Neuropathy Treatment in Lansdowne, VA
What is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy is essentially any condition that may affect the activity of your nerves, or a form of nerve damage. Sometimes referred to as peripheral neuropathy, it usually involves damage to the peripheral nerves brought on by diabetes, chemotherapy, auto-immune diseases, traumatic injuries, or infection. While most people will feel numbness and pain in their hands and feet as a result, it can affect other parts of your body as well.
Symptoms of Neuropathy
Because neuropathy can affect a lot of different places on your body, the symptoms mostly depend on the cause of neuropathy and the nerves that are affected. Most often, the symptoms include the following:
- Numbness (either temporary or permanent)
- Tingling sensations (often in your feet or hands)
- Muscle weakness
- Sensitivity to touch
- Loss of coordination
- Bowel, bladder, digestive, or sexual function problems
Causes of Neuropathy
Diabetes is the number one cause of neuropathy and more than half of those with diabetes will develop some sort of neuropathy. If there is poor management of blood sugar, the severity may increase. Other than diabetes, there are a number of other possible causes including:
- Inherited disorders
- Autoimmune diseases and infections such as hepatitis C, HIV, shingles, and Lyme disease
- Tumors and bone disorders
- Kidney or liver disease
There are also several risk factors that may contribute to neuropathy such as exposure to toxins, repetitive motions, and family history of neuropathy as well.
This is not an exhaustive list of causes of neuropathy, so it is important to contact your doctor to discuss any symptoms you may have.
How is Neuropathy Diagnosed and Treated?
If you are experiencing symptoms of neuropathy and have scheduled a visit to your doctor, they will most likely do a physical exam to determine where exactly the symptoms are coming from and where to start with testing. They may do a full medical history check and blood test to determine further issues. Once completed, your doctor will do a series of tests to check reflexes as well as your ability to feel sensation. This may include a full neurological examination, depending on the severity of symptoms.
If you are diagnosed with neuropathy your doctor will determine the proper course of action for treatment. However, this will often not start with surgery. Treatment options may include:
- Medications such as pain relievers, lidocaine patches, topical ointments, antidepressants, and anti-seizure medications.
- Physical therapy
- TENS units
In addition, there are many lifestyle changes that you can make such as exercising, eating healthy, and quitting alcohol and smoking that may help. In addition, you may be asked to wear specialized socks for your feet and monitor your glucose levels.
Neuropathy Treatment in Northern VA
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of neuropathy, or have any further questions, contact Dr. Tuwiner at (703) 293-5244 today to set up an appointment!