Peripheral neuropathy is a painful condition that affects the extremities. It is a type of neuropathic pain where there is damage and dysfunction to the nervous system elements, which leads to hypersensitivity. The professionals at Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists provide diagnosis and treatment of peripheral neuropathy, ultimately improving a patient’s well-being by taking away their pain.
Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy
Patients will come along, and generally speaking, the peripheral neuropathy will be in their feet and ankles. The patients usually describe nerve type pain as burning, electric shock-like, and sharp.
Diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy
When a doctor assesses the patient, they want to find out if there is a root cause for their peripheral neuropathy. The main things to look for in a patient’s history are:
- Are they diabetic? Sometimes diabetes presents with peripheral neuropathy and so it needs to be excluded.
- Does the patient have a vitamin deficiency? The most common type is a B12 deficiency.
- Are there any other causes of the neuropathy, for example, trauma to the feet, surgery, or vascular insufficiency?
After the assessment, your doctor should complete a full history and examination. The history will consist of a pain questionnaire. Your doctor will look at the characteristics of the pain: site, character, duration, radiation, and aggravation. Afterward, your doctor will look at your previous treatments before assessing the condition as thoroughly as possible.
Patients with peripheral neuropathy must find out if there is an underlying cause of the condition. This requires further investigations such as blood tests and other radiological exams, such as MRI scans.
How to improve a patient’s symptoms
When dealing with peripheral neuropathy, the main treatment is medication, as with all types of nerve pain. The medication your doctor will prescribe is anti-neuropathic medications. Sometimes antiepileptic, antidepressants, and antiarrhythmic medications are used to treat underlying causes of peripheral neuropathy.
The general principle is to use small amounts of the medication while slowly escalating the dose to balance benefit in pain relief with any side effects that the patient may experience.
Other treatment options
The use of optimizing medication is the most important treatment option. However, there are other treatment options beyond that, for example, pulse radiofrequency treatment, advanced pain management, spinal cord stimulation, and dorsal ganglion stimulation. These advanced treatments are only suggested once all the usual conservative treatment options have been explored and have failed to offer relief.
The role of rehabilitation in treatment
To treat patients with peripheral neuropathy, it is crucial to break the pain cycle and control the symptoms as much as possible. However, physical rehabilitation of the patient is also a requirement. Rehabilitation is usually under the care of a pain physiotherapist and includes strength and pain training. For peripheral neuropathy, a patient will be taught desensitization exercises. These external physical treatments, which the patients can do daily, are there to try and retrain the skin to reduce overall pain levels.
To learn more about peripheral neuropathy, contact Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists by phone or book an appointment online to start treatment as soon as possible.