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What Is Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is a frustrating, life impairing condition that is frequently overlooked until it’s too late to treat effectively.

This disorder involves nerve damage that affects the extremities of the body, such as the arms and legs, with symptoms that often include pain resembling the experience of pressure from pins and needles. It may result from an underlying cause such as diabetic neuropathy, or the disorder can be idiopathic, with no apparent cause. 

Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy:

  • Burning pain

  • Sensitive Skin

  • Cramping

  • Tingling Or Prickly Feelings

  • Leg Or Foot Pain

  • Electrical Shock-Like Pain

  • Increased Risk Of Falling

  • Muscle Weakness

  • Pain Or Muscle Cramping That Disrupts Sleep

  • Impaired Balance

  • Numbness & Pain In Your Hands Or Feet


Some patients describe what are classified as “negative” symptoms. These include early signs associated with nerve damage, such as decreased sensitivity, numbness, weakness, or feeling like their feet or hands are dead or asleep.

Other patients experience what, strangely enough, are categorized as “positive” symptoms. Positive symptoms are present only after the nerves have been sick and damaged for some time. They include sensations like shooting, stabbing or aching pain, burning, tingling, itching, twitching, electrical sensations, pressure or squeezing, throbbing, freezing, or feeling like their socks are balled up underneath their toes. Some patients suffer from both “negative” and “positive” symptoms simultaneously, which is just as unbearable as it sounds!

Some will experience signs indicating impairment of their autonomic nervous system, such as discoloration and temperature changes in their feet or hands. They may have a red, swollen appearance, and feel hot to touch. Others take on a cyanotic blue or purple hue, and are cold due to lack of circulation.

Each patient will experience a different combination of these symptoms. As the condition progresses, symptoms become more severe and have a growing impact on the patient’s quality of life, and on that of his or her family. Standing and walking can become limited and laborious. Balance can become impaired. If the condition is allowed to progress, reduced sensation can become dangerous because of increased risk for falls and resultant injuries. Independent mobility may be threatened.

Some neuropathy sufferers are forced to rely on walking aids, progressing from a cane to a walker, eventually ending up in a wheelchair. Ultimately, loss of independence and reliance on 24/7 aide care or in a nursing home becomes the reality of many. It’s important to begin treating neuropathy as soon as possible to assure nerve damage does not progress to the point that rehabilitation is no longer possible.

Thankfully, due to advances in neuroscience and technological breakthroughs, many neuropathy sufferers can now slow or stop the progression of their condition, and experience relief of pain and restoration of sensation, balance, strength, and mobility.

Types and Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy
In general, peripheral neuropathies are classified by their location and the type of nerves involved.


Examples include:

  • Mononeuropathy: affecting a single nerve

  • Mononeuritis multiplex: affecting multiple nerves asymmetrically

  • Polyneuropathy: affecting multiple nerves symmetrically

  • Distal Symmetric Polyneuropathy: affecting multiple nerves symmetrically, starting in the feet and hands


Chiropractor in Elkin, North Carolina

The most common cause of distal symmetric polyneuropathy in western countries is Type 2 Diabetes. Many patients come to us suffering from classic Diabetic Nerve Pain. Some neuropathy is considered “idiopathic,” meaning the cause is unknown. This can be extremely frustrating for patients and doctors alike. Other causes of Peripheral Neuropathy include:

  • Systemic disease

  • Vitamin/mineral deficiency or overdose

  • Genetics

  • Viruses & infections

  • Excessive alcohol consumption

  • Toxins

  • Prescription drug side effects

  • Chemotherapy

  • Physical/Mechanical compression, i.e. sciatica due to disc herniation


Standard Treatment for Neuropathy

Most neuropathy sufferers come to us because they haven’t been helped with standard medical treatment. Many have been told “there is nothing that can be done to fix your condition, and you must learn to live with it.” Some have been given prescriptions for medications that lead to worse side effects than the neuropathy.

Medications frequently prescribed for neuropathy include:

  • Anti-Seizure Drugs

    • Neurontin

    • Gabapentin

  • Anticonvulsants

    • Lyrica

    • Pregabalin

  • Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

    • Cymbalta

    • Duloxetine

  • Opioids

    • Tramadol

    • Oxycodone


These medications come with a laundry list of potential side effects, including: physical weakness, clumsiness or unsteadiness, difficulty speaking, blurred vision, dry mouth, constipation, impaired cognitive abilities, and addiction. Potential serious side effects include life-threatening allergic reaction, changes in mood or anxiety, and thoughts of suicide.


This is Critical…

Critical to understanding this condition is realizing that there is No drug that can restore lost sensation or improve impaired balance due to peripheral neuropathy. Taking medication is NOT going to rehabilitate your nerves as numbness and tingling progressively worsens, position-sense and stability deteriorate, with the inevitable consequence of increased risk of a fall. It’s no wonder neuropathy is so frustrating for patients and physicians.

The medication treatment approach is flawed...

And it’s the same reason patients who qualify for our non-surgical, FDA-cleared, drug-free treatments are so thankful they found us – it’s because they’re effective! Why is this?

Give the Nerve what it needs – Fuel, Oxygen, Activation – It can Rebuild

Treatment is specifically designed to reestablish nerve communication and nutrient pathways, bringing the necessary building blocks for repair. Growth of new blood vessels (angiogenesis), improved oxygenation, nutrition, and appropriate activation all contribute to rehabilitation of neuro communication patterns, and to healing your damaged nerves!

Best of all, for patients that qualify, it’s highly effective.

Who is a Candidate for Neuropathy Treatment?
The process we use to determine if a patient is a candidate for our treatment is simple. The first step is to schedule a consultation. We provide consultations free of charge. You will have a conversation with the Doctor (NOT an assistant) to discuss details about the condition you are in. He will screen for signs of medical conditions that would rule out treatment. If medical management is necessary, we want to quickly get you to the correct provider.

Next, if warranted, we’ll move on to a series of tests to determine the extent of your nerve damage. The results of these tests will tell us if you are a candidate for treatment. Even with our comprehensive treatment approach, if the neuropathy has progressed too far, this treatment may no longer be an option. The test results are assessed to determine how much improvement the patient is likely to receive.

Each patient’s condition is unique to them, as is their treatment. The underlying cause, extent of nerve damage, and overall health all contribute to how well and how quickly someone will respond to our treatment. Providing realistic expectations is a top priority.

Next, patients who are candidates for care are presented with a treatment plan that outlines the type of rehabilitation methods that are recommended to treat their neuropathy. They learn about the time requirements in the clinic and at home, as well as the cost involved.

An Explanation of Our Comprehensive Therapies
Neuropathy rehabilitation plans are customized to each patient’s treatment needs. Not all of our therapies are appropriate or necessary for every patient. Treatment may include:

  • Infrared (MIRE) therapy

  • Optimized signal neuro (repair) stimulation

  • Concentrated Oxygen therapy

  • Vibration Therapy

  • Therapeutic Nutrients (specific to healing neuropathy)

  • Lifestyle Recommendations (like sleep, diet, exercise, stress management)

  • Manual Therapy: extremity joint mobilization/adjustment

  • Non-surgical Spinal Adjustment

  • Balance Therapy

Chiropractor in Elkin, North Carolina

MIRE Therapy


“Fuel and activation” is the mantra in functional neurology. Nerves need food, oxygen, and activation to be healthy. Our comprehensive treatments are designed to feed and stimulate the nerves. Studies have shown that infrared light is beneficial for increasing circulation and improving nerve function. Infrared light therapy directly increases circulation to the nerves and other local tissues. This reduces inflammation, and increases delivery of nutrients, glucose, and oxygen. Typically, an infrared “boot” is used for the foot, and pads cover the side of the leg. Hands and arms can be treated in a similar fashion.

Optimized Signal Neurostim

This is NOT a TENS unit, nor the electric muscle stimulation typically used in the professional or home setting. Using a specific, optimized waveform, our neurostim repolarizes and reeducates damaged nerves to follow correct paths. It enables nerve impulses to jump synaptic junctions, reconnecting injured nerves and delivering minerals and nutrients that help to revitalize nerves. These treatments promote new nerve growth and also restores blood circulation. Feeling to the extremities returns and a notable reduction of neuropathic pain occurs (or it completely disappears). Often neurostim reverses neuropathy and chronic pain symptoms and restores nerves to their normal state allowing them to fully function on their own.

Targeted Nutritional Supplementation

Specific supplements have been found beneficial for nerve repair. Most neuropathy sufferers can benefit from some general supplement recommendations: however, targeted supplementation based on the cause of neuropathy and specifics of the individual patient’s tests can be much more beneficial. Supplements we recommend are used to help heal damaged nerves by:

  • Providing antioxidants to protect cells from free radical damage

  • Increase Oxygenation to the healing tissues

  • Promote nerve and blood vessel repair

  • Reduce inflammation

  • Stabilize blood sugar levels

  • Support biotransformation-clearance of waste products

  • Increase cellular energy production

Lifestyle Recommendations

For neuropathy sufferers, lifestyle factors play an important role in recovery. Where diet is concerned, for example, if blood sugar level is too high or too low, nerves malfunction and can die. Regarding smoking, appropriate healing will be extremely difficult for an individual who smokes tobacco products.

Concerning exercise, you have probably heard the saying “if you don’t use it you lose it.” Nerves are no exception to this rule. The single greatest source of activation of our nervous system comes from receptors in our muscles, called muscle spindles. Every time a muscle is stretched, the muscle spindle fires a signal activating nerves. This activation is essential for nerve health and longevity. The take-away from this is the importance of reviewing a neuropathy patient’s habits and lifestyle for significant contributing factors. The appropriate recommendations, support, or referral can greatly influence the individual patient’s outcome.

Joint Mobilization/Adjustment

As we just reviewed, every time a muscle is stretched, the muscle spindle fibers send a nerve impulse. If joints are restricted or fixated, muscle spindle fiber activity is reduced. Studies have shown that reduced input to our brain can cause deterioration of brain function. This can further compound the suffering, resulting in reduced sensation, numbness, or loss of dexterity, and strength in hands or feet. Joint mobilization and adjustments can restore lost mobility, improve muscle function, and increase the activation of nerves.

Spinal Adjustment

Compression to nerves can be a cause of peripheral neuropathy. Many potential patients come to us with both distal symmetric polyneuropathy AND nerve compression. Clues to this combination of conditions are symptoms that start on one side only, or are noticeably more severe on one side than the other. More obvious clues are having back or neck pain that accompanies symptoms of neuropathy in the hands or feet.

Patients with nerve compression may require spinal adjustment in addition to peripheral neuropathy treatment. When conservative measures have failed, the standard medical treatment for spinal nerve compression is decompression surgery. Most medical experts agree that back surgery should be a last resort.

According to Arnold Weil, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation medicine at Emory University School of Medicine, “probably less than 5% of all back pain requires surgery.”

Balance Therapy

Unsteadiness, staggering when walking, a dizzy/lightheaded feeling, tripping, and falling are all signs of balance problems. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly MORE THAN ONE THIRD OF ADULTS, AGE 65 YEARS AND OLDER, FALL EACH YEAR. Unfortunately, the fear of losing their ability to live independently can prompt seniors to withhold information about impaired balance from family and physicians. Preserving independence in activities of daily living and mobility is a chief concern for our neuropathy patients. Balance therapies tailored to each patient are part of our comprehensive treatment plan for every peripheral neuropathy patient. Many of our patients say that the greatest benefit they received from treatment is regained confidence in their ability to walk, and the ability to return to a vibrant and active lifestyle.

Home Care Procedures
In addition to the in-office treatments for peripheral neuropathy, each patient is trained how to perform home therapies. These home treatments become the foundation for maintenance therapy. Patients are assigned simple at-home exercises such as:

  • Thermal contrast

  • Mechanical nerve stimulation

  • Stretches/exercises

  • Sensory motor coordination

  • Balance exercises

  • Optional - Nerve e-stim

  • Optional - MIRE therapy

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