What can a chiropractor, who focuses on neuropathy, do that a normal chiropractor does not?
When the joints are out of alignment, it puts pressure on your nerves, which interrupts the signals sent and received by the brain. Typical chiropractic adjustments are effective at realigning the joints in the extremities and back. Inflamed or tight muscles also compress on nerves and cause pain. That is why chiropractors usually add massage to your treatment plan.
A chiropractor that focuses on neuropathy also checks you for nutritional deficiencies, especially low levels of vitamin B, can contribute to peripheral neuropathy. Addiction, like alcoholism, or from a poor diet can also cause these issues. A neuropathy chiropractor can help you identify these issues and help you to change your diet. Studies have shown that this will help you improve your sleep, weight and energy levels not to mention improve your symptoms over time.
It is estimated that 20 million people in the US have some form of peripheral neuropathy. This condition develops as a result of damage to the peripheral nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and every other part of the body.
Neuropathy means nerve disease or damage. Symptoms can range from sensitivity to touch, tingling and prickling sensations, numbness or muscle weakness. In some severe cases burning pain, paralysis, atrophy, organ and gland dysfunction can occur. Such damage to the nerves can disrupt digestion, sexual dysfunction, sweating and urination. In rare cases organ failure or difficulty breathing can occur.
Specific maladies that can be remedied by a chiropractor who has training in neuropathy
- Peripheral Neuropathy
- Diabetic Neuropathy
- Sensory Neuropathy
- Small Fiber Neuropathy
- Neuropathy secondary to Spinal Stenosis
- Neuropathy secondary to failed surgery syndrome
How are the peripheral neuropathies classified?
Today there are more than 100 types of peripheral neuropathy identified, each has its very own symptoms and prognosis. Peripheral neuropathies are classified according to the type of damage to the nerves. If only one nerve is involved it is called mononeuropathies. More often multiple nerves are affected and this is called polyneuropathy. Electrodiagnostic studies can help chiropractors of neuropathy determine the type of damage involved.
How is peripheral neuropathy diagnosed?
A complete neurological examination is required find the cause of the symptoms and involves taking an extensive medical history (covering symptoms, work environment, social habits, exposure to toxins, alcohol use, risk of HIV or other infectious diseases, and family history of neurological diseases). In addition, tests are usually performed to identify the cause of the neuropathy as well as the extent and type of nerve damage. Blood tests can detect diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, liver or kidney dysfunction, other metabolic disorders, and signs of abnormal immune system activity. An examination of cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord can reveal abnormal antibodies associated with some immune-mediated neuropathies. More specialized tests may reveal other blood or cardiovascular diseases, connective tissue disorders, or malignancies. Genetic tests are becoming available for a number of inherited neuropathies.
A physical examination and various tests may reveal the presence of a systemic disease causing the nerve damage. Tests of muscle strength, as well as evidence of cramps, to indicate motor fiber involvement. Evaluation of the person’s ability to sense vibration, light touch, body position, temperature, and pain reveals any sensory nerve damage and may indicate whether small or large sensory nerve fibers are affected.
Based on the results of the neurological exam, physical exam, patient history, and any previous screening or testing, the following additional tests may be ordered to help determine the nature and extent of the neuropathy:
- Nerve conduction velocity (NCV)
- Electromyography (EMG)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Nerve biopsy
- Skin biopsy