Peripheral Neuropathy



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What Is Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy refers to many conditions that involve damage to the peripheral nervous system, which is a vast communication network that sends signals between from the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) to all other parts of the body.  There are 100 different types of Peripheral Neuropathy and there are three types of peripheral nerves, which are sensory nerves that connect to the skin; motor nerves that connect to muscles; and autonomic nerves that connect to internal organs.  These nerves have to send signals back to the brain, but Peripheral Neuropathy occurs when these signals become damaged or destroyed.  When these signals are disrupted, the nerves cannot function properly.  For instance, you may experience pain signals when there is no pain, or pain signals may never be received if pain is there. 

Signs Of Peripheral Neuropathy

The primary symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy include weakness or numbing pain in the hands and feet, but it can affect other areas of the body.  Symptoms can be mild, but they can also be disabling.  The symptoms you experience will depend on they type of Peripheral Neuropathy you have and the nerve fibers that are affected.  Symptoms can include:

  • Extreme sensitivity to touch
  • Lack of coordination
  • Muscle weakness
  • Feeling as though you're wearing gloves or socks when you are not wearing them
  • Paralysis (provided that motor nerves are affected)
  • Sharp, jabbing, throbbing, or burning pain
  • Gradual onset of numbness (or tingling in the hands and feet)
What Causes Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy is not a singular disease, and nerve damage is typically caused by a number of other conditions.  Generally speaking, diabetes is one of the most common forms of neuropathy, leading to numbness, pain, and a loss of sensation in the extremities.  It's important to note most cases of Peripheral Neuropathy are either acquired, which means that the chances of getting it are not present from the beginning of life, or cases are genetic.  Possible causes of Peripheral Neuropathy are listed below:

  • Diabetes
  • Vascular or blood problems (these decrease oxygen supply to peripheral nerves)
  • Autoimmune disease (that attack nerves only)
  • Hormonal imbalances (these disturb natural metabolic processes)
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Infections that attack nerve tissues
  • Physical injury or trauma
  • Certain cancers or benign tumors

Dherbs Approach...adjusting your diet is always key!

Natural Remedies
  • For people who have difficulty with motor symptoms, there are mechanical aids, including hand and foot braces or splints, that can reduce discomfort or pain.  Medical professionals commonly advise people to wear orthopedic shoes to improve gait disturbances and prevent future foot injuries.
  • It is beneficial to quit smoking because smoking can prevent proper blood circulation.  When blood vessels narrow, it becomes difficult for oxygen to be delivered to all areas of the body.  Improper blood circulation can lead to numbness in peripheral nerves, so eliminate smoking and vaping habits to help improve symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy.
  • Acupuncture works to stimulate the body's pressure points, and it is a technique that is designed to trigger the nervous system to release chemicals that alter one's pain threshold.  People with Peripheral Neuropathy can benefit from acupuncture because it activates the nervous system and works to create balance in the body. 
  • Too many patients with Peripheral Neuropathy end up doing nothing all day because movement seems too difficult, or the risk isn't worth the reward.  Exercise not only helps to tone muscles and improve cardiovascular health, but it also assists with nerve maintenance.  Occasionally, exercise helps to encourage the growth of new, healthy nerves, or the regeneration of previously damaged nerves. 
  • Just as smoking can inhibit proper circulation, so can certain foods.  Making dietary changes can help encourage healthy nerve growth.  When you consider that Peripheral Neuropathy can be caused by nutritional deficiencies, you begin to understand the importance of supplying the body with plant-based foods that contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.  Eliminate processed foods, junk food, meat products, dairy products, refined carbs, added sugars, and fried foods and focus on fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains.  Foods impact nerve function and the ability for nerves to heal themselves. 
  • Increase your antioxidant intake by consuming a variety of leafy green vegetables, berries, grapes, nuts, and seeds.  Antioxidants, which are powerful compounds that fight free radicals, can help improve Peripheral Neuropathy symptoms.  An excess of free radicals in the body can lead to oxidative stress, which leads to chronic inflammation, a leading issue associated with Peripheral Neuropathy.  Antioxidants not only fight free radical damage, but they can also reduce inflammation. 
  • Capsaicin, which is the active ingredient in cayenne pepper that gives it the spice, is commonly used in topical pain relief creams or ointments.  Capsaicin helps to decrease the intensity of pain signals that are sent throughout the body.  You may want to consider taking a capsaicin supplement, or incorporating more cayenne pepper into your diet.  Topical capsaicin ointment have been known to gradually reduce neuropathy sensations. 
Things you should eat
  • Leafy Greens (spinach, chard, arugula, romaine, kale, & collards)
  • Berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, & raspberries)
  • Grapes
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Turmeric
  • Avocados
  • Walnuts
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Cherries
  • Oranges
  • Flaxseeds
  • Almonds
  • Asparagus
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Brussels Sprouts
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