Who’s at Risk for Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy (PN) occurs when any of the nerves in your peripheral nervous system become damaged, irritated, or inflamed. These nerves start in your spine and travel throughout your body. Under normal circumstances, they are a valuable asset that allows you to touch, grab, write, walk, and talk. But several conditions can cause trouble with your peripheral nerves and lead to pain, numbness, and loss of fine and gross motor skills.

Our team at Elite Physical Medicine in Mason, Ohio, and Lawrenceburg, Indiana, diagnoses all types of PN and treats them with an integrative and customized lineup of therapies. We see cases of PN that stem from a variety of conditions, and we encourage our patients to know the risk factors for PN so they can prevent it if possible. Here are the most common risk factors.

Diabetes

About 30 million Americans suffer from peripheral neuropathy, and 60% of them can blame diabetes. Uncontrolled blood glucose that characterizes diabetes damages nerves, especially in the feet. Loss of feeling leads to unnoticed cuts and other injuries, infections, and sores. Almost 54,000 amputations are performed every year due to diabetic PN.

Chemotherapy

While chemotherapy remains one of the most effective cancer treatments, it takes a toll on your nerves. Chemotherapy is designed to destroy cells, and because nerve cells are highly susceptible to damage, they often fall victim to the treatment.

HIV/AIDS

Nearly one-third of all HIV/AIDS sufferers experience PN. Unfortunately, the risk here is three-fold: the virus itself can cause PN, as can the medications and complications from resulting infections. 

Repetitive stress injuries (RSI)

If you repeat the same movement over and over again in your job or hobby, you’re at high risk for PN. Carpal tunnel syndrome accused by keyboard use may be the most familiar type of RSI, but it can easily occur if you’re a musician, mechanic, tennis player, or construction worker. Anything that puts constant pressure on a nerve can lead to PN.

Autoimmune disorders

Any immune disorders that attack your nerves put you at risk for PN, including:

Although this is not a comprehensive list, these conditions have been known to affect the nerves and lead to PN.

Nutritional deficiencies

A poor diet can affect your nerves, especially if you lack vitamin B1 and vitamin B12. If you have pernicious anemia, you may be unable to absorb these vitamins even if you do get enough in your diet. 

Excess alcohol

In excess and over time, alcohol can lead to peripheral neuropathy. Often, alcoholics don’t eat enough and end up malnourished. But even if you eat well, alcohol can affect your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients, which in turn damages your nerves.

Treating peripheral neuropathy

Depending on what’s causing your peripheral neuropathy, how long you’ve suffered, and how severe it is, our team develops a comprehensive treatment plan to resolve the underlying issues and relieve your symptoms. Often, we can help improve your PN through physical therapy, massage, and chiropractic care. When you need relief from acute or chronic pain, we offer joint injections and nerve blocks. 

But we don’t stop at pain relief — our goal is to heal your damaged nerves whenever possible. Fortunately, through regenerative medicine, such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP), you may be able to regenerate damaged nerve tissue and restore function. 

If you’re at risk for PN, come see us find out how you can prevent nerve damage despite your condition. And if you already have PN, we encourage you to make an appointment to explore the many treatment options that can stop your misery. Contact us at either of our two locations or book a consultation online today. 

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