out of the myriad of injuries and conditions, one of the most concerning is neuropathy. That in itself is a real problem and that also begs the question: how can I treat my neuropathy effectively and who can do so?

Nerve pain

What exactly is neuropathy?

Essentially, neuropathy is another name for nerve damage. More specifically, though, it describes a disease or dysfunction of peripheral nerves.

(Don’t worry, we’ll discuss what the “peripheral” designation means regarding nerves in just a moment!)

Neuropathy is a serious problem—one that can cause pain, weakness, and ultimately numbness.

When everything is running as intended, you probably don’t give much thought to your nerves and everything they allow you to do and sense.

Honestly, that’s probably for the best. Our bodies are constantly collecting, processing, and responding to so much information that it’s impossible to be cognizant of it all. And even if we could, it would take our focus away from doing the things we need to do to survive (to say nothing of what we do to enjoy life!).

All of that nerve functioning happens in the nervous system, which is divided into two subsystems—the central nervous and peripheral nervous systems.

Your central nervous system consists of your brain and spinal column—keep that fact in mind!—and is basically responsible for deciding what needs to be done.

Your peripheral nervous system is a vast network of nerves that extend from the spinal column and run throughout your entire body. These peripheral nerves collect information and perform actions as dictated by your brain.

The two subsections obviously work closely together. In order to do so, they need to be able to communicate back and forth. When neuropathy is in the picture, that communication is impaired.

Sometimes, the lines of communication are only partially broken. In this case, you might experience painful sensations—including burning, tingling, and/or electrical pain—and perhaps have limited muscular control.

That is certainly a bad situation. Even worse is when peripheral nerves are damaged to the point that they don’t send any signals at all.

We understand if that seems counterintuitive. After all, not feeling pain probably doesn’t sound like the worst thing in the world. But here’s the deal:

When you cannot feel pain, you and your body are unaware of existing problems—and those problems will go unaddressed and can easily worsen over time.

Neropathy

Who should treat my neuropathy?

There are a number of different specialists that could help you aid in the treatment of your neuropathy. Neurologists, for one, are a great resource. A number of chiropractors can also offer some great treatments as well.

However, there are a couple of reasons that make podiatrists especially suited for the treatment of neuropathy.

Any peripheral neuropathy in your feet will be more than just a neurological issue. Peripheral arterial disease and diabetes come to mind as two conditions that affect your whole body. These two conditions affect blood flow to the feet, which reduces the supply of nutrients available. Why is this important?

It’s worth pointing out that neuropathy, while neurological, is usually a combination of neurological and podiatric issues. Given the nature of this consideration, you really need a physician who is an expert in both how the nervous symptoms operate and what that means for the highly specialized tools that are your feet. This really means that you need a podiatrist, as they have both a neurological and podiatric background.

Of course, not just any podiatrist office is going to be able to effectively treat your neuropathy, but here’s the thing:

We aren’t “just any” podiatrist office!

At Parker Foot & Ankle, one of our specialties is treating nerve damage in the lower extremities. Dr. Parker is a Dellon Institute trained podiatrist, which means he can offer a level of neurological care that most podiatrists can’t. This is a great 1-2 punch for patients suffering from diabetic neuropathy in their toes. Most chiropractors and general care practitioners will not have this level of knowledge in how the nerves in your extremities impact your overall health.

Yet another reason for choosing Parker Foot & Ankle over a chiropractic office is this:

Neuropathy symptoms are very similar to ones you might experience when you have a compressed nerve. With that being the case, a proper diagnosis is essential.

The reason we mention this isn’t to say that you couldn’t receive an accurate diagnosis from a chiropractor, but rather that if the results show your problem is actually nerve compression, we can provide surgical options to improve the condition.

In the case of nerve compression, the problem isn’t that nerves have become damaged on account of an issue like excessive sugar consumption. Instead, some form of anatomical tissue is now pressing against the affected nerve and cutting off its ability to communicate as it normally would.

The way to solve this problem is to use surgical intervention and correct the respective anatomical components to a normal positioning—one wherein the nerve is not being pinched.

Whereas not all podiatrists are board-certified in foot and ankle surgery, you will be hard-pressed to find a chiropractor who is also licensed to perform surgery.

Now, the intent here isn’t to be dismissive of chiropractors; we’re simply stating that this is something they don’t do.

(In the same spirit, you wouldn’t come to our office if you are having issues with your heart or lungs.)

Come See Dr. Parker.

Our office here in Houston can offer so many unique and innovative treatments to help you manage your neuropathy, treatments that few in the city can offer. This could include:

  • An Amniomatrix product to help deliver nutrient-rich factors to help reduce your pain.
  • Our Extracorporeal pulse activation treatment (EPAT) to deliver specially-tuned pulses of energy to jumpstart your body’s recovery process.
  • Radio frequency nerve ablation to help mitigate the transmission of pain signals from the brain.

These are highly-specialized regenerative treatments that we’re proud to offer Houston! Call us today at (281) 497-2850 or fill out a contact form submission to treat your neuropathy ASAP! 

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