Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is broken down into two words meaning far away (peripheral), and neuropathy, meaning an inflammation of a nerve fiber. As a credentialed functional neurologist and also as a clinical nutritionist with 35 years of experience, I am going to share with you some of the basics of this condition and how we approach treatment.

The biochemistry of peripheral neuropathy is just as important as the neurological consequences and they both contribute to the end result, which is people who have a tough time feeling their hands and feet as a predominant symptom. The number one cause of peripheral neuropathy in the United States is diabetes and the number one type of diabetes in the United States is type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is estimated to cripple or bankrupt the healthcare system in the next 10 years. We are transforming into a society that is becoming more and more insulin-resistant. What that means is that we no longer can use sugar for fuel. When sugar does not get used as fuel, it goes right into fat storage. So obesity is part of the puzzle.

The insulin resistance, as it is referred to in the literature, is when your cells become less and less sensitized to the hormone insulin. Insulin is made in your pancreas and there are a couple of different types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is usually juvenile in onset and occurs as an autoimmune condition, where the body recognizes insulin as a foreign substance. The pancreas has cells called the Islets of Langerhans that produce the insulin and after the recognition occurs our body starts attacking those cells, breaking down the pancreas, rendering it unavailable for modulating blood sugar.

So we have type 1 and type 2 that I mentioned. We have type 1.5 which is a different scenario and type 3. Type 3 is now qualified as Alzheimer’s disease – it is diabetes of the brain. Type 1.5 is usually in between 1 and 2 and that tends to be more of an autoimmune condition of an older, aging population.

We have a variety of dysfunctions that could be contributing to a patient’s peripheral neuropathy.  Peripheral neuropathy is basically a breakdown of peripheral nerves called small and large diameter afferent fibers, afferent meaning sensory. What happens is that those nerves that are far away from the brain, called peripheral, start to break down. The small and large diameter fibers have slightly different mechanisms in control but they are both involved with pain and unusual sensations. The large diameter fibers are designed to inhibit pain when they fire into the spinal cord. So when you start losing the large diameter fibers, the more you move the more you hurt and that is actually a diagnostic tool. The small diameter fibers are the slow pain fibers and those are the ones that tend to also die off so that eventually your pain system, as far as recognition and feedback into your brain, becomes out of control.

With sufferers of peripheral neuropathy, if you do not control them metabolically, by looking at the diabetic piece or the metabolic piece, you find yourself in a lose-lose situation. In my office, we look at you metabolically and we also look at you neurologically. We also stage your peripheral neuropathy – if you are under 85% of progression you will qualify for the type of services that we provide.

The most aggressive care that I have seen and experienced as a clinician for peripheral neuropathy is the use of our class 4 laser. The class 4 laser is an incredible tool for regenerating nerve fibers. Clinical studies show, and I have witnessed through clinical trials in my own office, that you can take the damage to the large and small diameter fibers and you can reverse that.

Now the big win is not only healing those nerve fibers if you are under 85% in progression, as far as degeneration, but also to fix the underlying mechanism so that your neuropathy does not come back again. You absolutely can make repairs to the peripheral nerves themselves and we do that by using tools such as class 4 laser. We also use a medical device called a rebuilder. Nerves fire at a specific frequency, 7.83 hertz, and targeting nerves using this frequency allows us to re-sensitize the nerves. We also use spinal decompression, and yet another device called pulsed electromagnetics. All of these are designed to help to heal and regenerate those peripheral nerves.

If neuropathy is something that you are suffering with — and people do suffer quite a bit with peripheral neuropathy – just understand that after evaluation, we can qualify whether or not you are at that 85% or under percentile from a nerve damage perspective. If you are eligible as a candidate for treatment with our office, we look forward to improving your health and helping you on the road of recovery. Let us help you figure out from a lifestyle perspective how you can stop the progression of your condition. The goal is then to reverse, or at least diminish greatly, the amount of suffering that you are in.

 

 

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