Are You Experiencing Nerve Pain in Your Hands, Legs, or Feet?
Does this sound like you? You’ve had a little bit of numbness or a prickling sensation in the toes of one of your feet. It’s been there a while. It’s been annoying, but nothing serious. Just part of getting older, right? Except that, lately, the prickling has worsened into a sharp, jabbing sensation.
Or perhaps the numbness has become an icy cold feeling or one that sets off a sense of burning in your foot. Now you’re beginning to wonder: is this nerve pain associated with peripheral neuropathy?
Neuropathy affects approximately 24 million Americans. The National Stem Cell Institute (NSI), a leading U.S. regenerative medicine clinic, reports that –among their patients- the nerve pain is most common among people with type 2 diabetes. Those who have an autoimmune disease such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or complex regional pain syndrome also suffer. So, what are the physical mechanics behind this nerve pain? And how can it be treated? First, some basics.
Nerve Pain Basics
Peripheral neuropathy refers to nerve pain that affects the extremities of the body, such as the hands, fingers, legs, feet, or toes. The nerves in these areas are called the peripheral nerves. You can think of them as the “terminal points,” or the farthest outer reaches of the central nervous system. They transmit nerve messages that ultimately move through the spinal cord to the brain.
Among their usual duties when they’re healthy is to signal the brain that the extremities are cold or hurt. They alert the body to injuries such as burns or cuts. And, of course, they are essential for the everyday sensations of touch. But when they are damaged through disease or injury, chronic nerve pain can develop.
Peripheral neuropathy can affect a single nerve or several at the same time.
Peripheral nerve pain is generally a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Some are more easily diagnosed than others. For example, diabetes is easily diagnosed while many autoimmune diseases can be harder to pinpoint.
Key Facts About Peripheral Nerve Pain
- Neuropathy is generally caused by an injury or an underlying medical condition such as physical trauma, repetitive injury, infections, metabolic disorders, toxic exposure, or drug use.
- Nerve pain can affect the autonomic, motor, or sensory nerves.
- Diabetics are particularly susceptible to the development of peripheral nerve pain.
Preventative Actions to Relieve or Eliminate Types of Nerve Pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that exemplifies mononeuropathy, in which the nerve pain comes from a single nerve affected by repetitive injury. Carpal tunnel pain can generally be eliminated by wrist splinting and medication. Stem cell therapy and/or platelet rich plasma therapy may be used in stubborn, more chronic cases, with surgery being a last resort option.
Diabetic nerve pain is usually caused by damage related to elevated levels of blood sugars. Left untreated, the neuropathy can become extensive. Caught in time, however, the damage can be mitigated. As with carpal tunnel syndrome, regenerative medicine techniques like stem cell therapy are becoming increasingly preferred over steroids and surgery by physicians.
- Exposure to Toxins
Toxic causes of nerve pain include exposure to both manmade chemicals and natural elements in the environment such as molds. But drugs and alcohol abuse also fall under this category. The very best way to prevent further damage is to stop exposure by removing the toxin or moving away from the toxic environment.
Medication may relieve pain and reduce sensations of burning, numbness, and tingling. Again, regenerative medicine methods may be employed for more severe, chronic cases.
Conventional Drug Treatment Used for Neuropathy
Along with appropriate lifestyle changes, certain drug therapies remain the “first responders” when it comes to peripheral nerve pain. Sometimes it is just a matter of using over the counter medication (OTCs). Less severe cases that don’t respond to OTCs are often treated with prescription skin patches that release a local anesthetic such as lidocaine.
But the cause of the neuropathy plays an important part in the doctor’s recommended drug treatment. For example, in cases of chemotherapy-induced nerve pain, the drug duloxetine has been shown to be helpful.
However, it is not recommended that the drug is used to treat neuropathy in patients that are not undergoing chemotherapy.
Other drugs used in extreme cases include:
- Carbamazepine (more commonly used for epilepsy)
- Venlafaxine (more commonly used to treat depression)
It is crucial, however, to press the point that the more powerful medications mentioned above are inherently risky and rarely used except in extreme cases. They are administered strictly under a qualified doctor’s care.
Far more common is the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Ointments and creams –both OTCs and through prescription- are also frequently prescribed to manage mild to moderate nerve pain.
The Most Common Symptoms of Neuropathy
While symptoms do vary per type of nerve pain being experienced, there are commonalities as well. Symptoms are categorized as sensory, motor, and autonomic.
Sensory neuropathy symptoms include:
- Tingling and numbness
- A sensation of pins and needles
- Hypersensitivity to touch
- Heightened pain or, conversely, an inability to feel pain
- The inability to feel changes in heat and cold
- Difficulty in coordination and/or proprioception
- Sensations of burning, stabbing, or shooting pains, often worse at night
In addition to nerve pain, sensory neuropathy may lead to foot and leg ulcers, infection, and gangrene.
Motor neuropathy symptoms include:
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle wasting
- Muscle twitches and cramping
- Muscle paralysis
In addition to nerve pain, motor neuropathy can lead to shakiness and a sense of physical instability. Even small movements such as buttoning a blouse can become difficult.
Autonomic neuropathy symptoms include:
- Profuse sweating
- Poor heat tolerance
- Bowel or bladder incontinence
- Fluctuations in blood pressure, which can cause dizziness
A Closer Look at Common Causes of Neuropathy and Nerve Pain
Diabetes is by are the most frequent reason for chronic peripheral neuropathy. When elevated levels of blood glucose (also known as blood sugar) are not brought under control, nerve damage and nerve pain can occur. The high blood glucose levels damage the tiny blood vessels that feed oxygen and nutrients nerves in the hands and feet. Left unchecked, diabetic neuropathy can also damage essential organs like the kidneys, heart, and eyes.
- Chronic Kidney Disease
Kidney disease affects the kidneys’ ability to filter the blood. This can cause an imbalance of salts and chemicals throughout the body that, in turn, can promote peripheral neuropathy.
- Physical Injury
Traumatic injury can cause damage and, subsequently, nerve pain. In some cases, long durations of keeping a limb immobile –such as after surgery or keeping broken bones in place with a cast- can put direct pressure nerves. This may result in complex regional pain syndrome, also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy.
- Autoimmune Disorders
Other Known Causes of Neuropathy and Nerve Pain
Neuropathy is oftentimes “idiopathic,” meaning the exact cause cannot be found. However, there are a variety of diseases and disorders that have been known to conditions can trigger nerve pain and other symptoms. They include:
Drinking alcohol in excess
Drug treatments such as chemotherapy and HIV therapy
A deficiency in vitamins B12 or folate
Exposure to poisons like insecticides or solvents
Certain types of cancer
Chronic liver disease
Diseases that affect the small blood vessels of the
Neuromas (benign tumors) which may affect nerve tissues, leading to nerve pain.
A Closer Look at the Different Types of Nerve Pain
The nervous system is a complex network, so it comes as no surprise that there are over a hundred types of neuropathy that have been clinically identified. Besides the generalized classification of sensory, motor, and autonomic, neuropathy can be further classified as:
This is when a single nerve is affected.
In which several nerves are affected.
- Postherpetic Neuralgia
This condition is associated with shingles.The neuropathy and nerve pain may remain months after the shingles rash has disappeared.
- Ulnar Nerve Palsy
This neuropathy often follows injury to the elbow.
- Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
A type of mononeuropathy that affects one of the nerves in the wrist.
- Peroneal Nerve Palsy
The nerve pain and neuropathic symptoms are due to compression of the peroneal nerve. It is a leg nerve that from the knee to the ankle.
- Bell’s Palsy
This is a single-nerve neuropathy that impacts the facial muscles.
Non-Drug Treatments for Neuropathy and Nerve Pain
There are a number of ways to manage the symptoms and nerve pain associated with neuropathy. Many of them can be practiced at home.
Non-drug at-home techniques include:
- Applying hot or cold packs to the hand or foot experiencing nerve pain.
- Wear fabrics that are less irritating against the skin, such as good quality cotton.
- Use plastic wound dressing or cling-style plastic wrap to protect areas affected by nerve pain from brushing against clothing or objects.
- Practice stress-relieving techniques such as meditation, relaxation methods, hand or foot massages.
Non-drug medical treatments include:
In Most Cases, Peripheral Neuropathy Can be Controlled and Managed
It is always best to take control of your nerve pain as soon as possible to help prevent further damage. Today, advanced medical techniques like regenerative medicine therapies are going beyond the limits of conventional practices, making the treatment and management of neuropathy more effective than in years past.
The National Stem Cell Institute (NSI) is happy to answer any questions you may have about addressing peripheral nerve pain. NSI is a leading regenerative medicine cell clinic based in the United States that specializes in stem cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma therapy. From diseases like diabetes and COPD to injuries of the spine and joints, NSI has helped patients recover from disease, heal from injury, and improve quality of life.
NSI is a fully licensed regenerative medicine facility that strictly adheres to FDA guidelines. NSI encourages the public to call with any questions regarding stem cell therapy and how it may pertain to any health concerns. Below, NSI offers tips on selecting the right stem cell clinic for you.
What to Look for in a Stem Cell Medical Clinic
When searching for a qualified stem cell therapy center it’s important to remember that not all of them are created equal. Stem cells, when used properly, are your body’s most powerful means for healing that can repair everything from ligaments, tendons, and cartilage to organs including your liver, pancreas and lungs and even neurological tissue like your brain, nerves, and spinal cord.
Unfortunately, the majority of so-called “regenerative medicine clinics” in the world aren’t trained in the latest, most technologically advanced procedures and will, therefore, provide poor results if any.
The good news is the National Stem Cell Institute (NSI) has established the most advanced stem cell and platelet rich plasma procedures on the planet which has drawn patients from all over the world as well as professional athletes and celebrities because they are recognized as the best in the world at stem cell therapy.
What makes NSI Stem Cell the top stem cell clinic in the world is demonstrated in 5 key areas:
1. Highly trained and experienced, board-certified doctors and team members who have performed stem cell procedures on thousands of patients with incredible results.
2. Cutting edge procedures utilizing all that regenerative medicine has to offer for many chronic degenerative conditions.
3. Leading scientific researchers who follow the advanced guidelines to maximize the healing potential of your stem cells and to maintain compliance and ethics
4. Use of only the most potent and viable resource of living, viable stem cells and harvested on the same day. No vial that you can purchase will contain living stem cells. If there is no harvest then there are no stem cells.
5. Post-operative guidance for supporting stem-cell growth including rehabilitation, diet and supplement protocols. NSI is a full-service healthcare center focused on patient outcomes. Stem cell therapy is only one tool used to help improve patients’ lives.
Patients have raved about their experience at NSI Stem Cell Clinics testifying that it was their unique cutting-edge procedures that helped them experience a breakthrough when nothing else worked.
If you want to learn more about NSI Stem Cell Clinics, you can set up a complimentary consultation today to see if you are a candidate. You can contact the National Stem Cell Institute at (877) 278-3623.
* Disclaimer: Individual patient results may vary. As each patient’s problem is different, each treatment must be tailored around your specific needs.