Do you experience persistent and severe nerve pain in your hands, arms, feet, and legs? If so, you may be one of the 20 million people in the United States suffering from some form of neuropathy as a result of damage to your peripheral nerves. However, for those suffering from this health condition, there are effective treatments available. At Advanced Medical of Nashville, our team of elite nerve specialists provides effective, long-lasting neuropathy treatment in Nashville. As Nashville’s Top Rated Local® neuropathy treatment center, we have developed state-of-the-art, non-invasive, drug-free alternatives for treating and healing neuropathic pain that are FDA-approved. With over 40 years of experience caring for our patients with Peripheral Nerve Disease, our approach to nerve restoration and regeneration is not only safe and natural, but also effective, even in the most severe cases. Because every patient is different, we will meet with you to listen to your experiences with nerve pain, examine your symptoms, and perform nerve testing to determine your level of nerve damage. This allows our team to devise a specific treatment plan to meet your health needs and goals. Our priority is to treat your neuropathic pain by healing any nerve damage in order to restore proper nerve function.
Watch the video below to learn more about our successful nerve pain treatments directly from our amazing patients.
The term “neuropathy” means nerve disease or damage, and is a shortened reference for peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is a health condition that occurs when nerves are damaged, particularly those nerves in the hands and feet, and when nerve function is disrupted. When nerve function is impaired by nerve damage, it can cause pain, weakness, numbness, and other symptoms in your hands and feet, which can also cause symptoms in other areas of the body. Peripheral neuropathy is classified into over one hundred types of neuropathies, each of which that has its own unique development and associated symptoms. To better understand neuropathy, we must first understand the peripheral nervous system.
Your nervous system is composed of two parts: the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system (CNS) includes the brain and spinal cord, where the peripheral nervous system (PNS) is connected to the CNS and includes all of the nerves that branch out from the brain and spinal cord that travel to the rest of the body. The PNS transmits sensory information to the brain and spinal cord (CNS) from different areas of the body which help the brain process sensations. The PNS also sends motor impulses from the brain to the muscles, glands, and organs. For instance, the peripheral nerves will send a message to the brain telling it that the bathwater feels too hot when you place your hand in hot water. When a peripheral nerve has been damaged, peripheral neuropathy interferes with these lines of communication, making it difficult for the brain and spinal cord to receive and send vital messages to the affected area. One of the key differences between these two nervous systems is that peripheral nerves have the ability to regenerate naturally while the central nerve cells may not, which affects a person’s ability to heal from nerve damage.
The peripheral nervous system is composed of the spinal nerves, cranial nerves, and all of their nerve branches, totalling 31 nerve pairs:
- Cervical (Neck) Nerves: 8 pairs
- Thoracic (Torso) Nerves: 12 pairs
- Lumbar (Lower back) Nerves: 5 pairs
- Sacral (Sacrum) Nerves: 5 pairs
- Coccygeal (Coccyx) Nerves: 1 pair
Because each nerve has a specific function, peripheral neuropathy symptoms are determined by the type of nerves that have been damaged:
Sensory Nerves (control sensation) – Sensory nerves, or afferent nerves, carry sensory stimulations, or signals, to the central nervous system (CNS) from various sensory receptors in the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The informational signals are experienced externally from forces outside of the body, which cause such sensations of pain, cold, and heat. These signals are carried to the brain and spinal cord.
Sensory Nerve Damage – Sensory nerve damage can trigger many different symptoms including:
- Impaired touch due to reduced sensation (generally occurs in the hands and feet).
- Loss of reflexes.
- Decrease in coordination and balance.
- Reduced or total inability to feel pain or temperature changes.
- Emotional and mental strain.
- Reduced quality of life.
Motor Nerves (control movement) – Motor nerves, or efferent nerves, transmit impulses from the brain or spinal cord in the central nervous system to soft tissues in the body such as muscles and glands.
Motor Nerve Damage – These are the most common symptoms that occur when motor nerves are damaged:
- Muscle weakness and fatigue.
- Painful muscle cramping.
- Muscle atrophy (when muscle size is significantly reduced).
- Loss of reflexes.
- Fasciculations and tremors (visible, uncontrolled muscle twitching).
Autonomic Nerves (control functions) – The autonomic nervous system is part of the peripheral nervous system that functions automatically (autonomously) and mostly unconsciously. This system controls certain body processes such as heart rate, respiratory rate, breathing, digestion, fluid glands, urination, and defecation.
Autonomic Nerve Damage – Because the autonomic nervous system regulates nearly every organ in the body, the symptoms of nerve damage are highly diverse and may include:
- Irregular blood pressure levels that result in dizziness, fainting, lightheadedness, and irregular heartbeats.
- Overactive bladder, underactive bladder (urine retention), or loss of bladder control.
- Inability to sweat and tolerate heat.
- Difficulty with eating and swallowing.
- Feeling prematurely full after eating.
- Problems with bowels such as constipation, diarrhea, and incontinence.
- Difficulty with vision when moving between light and dark spaces.
There are many common symptoms associated with peripheral neuropathy, including but not limited to the following:
- Numbness, tingling, and pins and needles that may worsen over time. These sensations usually begin in the feet and hands and spread to the legs and arms.
- Pain that may be moderate to severe and worsen over time. Pain may be sharp, burning, throbbing, or may feel like a sharp electrical sensation. Pain is usually worse at night.
- Muscle and joint weakness.
- Ache and discomfort in nerves, muscles, joints, and other tissues.
- Cramping that may include muscle spasm.
- Difficulty walking, sitting, or standing.
- Trouble wearing socks and shoes.
- Difficulty with finger, arm, and hand movements including gripping objects.
- Extreme pain and/or sensitivity to touch.
- Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures.
- Difficulty with balance and coordination, which can sometimes result in falling.
- Digestive issues with bowel and bladder.
- Blood pressure changes are common when the autonomic nerves have been damaged.
If you or a loved one are experiencing these or other symptoms of nerve damage, call Advanced Medical of Nashville to meet with our specialists and begin immediate neuropathy treatment in Nashville.
Peripheral neuropathies can either be acquired through an injury or trauma, or inherited through diseases and hereditary disorders, associated treatments for these conditions, and through exposure to harmful toxins.
Neuropathies Caused By Injury or Trauma
- Auto, sports, or work-related injuries
- Personal injuries such as a fall
- Surgical procedures
- Broken or dislocated bones can cause minor nerve damage
- Nerve damage from repetitive motions and/or overuse
Neuropathies Caused By Disease or Disorders
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Nerve disorders
- Neuropathy from chemotherapy treatments
- Autoimmune diseases
- Neuromas (tumors)
Exposure to Toxins
- Exposure to industrial or environmental toxins
- Heavy and/or long term alcohol consumption
These are just a few of the most common causes of nerve damage and peripheral neuropathy. If you or someone you know has experienced an injury, disease or disorder, or has been exposed to toxins, and is experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, please call Advanced Medical of Nashville to schedule an appointment for safe and effective neuropathy treatment in Nashville.
Along with the neuropathy treatment you are receiving with us at Advanced Medical, there are many strategies for managing your nerve pain at home using various self-care techniques. These methods can relieve pain and may even help prevent further problems. Many of these techniques may even stimulate your body’s natural pain-relieving abilities. Here are some self-care treatments to consider when managing nerve pain at home.
Walking is an excellent way to encourage circulation and blood flow that stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain relieving hormones. Plus, walking enhances blood flow to the nerves in the legs and feet, which can help heal damaged nerves that are causing you pain and discomfort. Begin your walking regimen with shorter, slower walks and gradually work your way up to longer walks at a quicker pace.
Exercise is another way to stimulate cardiovascular health and circulation, which triggers the release of the body’s natural “feel good” hormones. Getting regular exercise doesn’t mean you should overexert yourself — low impact workouts such as swimming and water aerobics, walking,stretching, yoga, and even going on a low pace bike ride can get your heart rate and blood going. Check with your neuropathy specialist before starting a workout routine to determine which exercises may be best for your specific needs and goals.
Get Good, Deep Sleep
Oftentimes, nerve pain can be worse at night which is not only uncomfortable, but can also interrupt healthy sleeping patterns. The body needs sleep to heal, so it is essential to get a good night’s sleep. Try to avoid additional triggers that may disrupt your sleep. Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages after 2 p.m., eat a light dinner when eating close to bedtime, maintain a consistent bedtime schedule, and keep your bedroom at a comfortable sleeping temperature that isn’t too hot — usually right around 68 degrees or so.
Use Essential Oils
Essential oils are derived from plants which offer numerous health benefits, both topically and aromatic. For instance, peppermint, lavender, and eucalyptus oils have all-natural healing properties that can relieve aches and pains associated with nerve pain. Peppermint, lavender, and eucalyptus are each recognized as an analgesic, antispasmodic, and anti-inflammatory healing aid for lower back and sciatica nerve pain, and nerve pain in the legs, feet, and ankles. Lavender can also relieve stress and anxiety while encouraging relaxation, which can help you get to sleep. Because eucalyptus is linked to improving circulation, some practitioners believe that eucalyptus may even direct healthy blood flow to relieve an area in pain.
Take a Soak
Aside from being incredibly comforting, soothing, and relaxing, a warm bath will temporarily stimulate blood flow to legs and extremities in pain, which can relieve discomfort. You must be careful when using warm and hot temperatures, however, as this can irritate inflamed muscles, joints, and nerves. Draw a nice warm bath infused with lavender, peppermint, or eucalyptus oil before heading to bed to soothe your body, mind, and soul, and help you get a better night’s sleep.
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol is considered an inflammatory beverage that can contribute to nerve pain, joint pain, and other painful conditions. It’s best to avoid alcohol altogether if you suffer from nerve pain, and if you do enjoy an adult beverage now and then, it’s best to do so in moderation.