Welcome to Oregon Medical Centers. We are an integrated medical clinic that helps people with all sorts of medical condition including Peripheral Neuropathy. You may ask What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy refers to many different types of conditions that involve damage to the peripheral nervous system as well as peripheral nerves. The peripheral nervous system is a vast communication network that sends signals between the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and to all other parts of the body. The peripheral nerves are the nerves that are outside of the brain and spinal cord. Interestingly the Peripheral nerves send many types of sensory information to the central nervous system (CNS), such as a message that the feet are cold. They also carry signals from the CNS (Central Nervous System) to the rest of the body. This is how the body communicates. These nerves also send signals to the muscles that tell them to contract, which is how we move, but there are different types of signals that help control everything from our heart and blood vessels, digestion, urination, sexual function, to our bones and immune system. The peripheral nerves are like the cables that connect the different parts of a computer or connect the Internet. When they malfunction, complex functions can grind to a halt. Not only that, but it can also lead to pain, numbness, tingling, loss of function, ability to move and loss of balance.
Peripheral Nerves that send signals in neuropathy is usually disrupted in three different ways:
When these errors happen symptoms can range from mild to disabling and can lead to loss of function and doing normal day to day to day things. These symptoms can be mild to severe. Peripheral neuropathy is a degenerative condition and will continue to worsen over a period of time. The symptoms depend on the type of nerve fibers affected and the type and severity of damage. Symptoms may develop over days, weeks, or years and can continue to degenerate over time. Peripheral Neuropathy can be disabling and debilitating as the nerves continue to degenerate. Many times, people have to use a walker or a wheel chair as the nerves continue to degenerate over time.
Some forms of neuropathy involve damage to only one nerve (called mononeuropathy). Neuropathy affecting two or more nerves in different areas is called multiple mononeuropathy or mononeuropathy multiplex. More often, many or most of the nerves are affected (called polyneuropathy).
Sadly, more than 20 million people in the United States have been estimated to have some form of peripheral neuropathy, but this figure may be significantly higher because not all people with symptoms of neuropathy are tested for the disease and tests currently don’t look for all forms of neuropathy. Neuropathy is often misdiagnosed due to its complex array of symptoms.
More than 100 types of peripheral neuropathy have been identified, each with its own symptoms and prognosis. Symptoms vary depending on the type of nerves—motor, sensory, or autonomic—that are damaged. Below, we will outline the difference between motor nerves, sensory nerves as well as autonomic nerves.
Most neuropathies affect all three types of nerve fibers to varying degrees; others primarily affect one or two types. Doctors use terms such as predominantly motor neuropathy, predominantly sensory neuropathy, sensory-motor neuropathy, or autonomic neuropathy to describe different conditions.
About three-fourths of polyneuropathies are “length-dependent,” meaning the farthest nerve endings in the feet are where symptoms develop first or are worse. In severe cases, such neuropathies can spread upwards toward the central parts of the body. In non-length dependent polyneuropathies, the symptoms can start more toward the torso, or are patchy.
Symptoms are related to the type of nerves affected! Motor nerve damage is usually associated with muscle weakness. In that it’s hard to walk or people have weakness of their feet and hands. Other symptoms include painful cramps, fasciculations (uncontrolled muscle twitching visible under the skin) and muscle shrinking (Atrophy). This is when people are forced to use a walker or a wheelchair due to the debilitating nature of peripheral neuropathy.
Sensory nerve damage causes various symptoms because sensory nerves have a broad range of functions.
Sadly, It is often challenging for medical providers to control, which can seriously affect a patient’s emotional well-being and overall quality of life. Neuropathic pain is sometimes worse at night, disrupting sleep. It can be caused by pain receptors firing spontaneously without any known trigger, or by difficulties with signal processing in the spinal cord that may cause you to feel severe pain (allodynia) from a light touch that is normally painless. For example, you might experience pain from the touch of your bedsheets, even when draped lightly over the body. This type of pain can be debilitating and can prevent you from living your best life. This type of pain can wake you up at night and then you have a hard time going back to sleep due to the intense pain.
Autonomic nerve damage affects the axons in small-fiber neuropathies. Common symptoms include excess sweating, heat intolerance, inability to expand and contract the small blood vessels that regulate blood pressure, and gastrointestinal symptoms. Although rare, some people develop problems eating or swallowing if the nerves that control the esophagus are affected.
There are several types of peripheral neuropathies, the most common of which is linked to diabetes. Another serious polyneuropathy is Guillain-Barre syndrome, which occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the nerves in the body. Common types of focal (located to just one part of the body) mononeuropathy include carpal tunnel syndrome, which affects the hand and the wrist, and meralgia paresthetica, which causes numbness and tingling on one thigh. Complex regional pain syndrome is a class of lingering neuropathies where small fibers are mostly damaged.
These various types of peripheral neuropathy can be disabling and debilitating and prevent you from living your best life. After all, why are we here on this planet? We are here to live a great & beautiful life full of health and abundance and not be in pain and suffering from peripheral neuropathy. If you are suffering from peripheral neuropathy, give us a call at Oregon Medical Centers. We offer no charge consultations to see if our treatments can help you. We have two clinics, one in Salem, Oregon and the other in Aloha/Beaverton, Oregon. Stop suffering and see if our cutting-edge treatments can help you.
Most instances of neuropathy are either acquired, meaning the neuropathy or the inevitability of getting it isn’t present from the beginning of life, or genetic. Acquired neuropathies are either symptomatic (the result of another disorder or condition; see below) or idiopathic (meaning it has no known cause).
Causes of symptomatic acquired peripheral neuropathy include:
Genetically-caused polyneuropathies are rare. Genetic mutations can either be inherited or arise de novo, meaning they are completely new mutations to an individual and are not present in either parent. Some genetic mutations lead to mild neuropathies with symptoms that begin in early adulthood and result in little, if any, significant impairment. More severe hereditary neuropathies often appear in infancy or childhood. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, also known as hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy, is one of the most common inherited neurological disorders.
The small-fiber neuropathies that present with pain, itch, and autonomic symptoms also can be genetic. As our understanding of genetic disorders increases, many new genes are being associated with peripheral neuropathy.
This bewildering array and variability of symptoms that neuropathies can cause often makes diagnosis difficult. A diagnosis of neuropathy typically includes:
Physiologic tests of nerve function
Radiology imaging tests
Muscle and nerve ultrasound is a noninvasive technique for imaging nerves and muscles for injury such as a severed nerve or a compressed nerve. Ultrasound imaging of the muscles can detect abnormalities that may be related to a muscle or nerve disorder. Certain inherited muscle disorders have characteristic patterns on muscle ultrasound.
Treatments depend entirely on the type of nerve damage, symptoms, and location. The Medical Providers at Oregon Medical Centers in Salem and Aloha/Beaverton, Oregon will explain how nerve damage is causing specific symptoms and how to minimize and manage them. With proper education, some people may be able to reduce their medication dose or manage their neuropathy without medications. Definitive treatment can permit functional recovery over time, as long as the nerve cell itself has not died. As long as the nerve is not completely dead, Regenerative Medicine can help regenerate, restore and rejuvenate the peripheral nerves.
Addressing neuropathy's causes. Correcting underlying causes can result in the neuropathy resolving or regenerating. At Oregon Medical Centers we believe in correcting the cause of the condition versus giving drugs. If a condition such as peripheral neuropathy can be treated effectively without drugs or surgery, that is the route that will be chosen. Many people are sick and tired of taking drugs that don’t work with side effects. Many people are more interested in not having to take the drug and they want the help to fix the cause of the peripheral neuropathy versus masking this condition with drugs. As noted earlier, Peripheral neuropathy is a degenerative condition. Oregon Medical Centers has had excellent results in helping people that have Peripheral Neuropathy without drugs or surgery. Oregon Medical Centers uses special Regenerative Medicine Procedures to help regenerate, repair and restore the peripheral nerves that are damaged. Additional patient education and Nerve health and resistance can be improved by healthy lifestyle habits such as maintaining optimal weight, avoiding toxic exposures, eating a balanced non-inflammatory diet, and correcting vitamin deficiencies. Smoking cessation is particularly important because smoking constricts the blood vessels that supply nutrients to the peripheral nerves and can worsen neuropathic symptoms. Exercise can deliver more blood, oxygen, and nutrients to far-off nerve endings, improve muscle strength, and limit muscle atrophy. Self-care skills in people with diabetes and others who have an impaired ability to feel pain can alleviate symptoms and often create conditions that encourage nerve regeneration with Regenerative Medicine.
Inflammatory and autoimmune conditions leading to neuropathy can be controlled by leading more natural and non-invasive methods such as Regenerative Medicine, and a change in a more healthy life-style. Oregon Medical Centers offer cutting edge and new technologies in helping our patient that have Peripheral Neuropathy back to living a great life full of health and abundance.
If you are suffering from Peripheral Neuropathy, give our clinic a call. We have two clinics, one in Salem, Oregon and the other in Aloha/Beaverton, Oregon. Call us for a no charge consultation to see if our cutting-edge treatment is right for you. Call: 503-390-1552 in Salem Oregon and 503-642-2845 in Aloha. Let us help you live a great and beautiful life full of health and abundance.