Peripheral Neuropathy usually starts slow (except in the case of trauma) and progresses over time - eventually becoming debilitating. Symptoms can include pain, burning, tingling, numbness, shooting/shocking/stabbing pain, loss of balance and more. Excluding trauma, neuropathy is a degenerative disease, meaning it get worse over time. Medications are sometimes helpful, but tend to be less effective over time due to the ongoing degeneration. In advanced cases the only option is amputation.
Neuropathy occurs when nerves are damaged or degenerating and no longer function properly. There are seven main reasons this will happen, as indicated below.
- Glucose dysregulation
- Poor Circulation
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Spinal problems
- Hormone deficiencies
Each of the Seven underlying causes can have multiple factors involved resulting in nearly 100 different causes of Neuropathy. The cascade can look something like this:
It is our job as Functional Medicine and Functional Neurology practitioners to figure out the causes in each case. If the level of nerve loss is not too severe we will design a program to restore function. You may have been told that neuropathy cannot be cured and that's because medicine tends to only look at one thing at a time. Neuropathy, like dementia, is multil-modal and when all factors are addressed we see phenomenol improvements in neuronal function.
Treatments and recovery times vary, but they are painless and do not require drugs or surgery.