Diagnosing Peripheral Neuropathy
There are many tests that can be done to find out if you have peripheral neuropathy. Your doctor will firstly assess your health by conducting a physical exam and discuss your medical history with you. Other tests such as electromyography and nerve conduction studies can then be done to confirm the diagnosis.
Electromyography is when a small needle is placed into a muscle, which you will then gently move. The needle will measure the amount of electricity as you move your muscle, to see how your nerve signals are interacting with your muscles.
Nerve conduction studies use electrodes, which are placed on your skin. They pulse electricity through your nerves in minute amounts, to analyse whether the nerves are transmitting signals correctly or not.
Treating Peripheral Neuropathy
There are many options available for peripheral neuropathy treatment. Most of these focus on treating the underlying cause, which may be another disease, an injury or even a vitamin deficiency. Some of the treatments include medications, blood transfusion, transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation (TENS), casts, taking precautions and self-care.
Medications for peripheral neuropathy treatment can range from over-the-counter medications like oral pain medications and topical creams, to prescription medications like narcotics, antiepileptic medications and antidepressants. However, as with most medications, there is usually the risk of side effects, especially if they are used for extended periods of time.
Medical treatments such as plasmapheresis (a type of blood transfusion) may be used if antibodies in your bloodstream are suspected of causing the irritation.
Transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation (TENS) is a good treatment for peripheral neuropathy, as an alternative to taking medications. This treatment interrupts the transmission of pain signals from nerves to the brain, by applying small amounts of electricity through electrodes placed on the skin.
If peripheral neuropathy affects your muscles, you may find it helpful to use a cast or splint to provide stability and support. This can also help reduce pain. It may also help to take extra precautions in daily life, like using thermometers to test the temperature of water, using gloves when touching hot items, and keeping safety guards on knives. This will help avoid accidents, which are potentially riskier for people suffering from peripheral neuropathy.
There are also many self-care peripheral neuropathy treatments you can try. Just a few of these include massages, avoiding caffeine, going to sleep at the same time every night, heat packs, and foot baths with chamomile or nettles.
Chinese Medicine for Peripheral Neuropathy Treatment
Traditional Chinese Medicine helps treat conditions like peripheral neuropathy by getting to the root cause of the problem. In Chinese Medicine, all the organs of the body work together, hence when there are imbalances in the functioning of the organs, this can cause symptoms in other parts of the body. To see what is causing the problem, a Chinese Doctor will ask questions about the nature of your symptoms and take your pulse, and from there develop a specialised treatment plan for you. Even though people may have similar symptoms for an issue such as neuropathy, everyone is different so it’s likely that everyone will need slightly different treatment.
Chinese herbal medicine as well as acupuncture can help to rebalance the body’s systems, so that the root cause is healed. This helps to reduce and even remove all the symptoms of problems such as neuropathy. And the benefit of treating peripheral neuropathy with acupuncture is that there are little to no side effects!
Please see our website at https://balancetcm.co.nz/traditional-chinese-medicine-hamilton/ for more information about how Chinese Medicine can help improve your health. For more information about Chinese Medicine and neuropathy, see our webpage at https://balancetcm.co.nz/category/a-z-diseases/neuropathy/.
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Phua, S. (n.d.). What Is Traditional Chinese Medicine? Centre of Balance Hamilton: Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine. https://balancetcm.co.nz/traditional-chinese-medicine-hamilton/
Centre of Balance Hamilton: Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine (n.d.). Archive for category: Neuropathy. https://balancetcm.co.nz/category/a-z-diseases/neuropathy/
Carey, E. (2021, October 5). Peripheral Neuropathy. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/peripheral-neuropathy