Healthy nerves are essential for your body to work correctly. Certain conditions can cause severe damage to your nerves, resulting in a condition known as peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy affects the nerves in your legs and arms and often causes numbness and pain in varying levels of severity.
When you're tired of dealing with the uncomfortable symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, the team at Southern Pain Specialists can help. Dr. Kenneth Varley is an experienced pain management specialist who offers several effective treatments for this condition and can suggest smart ways to help you manage it.
Understanding peripheral neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that damages the nerves in your peripheral nervous system. Your brain and spinal cord are components of your central nervous system, and all other nerves are in your peripheral nervous system.
Many conditions lead to peripheral nerve damage, including diabetes. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is a common condition in which elevated blood sugar damages your peripheral nerves. Genetics, infections, and inflammatory medical conditions also play a role in peripheral neuropathy.
When you have this condition, you may have several uncomfortable symptoms, including pain in your extremities. You can also experience numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness.
Tips to successfully manage peripheral neuropathy symptoms
The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are uncomfortable and can be unbearable at times. When you’re in pain, Dr. Varley and his team can help. Here are five smart ways to manage your symptoms day-to-day.
1. Vitamins through diet and supplements
If a vitamin problem causes peripheral neuropathy, changing your diet can help tremendously. You may need to take vitamin supplements if you’re not getting enough of the vitamins you need through food, especially magnesium and B vitamins.
Dr. Varley can recommend a variety of medications when you have peripheral neuropathy. Over-the-counter pain relievers help you control mild to moderate discomfort. Dr. Varley also prescribes anti-seizure drugs for antidepressants to manage more advanced symptoms.
3. Exercise and physical therapy
Specific exercises can significantly help you with your peripheral neuropathy symptoms. The best types of activities for this condition are aerobic exercises like walking or swimming.
You can also incorporate stretching and balance exercises into your daily routine. Working on your balance helps improve your strength and keep you from suffering from complications of peripheral neuropathy.
4. Physical therapy
Teaming up with a physical therapist is a great way to manage your neuropathy symptoms. They can help you with assistive devices like a cane or walker, and they provide you with stretches and exercises that can help ease your discomfort, such as nerve gliding exercises.
5. Blood sugar management
Peripheral neuropathy is common in patients with diabetes. If you have diabetes, you must keep your blood sugar under control. Check your blood sugar regularly, and make changes to your diet to protect your nerves from further damage to ensure your neuropathy symptoms don't get worse.
Other treatments that can help your peripheral neuropathy
If you need additional treatment to manage your pain symptoms, Dr. Varley offers several helpful options. For instance, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy may help you eliminate your pain.
Dr. Varley also offers spinal cord stimulation for severe peripheral neuropathy symptoms — a great option when other treatments haven't worked. It helps mask pain by interfering with the signals that your nerves send to your brain, and you control the stimulation level with an external remote.
Dr. Varley thoroughly evaluates your condition to determine the best treatment approach for you. Typically, a mix of lifestyle changes and traditional treatments are best for managing peripheral neuropathy symptoms.