Neuropathy is a condition that affects the lives of millions of people. Typical symptoms are tingling sensations in the hands and feet, and lack of feeling in the extremities. Fortunately, there are professionals who specialize in treating neuropathy, and know exactly what to do to give patients hope about their condition.
What is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can result from a wide range of conditions, such as diabetes and even treatments like chemotherapy.
Often referred to as peripheral neuropathy, neuropathy is not a single health condition but refers to nerve damage in general, and the adverse effects associated with damaged nerves.
While the group of conditions is irreversible, you can take steps to help prevent neuropathy or manage it through diet, lifestyle, and treatment.
What is the best doctor to see for neuropathy?
Primary Care Doctor — A primary care doctor is the general health doctor and your first point of contact with all of your healthcare needs. These physicians are generally longterm and treat patients for decades, building a familiar relationship with them. Once a diagnosis is made, they can guide you in the right direction and refer you to other specialists. Think of them as the first step towards receiving prescriptions or setting up appointments with specialists.
Endocrinologist — One of the specialists to which your primary care doctor might refer you is an endocrinologist. This kind of doctor specializes in glands and hormones. An endocrinologist will help you manage diabetes if you have recently acquired it, are having trouble managing it, or if you are taking insulin.
Neurologist — Another specialized doctor to whom you may be referred is a neurologist. They study the nervous system and nerve damage. Neurologists will be your experts if you are experiencing peripheral neuropathy or have nerve damage in your feet and toes.
Podiatrist — A podiatrist is a doctor who focuses specifically on the feet and ankles. They will treat you if you have any kind of injuries to your feet, including ulcers or other diabetes-related injuries.
What is the best cure for neuropathy?
Though there are treatments to help ease symptoms, there is no cure for neuropathy. The goal of neuropathy treatment is to restore bodily function, relieve pain, and reduce discomfort.
After you receive your diagnosis, your doctor should provide you with a variety of options to help relieve the pain associated with your neuropathy. Treatment for peripheral neuropathy will depend on the underlying cause, but in most cases, treatment will consist of antidepressants like amitriptyline, anticonvulsants, pain medications like oxycodone, anti-seizure medications, physical therapy, surgery, pain-relieving creams, or corticosteroid injections for increased nerve pressure.
Medications such as gabapentin, pregabalin, tricyclic antidepressants, or duloxetine are helpful for neuropathy. Topicals such as lidocaine, menthol, methyl salicylate, and capsaicin are also helpful. Some doctors recommend excluding any non-diabetic etiologies, then stabilizing glycemic control and adding medications to treat neuropathy symptomatically.
What are the symptoms of Neuropathy?
Common signs and symptoms of neuropathy include:
- Numbness or tingling sensation, especially in the hands and feet. Sensations can spread to the arms and legs.
- Sharp, burning, throbbing, stabbing or electric-like pain.
- Changes in sensation. Severe pain, especially at night. Inability to feel pain, pressure, temperature or touch. Extreme sensitivity to touch.
- Falling, loss of coordination.
- Not being able to feel things in your feet and hands – feeling like you’re wearing socks or gloves when you’re not.
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty walking or moving your arms or legs.
- Muscle twitching, crampsand/or
- Inability to move a part of the body (paralysis).
- Loss of muscle control or dropping things out of your hand.
- Low blood pressure or abnormal heart rate, which causes dizziness when standing up, fainting or lightheadedness.
- Sweating too much or not enough in relation to the temperature or degree of exertion.
- Problems with bladder (urination), digestion (including bloating, nausea/vomiting) and bowels (including diarrhea, constipation).
- Sexual function problems.
- Weight loss (unintentional).
If you or someone you know is suffering from neuropathy, come to Hoboken Integrated Healthcare, where our team of professional staff can help you find relief! Contact our office today to get in touch with a specialist. To book an appointment, call us or visit us online!