Female patient visiting her physiatrist.

Solving the Mysteries of Neuropathy

Being diagnosed with neuropathy (literally “nerve disease”) can be distressing, but experiencing your first symptom of the disorder can be downright frightening. Take the story of a patient who became terrified while swimming in the shallow end of a pool. She had suddenly lost feeling in her feet and therefore felt stranded in a bottomless sea. Though she was helped out of her predicament by a kind stranger, she still had to seek treatment once she received a diagnosis for her weird experience.

Current research projects are focused on investigating all of the known causes of neuropathy and searching for unknown causes, such as genetic factors, biological mechanisms, and immune system involvement. In the meantime, you can find effective treatment close to home.

Why Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine Is the Right Place to Call

If you are having odd symptoms related to sensation or movement, you too may be experiencing symptoms of neuropathy, medically known as “peripheral neuropathy” because it affects nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord. In any case, you should be checked out by a well-informed doctor as soon as possible. 

Contacting Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine is a good move whether you are seeking a diagnosis or seeking effective treatment for neuropathy that has already been diagnosed since our doctors specialize in pain management and restoration of function.

What makes peripheral neuropathy so mysterious?

Peripheral neuropathy has an amorphous quality because both its causes and symptoms cover a tremendous range and because in approximately 50 percent of cases this disorder is of unknown origins (idiopathic).

Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy

Although commonly associated with diabetes because half of all diabetic patients are plagued by the condition, neuropathy has myriad other causes, including:

  • Other autoimmune diseases (e.g. lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome)
  • Alcoholism and the dietary deficiencies that often accompany it (e.g. lack of B vitamins)
  • Exposure to certain chemotherapy medications or toxins like lead or mercury
  • Some infections (e.g. Lyme disease, shingles, Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis, and HIV)
  • Diseases of the kidneys, liver, thyroid, or connective tissue
  • Traumatic accidents that put extreme pressure on or sever peripheral nerves 
  • Cancers of the head, brain, or bone, or benign tumors that exert pressure on the brain or spinal cord

No matter what the cause of your peripheral neuropathy may be, our accomplished physiatrists can accurately diagnose it and offer you a variety of helpful treatments.

The Peculiar and Varied Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy

Because neuropathy can affect sensory, motor, or autonomic nerves, the condition can generate many widely varying symptoms, ranging from stabbing pain to complete numbness or paralysis. Other odd and disturbing symptoms include:

  • Tingling in the extremities, sometimes radiating into the limbs
  • Poor coordination that may result in falls
  • Phantom sensations (e.g. feeling that one is wearing socks when feet are uncovered)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Intolerance to even mild heat
  • Bowel, bladder or digestive problems
  • Blood pressure abnormalities that may result in dizziness or lightheadedness

It should be noted that numbness itself is dangerous, increasing the risk of unrecognized burns, cuts, or infections. Absence of feeling can also lead to poor coordination and falls. 

Diagnosing Peripheral Neuropathy

Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine is well known for its accurate diagnosis. If you come to us suspecting neuropathy, we will not only take a comprehensive medical history but will administer blood tests to uncover possible disease conditions and nutritional deficiencies. In addition, we will, as necessary, use imaging tests to look for structural abnormalities, injuries, or tumors, and electromyography (EMG) to evaluate nerve conduction.

We Offer an Assortment of Effective Treatment Options 

We not only provide a number of therapeutic treatments, but we consider your particular needs and preferences in deciding which combination will work best for you. Among our therapies for peripheral neuropathy are:

  • Medications ranging from painkillers, anti-seizure drugs, and topical creams and pain patches to antidepressants proven to lessen pain
  • Acupuncture
  • Individualized physical therapy

Contact Our Experienced Specialists in Peripheral Neuropathy Today

Our highly skilled physiatrists keep up-to-date with innovative treatments for neuropathy so we are well-prepared to take the mystery out of your condition. We know how difficult this condition is to live with and will do everything in our power to make your life less puzzling and more comfortable. Get in touch with our team today.