Why Seeking Treatment for Neuropathy Is Important

From head to toe, your body is a complex network of nerves that help control just about everything you do. It all starts in your central nervous system (your brain and spinal cord). That’s where your peripheral nerves (all those outside your central nervous system) get their orders and send messages throughout your body. 

Some of those peripheral nerves go the other direction and send messages to your brain via your spinal nerves; these are your sensory nerves. When any of your peripheral nerves experience damage or inflammation, it’s called neuropathy. 

Our team at Blue Ridge Pain & Spine Associates specializes in diagnosing and treating your neuropathy and staving off the dangerous conditions it could lead to. We are experts in pain management and can get to the source of your nerve pain so you can get back to a carefree life again. 

The most important thing you need to know about neuropathy is that the sooner you come see us for treatment, the better. Here’s why.

Symptoms of neuropathy

Neuropathy can be the result of several different things and affect several different nerves. Those variables impact exactly which symptoms you experience. 

Your neuropathy may have been triggered by an injury, illness, infection, chemotherapy, exposure to a toxin, or diabetes, or you may have even inherited it. 

You may find out you have neuropathy because you suddenly begin experiencing weakness in your muscles, lack of coordination and balance, tingling or numbness in your hands and feet, or even loss of bladder and bowel control. 

Whatever the cause and whatever the signs, these symptoms alone are enough to warrant seeking medical treatment. But left untreated, neuropathy can lead to even more serious conditions.

Dangers of untreated neuropathy

Depending on which types of nerves are affected, your neuropathy, if left untreated, can result in serious health problems.

Sensory neuropathy

Your sensory nerves are the ones that tell your brain when you’ve touched something soft, hit your funny bone, or cut your foot. If you have sensory neuropathy, it’s most likely linked to diabetes (the most common culprit of neuropathy). It most often begins in the feet and works its way up. If you let it go untreated for too long, it can affect your hands as well. 

You can recognize sensory neuropathy from its signature tingling and numbness. Some people even feel extreme burning or cold sensations or shocks of pain. Compromised nerves can lead to ulcers in the area and eventually gangrene (tissue death). In extreme cases, this could result in amputation.

Motor neuropathy

Damage to your motor nerves, the ones that control your muscle movement, is rare, but worth discussing. Also called multifocal motor neuropathy (MMN), it has succeeded in stumping the medical community for years. No one knows exactly what causes it, so it’s difficult (though not impossible) to treat and not yet curable. 

We do know that it’s an autoimmune disorder, which means your body’s natural defenses view those motor nerves as something foreign and attack them.  

If you have MMN, you won’t be in pain, but your muscles will feel weak, and you may get frequent cramps or uncontrollable twitching. These are also symptoms common to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This is why it’s important to seek medical attention from physicians with the experience and expertise to accurately diagnose you, like our team here at Blue Ridge Pain & Spine Associates.

Autonomic neuropathy

Your autonomic nerves control all the involuntary functions of your body, like your heart beat, digestion, eye dilation, bowel movements and urination, perspiration, sexual functions, and blood pressure. If these nerves are damaged, you’re at risk for a host of problems from constipation or diarrhea to difficulty breathing and swallowing.

You stand a good chance of managing your symptoms and staying out of danger if caught and treated early, but left untreated, autonomic neuropathy can result in high or low blood pressure. If you show no symptoms due to your autonomic neuropathy, the diagnosis is more difficult. You may also get chronic bladder infections, irregular body temperature, poor night vision, sexual dysfunction, and other complications.

Most symptoms of neuropathy are treatable, and when diagnosed early, you may be able to avoid the long-term and sometimes permanent consequences. Trust our team at Blue Ridge Pain & Spine Associates to treat you accurately and treat you well. Call us today to make an appointment at any of our three convenient locations. 

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