What is neuropathy?
Neuropathy is any condition that affects the normal function of the nerves of the peripheral nervous system (the nerves that travel from the spinal cord to the rest of the body). Symptoms experienced may range from numbness to sharp, shooting sensations, decreased feeling or loss of balance, burning or radiating pain, cramping, muscle weakness or foot drop. Many people have the same complaints in their hands and arms (carpal tunnel). Neuropathy can affect people of all ages.
What causes neuropathy?
There are many causes of neuropathy, it can be hereditary or acquired. Common causes include diabetes, chemotherapy, thyroid disorders, vitamin deficiencies, trauma, vascular disorders, neurological disorders (e.g. multiple sclerosis), autoimmune disorders (e.g. arthritis, fibromyalgia) or alcoholism, all of which can affect or damage nerve tissue.
What causes the symptoms?
Neuropathy often results from a nerve being pinched or entrapped as it travels through their respective tunnels. These tunnels can compress the nerve, resulting with mild to severe symptoms. Essentially, if a nerve is compressed or entrapped, when too much pressure is applied to the nerve by the tunnel or surrounding tissues, this creates a constriction of blood flow within the nerve resulting in pain and loss of sensation.
Various prescription medications and nutritional supplements as well as physical therapy may help control neuropathic symptoms however, these are not usually sustainable. Obtaining proper treatment for the underlying condition may help decrease symptoms as well.
Decompression/release or relieving pressure on an entrapped nerve surgery, is an outpatient procedure. General anesthesia is used. Incisions are made over the area where the nerve is entrapped. The entrapped nerve is released from the compressing tunnel. You can walk immediately after surgery and will wear a post-operative boot or shoe for 1-2 weeks. Many people experience immediate relief, while others experience relief more gradually with recovery continuing up to a year.
I am a member of:
American Microsurgical Orthoplastic Society (AMOS) https://www.amosociety.com
Association of Extremity Nerve Surgeons- http://www.aens.us/aens/default.asp