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  • Writer's pictureBrian Harasha

Neuropathy: Causes, symptoms, and treatment

Neuropathy is a common condition that usually affects the feet but can also include hands (i.e. carpal tunnel syndrome). Recently, more and more patients are experiencing this condition which can be difficult to treat because there are several causes and sometimes concurrently.

The most common causes of peripheral neuropathy include blood sugar control issues, spinal nerve impingements, medication side effects, trauma, infection, and peripheral vascular disease. It is thought that neuropathy is actually a sign of ‘starving nerves’. Nerves are pinched off and/or have their blood supply restricted. The symptoms are the nerves telling you they are not OK.

Symptoms of this condition can also vary, and include paresthesia (odd sensations), numbness, tingling, pins and needles, burning pain, feeling as if something is stuck under your foot, or even something crawling on your feet. These symptoms can be quite severe and lead to restless nights. If numbness sets in there is the danger of losing your balance/steadiness, tripping, or falling.

Treatment involves finding the cause for you as an individual. Of course, working on the source of the problem is a must. If you have insulin or blood sugar problems this needs to be corrected by diet, lifestyle/exercise, and sometimes supplements or medications. If nerve impingement is the problem, a good chiropractor can help, or in extreme cases surgery may be needed. When a medication or infection is the cause, switching medications or treating the infection can help resolve the issue.

Once the cause is addressed, treatment is needed to heal the nerves and find relief using various modalities. Medical doctors will often use a medication called gabapentin to soothe nerves. Acupuncturist may use needle acupuncture. Chiropractors and podiatrists often use shockwave and/or laser therapy.

In my practice, I prefer to use the combination of shockwave and laser therapy. I have noticed gabapentin does not work well as it does not help the health of the nerve, and additionally has some negative side effects. Shockwave works well by softening any scar tissue in the feet, creating new, small vessels around the nerves (angiogenesis), and releasing growth factors in the area. Laser therapy is the perfect companion as it resolves inflammation and promotes tissue repair.

We have seen amazing results with this treatment and look forward to helping you find relief from your chronic conditions.

You can learn more at: or visit Dr. Harasha at Advanced Laser Therapy and Wellness, 2558 S. Brentwood Blvd., Brentwood, MO, 63130. 314-961-8940.

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