Your nerves are a crucial relay network for your body. They carry sensations back to the brain, and they carry the brain’s commands back to organs and muscles. Everything you do and everything you feel depends on the healthy functioning of these critical structures.
Unfortunately, they are also very delicate. Everything from diseases and injuries to poor diet can compress, poison, and slowly kill your nerves—particularly the peripheral nerves in your feet. And without treatment and a corresponding change in your lifestyle—at the earliest point possible—that damage may become permanent.
How Neuropathy Makes You Feel
Symptoms can vary significantly depending on the location, severity, and type of the affected nerves.
Painful sensations are common—everything from aching and throbbing, to sharp stabbing sensations, to burning or freezing. In the advanced stages of neuropathy, you may lose sensation altogether and become totally numb.
This does not mean your condition is getting better. Quite the opposite in fact. Your pain may be gone, but without sensation in your feet you are much more likely to develop serious wounds and injuries that could result in severe consequences—including gangrene, significant deformities (Charcot foot) amputation, or even death.
Damage to other types of nerves may result in symptoms such as muscle weakness, loss of coordination, and even loss of control over autonomic functions such as bladder control or digestion as well as your heart, which is why so many or heart attacks are attributed to the diabetic patients.
Why You Might Have Neuropathy
Damaged nerves can develop because of things that you do, but also due to things you may have no control over whatsoever.
Diabetes (both type 1 and type 2) is the most commonly cited cause and is present in a majority of people with peripheral neuropathy, but it is far from the only one.
Here are some other examples:
- A diet full of sugar and simple carbohydrates squeezes and compresses nerves, eventually to the point where they can be permanently damaged. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually have to have diabetes or prediabetes to be at risk. The same dietary choices that can lead to type 2 diabetes can lead to neuropathy independently.
- You drink heavily. Too much alcohol consumption depletes your body of the necessary vitamins and nutrients it needs to maintain nerve health.
- An accidental injury either severs a nerve, or knocks bones and tissue out of alignment in such a way that they press on the nerve and cause it to malfunction.
- You are exposed to toxins at work that damage your nerves.
- Certain medications can damage nerves as a side effect. Many cancer drugs can do this.
- You inherited or developed a nerve disorder, or other conditions (such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis).
If You Think You Have Peripheral Neuropathy, Don’t Delay Getting Help
Early identification gives us (and you) a huge advantage in treating neuropathy. If you’re currently only experiencing some intermittent pain and numbness, the damage can likely be completely reversed through both lifestyle changes and professional treatment.
If, however, you wait until pain is more constant, invasive, and forcing you to take medications, you’re really at a tipping point. Changing course and getting treatment could help you recover most of your nerve function—or at the very least, stop you from going over the ledge. But without help, your condition could rapidly deteriorate to a matter of life or death.
How the Neuropathy Care Center of Houston Can Help
Dr. Parker has dedicated his career to helping patients prevent, treat, and reverse peripheral neuropathy to the greatest extent possible. With decades of experience and the most cutting-edge research, training and technology at our disposal, Dr. Parker is one of the most qualified and committed podiatrists that can help get you get better.
Our breakthrough neuropathy solutions program is the most advanced, comprehensive and effective weapon available today in the fight against neuropathy. Our combination medical treatment including electronic stimulation, chemical nerve blocks, and laser treatment is designed to not only reduce your pain, but restore healthy nerve function.
Should surgery be necessary, Dr. Parker is one of just a few hundred physicians worldwide fully trained in surgical nerve decompression techniques pioneered by the acclaimed Dr. Lee A. Dellon. He is also a member, past president, and teaching faculty of the Association of Extremity Nerve Surgeons, a society promoted to advancing medical research and treatment of extremity nerve disease, and training the next generation of surgeons.
Take Back Control of Your Life
Over the long term, however, the success of any neuropathy treatment depends a great deal on you, too. Lifestyle improvements such as…
- Changing your diet and keeping your glucose under control
- Getting regular exercise
- Always wearing proper shoes for your activities
- Examining your feet for injuries every day
- Getting regular checkups with your podiatrist if you have diabetes
… can make a huge difference in your long-term prognosis and quality of life, especially if you begin making these changes as soon as possible.
We can provide you with all the information you need to take control of your future health—including a free copy of Sugar Crush, a revolutionary book written by one of Dr. Parker’s colleagues and closest friends, Dr. Richard Jacoby.
If you start to feel characteristic tingles, pins, needles, or pain you suspect may be the early signs of peripheral neuropathy, please see us right away. Let us help you head off more serious complications so you can continue to enjoy your active lifestyle.