Stop Your Nerve Pain (Before It Stops You)

Jul 27, 2020

When major problems develop suddenly and dramatically, like most people you probably make fixing them a very high priority. Broken ankle? Pipe burst in the basement? There are problems that are impossible to ignore.

But what about problems that emerge slowly over time, over the course of months or even years? You might not even notice there’s a problem at first. And it never seems to be all that much worse than it was yesterday. With problems like these, you might be surprised at how bad things can get before a typical person finally seeks help.

Peripheral neuropathy is definitely this kind of problem. During the lengthy, early stages of the disease, you might find that it doesn’t really affect your day-to-day life all that much. But in time, little by little, it can rob you of your ability to play with your kids and grandkids, or drive your car, or remain independent. It could even lead to injuries and infections that cost you your feet themselves.

You have a lot of time to bail out before you get to that point. But you have to take that first step. Stop your neuropathy before it stops you!

Stop Your Nerve Pain (Before It Stops You)

Charting the Course of Peripheral Neuropathy

Let’s take you through the stages of what this disease can do to your feet and your body. You can think of it as a curve where symptoms start to increase and then decrease—but not in a good way.

When the peripheral nerves in your feet and toes first start to become damaged, you may not notice anything at all for a while. Eventually, though, you may occasionally feel intermittent “episodes” of mild to moderate pain, tingling, or other unusual or unexplained sensations. These episodes may be spaced weeks or even months apart.

As you start climbing the “curve,” the symptoms slowly start to become more and more noticeable, and more and more frequent. By the time you get to the absolute peak of the curve, your pain is constant (or at least daily) and probably so intense that you’re on a bunch of medications in an attempt to control it.

Then, as you start heading down the other side of the curve, pain becomes less and less severe. Unfortunately, this is not because you’re getting better. It’s because your nerves are dying, and your feet are on the way to becoming totally numb.

While you might think it nice to not have to be dealing with constant pain anymore, the lack of feedback from your feet also has grave implications for your balance, your ability to walk and be active, your ability to drive, and your ability to notice injuries before they become severe. Sadly, it’s often the case that people with severe neuropathy become socially isolated, unable to partake in activities that they used to enjoy. And they are much more likely to develop infected wounds that may force amputation of the feet.

Who Is at Risk for Developing Peripheral Nerve Damage?

By far, the most commonly related condition to peripheral neuropathy is diabetes. When your blood sugar isn’t regulated properly, the associated inflammation and reduction in blood flow can be extremely damaging to the small, delicate nerves of the feet and ankles. For this reason, it’s believed that a majority of people with diabetes will develop some form of neuropathy, to some degree, at some point in their lifetime. The longer you have lived with diabetes, the greater your risk.

However, diabetes is not the only possible cause. It’s also associated with a variety of other factors, including smoking, alcohol abuse, dietary deficits, and several different systemic medical conditions.

It’s also very important to understand that sometimes neuropathy has no known cause that can be identified. This is called idiopathic neuropathy, and about five to ten percent of neuropathy sufferers are in this category.

What this means is that you should always take the early warning signs of neuropathy seriously even if you aren’t aware that you have any personal risk factors. Intermittent, unexplained tingling and pain in the feet and ankles should never be ignored.

The Earlier You Seek Help, The Better Your Outcome Can Be

When a condition progresses as slowly as peripheral neuropathy often does, you aren’t just battling your disease, but also inertia. If symptoms aren’t bad yet, and may not be bad for a while yet, you might not feel a sense of urgency to act.

Here’s the problem, though. By the time you start to notice even early signs of neuropathy, there’s a chance that your nerves have already taken pretty heavy damage. And unlike most other types of tissue, nerves aren’t always capable of fully repairing or regenerating themselves.

And in addition to treatments from your doctor, successfully managing neuropathy requires you to make some very intentional, disciplined choices in terms of eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and developing other healthy habits. And it will take time to get things under control. So the earlier you can start to build those habits—when the more severe stages are still a ways in the distance—the more likely you’ll be able to stop the progression of neuropathy before it stops you from doing the things you love.

We’re here to help you on that journey. We’ve written a brief, free guide on health and wellness for neuropathy that can help you start making healthier choices today. Click here to download a copy.

We also are one of the few clinics in the area that offers Neurogenx, a cutting-edge electrical signal treatment for neuropathy that has shown great promise in alleviating nerve pain and, in many cases, helping to restore at least some healthy nerve function that has been lost.

No matter what stage of neuropathy you are currently in, we can help you. But if you take action before the pain starts to become a daily, severe issue, your chances of getting your neuropathy under control and maintaining a full, normal, healthy and active lifestyle will be significantly higher.

So don’t wait! Take those intermittent tingles and aches seriously, and contact the peripheral neuropathy experts at Sunshein Podiatry Associates. We serve the entire Dayton area and beyond with exceptional foot and ankle care. Request an appointment online, or call us at (937) 435-7477.

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