According to the American Chiropractic Association’s estimates, more than thirty-five million Americans, adults and children, seek chiropractic treatment each year. The chiropractor’s whole person-centered approach of determining the root of their patients’ issues and working to find a solution incorporating a variety of available techniques makes them a viable and desirable choice when confronted with back pain. Many people do not realize, however, that chiropractors treat much more than just back pain. For instance, did you know that a chiropractor can help reduce or eliminate the pain associated with neuropathy?
Millions of people suffer from the painful and often debilitating effects of neuropathy. In addition to the physical symptoms, living with the pain and inconvenience can also increase levels of stress, anxiety and irritability as well as making it more difficult to complete everyday tasks or function well outside of the home. Especially for people who have already tried medications and other treatments recommended by their healthcare team, or for those who are actively looking for another source of help for their neuropathy, a chiropractor may be just what they need.
Neuropathy is a disease that occurs when nerves throughout the body become damaged. When this happens, it affects communication between the brain and the nervous system. As a result, patients experience symptoms that can seriously impact their quality of life. There are several different types of this condition, and symptoms will vary depending on the type of neuropathy present. People can also suffer from more than one type of neuropathy at once.
Peripheral neuropahty is one example of this condition. Symptoms of this form of the condition experience it in the extremities of the body, such as the toes and feet, fingers and hands, as well as the arms and legs. People suffering from this type of neuropathy will often experience tingling in the affected areas, as well as shooting pain, numbness and even a sensation of burning.
There are twelve cranial nerves exiting the brain area, and when any of these are damaged cranial neuropathy results. Optic cranial neuropathy occurs when eyesight is affected by damage to the optic nerve. Auditory cranial neuropathy happens when hearing loss occurs due to damage to the nerve that carries a signal from the ear to the brain.
Autonomic neuropathy occurs when the involuntary nervous system is affected, potentially resulting in damage to areas of the body including the heart, sexual response, bowel and bladder, and perspiration.
The last type is focal neuropathy. This occurs when only one area of the body seems to be affected by neuropathy. In other words, it has one main focal point.
Millions of people seek relief from neuropathy each year. There usually isn’t an actual cure for the condition itself. Therefore, treatments generally focus on restoring as much original function as possible, slowing the progression of the disease, and reducing symptoms and minimizing pain as much as possible.
The kind of treatment recommended will also depend, in large part, on both the type of neuropathy present, as well as the underlying cause for the disease. For instance, many diabetics exhibit neuropathy. Maintaining better control over their blood sugar, consuming a healthier diet, and incorporating a good exercise and medication regimen can reduce many of their symptoms.
Alcoholic neuropathy, on the other hand, is generally caused by consuming an excess of alcohol over time, along with the associated nutritional and vitamin deficiencies. Correcting those issues may directly improve neuropathy symptoms.
There are a variety of other conditions that can cause neuropathy, including tumors, toxins, medications, as well as many others. When the root cause of the neuropathy is unknown, it is referred to as idiopathic neuropathy.
Chiropractic care centers on the belief that it is important to get to the root cause of an issue rather than addressing only the symptoms. A chiropractor would conduct a thorough evaluation, including a medical and oral history, to determine what is likely causing the pain and discomfort, then work in conjunction with the patient’s healthcare team to provide a course of individualized treatment.
Many people don’t realize that chiropractors can be helpful in their journey to alleviate symptoms of neuropathy. However, it makes sense when you consider all of the peripheral nerves branch off from the brain and spinal cord. Therefore, spinal misalignment or compressed or pinched nerves can wreak havoc on the nervous system.
Neuropathy treatment varies between providers, but chiropractors have many resources at their disposal to help treat neuropathy. Also, it’s important to note that while some people may choose to work solely with a chiropractor, many others include a chiropractor as one valuable piece of their healthcare team, working in partnership with other providers.
During the evaluation process, a chiropractor may recommend additional tests. These can include tests such as x-rays, to get a clearer picture of individual needs. They may conduct range of motion tests as well as pain and symptom assessments. All of these tests assist in giving them an idea of areas in the body to target. They’ll also complete an assessment on overall life habits. This typically includes posture, type of work and hobbies, and other factors that impact spinal health and possible nerve compression.
Once the initial assessments are complete, chiropractors use a number of tools in their arsenal from spinal realignment and adjustment, strengthening exercises, and medical massage. They may also suggest physical therapy. Many chiropractors are able to offer this resource as part of their practice or within their building.
A chiropractor can be an integral part of an individual’s healthcare team. If you have not yet consulted a chiropractor for your neuropathy needs, consider making an appointment. You might learn about some beneficial treatments you hadn’t considered before.
To learn more about seeing a chiropractor to treat your neuropathy, please contact Freedom Health Centers today. Our experienced staff can provide a full evaluation of your condition. We’ll also offer the information you need to make the best treatment decision for you. Our staff is here to address your individual concerns and work with you to create a treatment plan to help. We want to help you live a healthy, pain free, happy life.