Can a Chiropractor Help with Neuropathy?

a patient with peripheral neuropathy being helped by a chiropractor

Neuropathy can be like an unwelcome guest that overstays its welcome, bringing pain, tingling, and numbness to your daily life.

It’s like your body’s alarm system constantly going off without a clear way to switch it off. People mostly have tried traditional therapies with no use. This is why many are starting to ask, Can a Chiropractor Help with Neuropathy?

In the search for a victorious hand in this battle with nerve pain, it’s worth exploring how chiropractic care may hold the potential to quiet those alarms and bring back the comfort you’ve been missing.

Come along as we explore how chiropractic care can bring relief to the nerve pain and discomfort of neuropathy.

What is Neuropathy?

Neuropathy is like a mysterious whisper in the nerves that can turn into a scream without any notice.

At its core, it’s when the nerves in our body – the messengers that tell our brain what we feel – are hurt, sick, or just not working right.
Imagine a phone line that’s crackling and breaking up; messages get mixed up, or sometimes they don’t get through at all.

That’s what happens with neuropathy. Your hands or feet might feel numb or tingle as if they fell asleep.

And sometimes, even when there’s no reason for pain, the body feels it. It’s like your limbs are speaking a language that your brain can’t understand, causing confusion, anxiety, and discomfort.

Symptoms

It isn’t a one-size-fits-all problem; each person with neuropathy hears a different kind of noise from their nerves.

  1. Numbness  in the hands or feet, often feeling like they’re “asleep.”
  2. Tingling or burning sensations that may come and go or be constant
  3. Pain that is sharp, jabbing, or can feel like electric shocks
  4. Muscle weakness.
  5. Loss of coordination and balance, leading to stumbling or trouble with grip.

Causes

Neuropathy can occur secondary to the following problems:

  1. Diabetes
  2. Trauma 
  3. Some sicknesses caused by germs, like shingles or HIV, can attack the nerves.
  4. Anticancer drugs such as vincristine or bortezomib.
  5. Over time, having too much alcohol.
  6. Vitamin deficiency of B-12
  7. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  8. Chronic kidney disease
  9. Gullian-Barre Syndrome
  10. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Stages of Neuropathy

When talking about neuropathy, it’s like telling the story of a quiet storm that grows louder over time.

Different stages describe how this storm evolves.

1. Early Stage: 

In the beginning, it’s like a hint of numbness in your toes or fingertips – a strange feeling but not too bad. You might feel a slight tingling or a bit of pain now and then. It’s easy to miss or shrug off this early whisper of neuropathy.

2. Moderate Stage:

As time goes on, these whispers become talks. The tingling or numbness might happen more often and come with sharper pain, like sudden zaps. You may start to feel weak in your hands or feet, making it tougher to do simple tasks.

3. Advanced Stage:

By now, the talks have turned into shouts. The pain might get really bad, and the numbness can spread. You might feel weaker or start tripping or dropping things. It’s harder to ignore neuropathy when it gets loud like this.

How Can a Chiropractor Help with Neuropathy?

motor examination by a chiropractor

Neuropathy, a condition characterized by nerve damage often resulting in pain, numbness, and weakness, can significantly impair daily life.

Traditional medical approaches often focus on managing symptoms, but many seek alternative therapies for lasting relief and healing.

If you’re grappling with neuropathy’s uncomfortable symptoms and looking for a holistic approach, read on to understand how chiropractic care might be the key to your well-being.

Diagnosis

To effectively diagnose neuropathy, a comprehensive approach is essential, encompassing both clinical and laboratory evaluations.

Examination

Sensory

Evaluation of sensory nerves is conducted through various tests that assess touch perception, vibration sensation, and pain response. Patients may be asked to report differences experienced in sharp versus dull sensations or respond to temperature changes.

Motor

Motor examination focuses on muscle strength, tone, and control. Practitioners may observe the patient’s gait, coordination, and ability to perform tasks that require fine motor skills to detect abnormalities.

Reflexes

Reflex tests play a key role in checking the health of nerve paths. These tests look both deep within and on the surface. For instance, when a doctor taps the knee and it kicks out, it shows how well the motor nerves are working.

On the other hand, simple tests on the skin, such as gently brushing the belly area to see if the muscles tighten, help us understand the condition of the sensory nerves.

LABS

Key laboratory tests for diagnosing neuropathy include:

  • HBA1C 
  • Fasting Blood Glucose
  • CBC 
  • Thyroid Profile

Radiological Investigations

Following radiographs are prescribed to see any spinal compressions or deformities:

  • MRI spine
  • CT spine
  • X-ray spine

After evaluation and reaching down to the definitive cause, let’s have a look at how a chiropractor helps with neuropathy.

Cold Laser Therapy

One innovative treatment that chiropractors use for neuropathy is cold laser therapy, also known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT). This non-invasive technique employs specific wavelengths of light to interact with tissue and is believed to help accelerate the healing process. 

Cold laser therapy may aid in reducing pain and inflammation, improving circulation, and promoting nerve function, offering a painless and side-effect-free alternative to drug-based treatments.

Adjustments and Manipulation

Chiropractic adjustments and manipulation techniques address musculoskeletal misalignments, which could be contributing factors to nerve irritation and neuropathic pain. 

A chiropractor may use their hands or instruments to perform precise adjustments to the spine and other parts of the body. These adjustments can release pinched nerves, improve spinal health, and facilitate better nerve signal transmission.

Spinal Decompression

Spinal decompression therapy involves a motorized device that gently stretches the spine, potentially relieving pressure on compressed nerves and promoting improved nutrient exchange within spinal discs. 

For individuals suffering from neuropathy, especially those whose condition is attributed to herniated discs or spinal stenosis, chiropractic care can significantly alleviate symptoms.

Therapeutic Ultrasound

Therapeutic ultrasound, a treatment modality used by chiropractors, uses sound waves to deliver deep heat to soft tissues, including muscles and ligaments. 

This method may reduce pain, swelling, and muscle spasms and, at the same time, increase blood flow to assist in the healing process of the affected nerves.

Nutritional Counseling

Not getting enough of certain nutrients can make neuropathy worse; chiropractors also advise on what to eat to help your nerves stay healthy.

They might suggest eating differently or taking extra vitamins to help your nerves get better and lower swelling. This could mean adding stuff like B vitamins, fish oils, or alpha-lipoic acid to your diet.

Exercises

Furthermore, chiropractors may recommend targeted exercises to address the muscle weakness and balance challenges frequently linked with neuropathy. Strengthening exercises aim to bolster the muscles supporting affected areas, enhancing the body’s stability and resilience.

Concurrently, exercises designed to improve balance can substantially reduce the likelihood of falls, thereby enhancing patients’ mobility and contributing to a superior quality of life.

Can a Chiropractor help with Peripheral Neuropathy?

Yes, a chiropractor can help with nerve pain in your arms and legs, which is called peripheral neuropathy. Chiropractors work on your spine – the bony tunnel that keeps your spinal cord safe.

If your spine isn’t straight or if it’s hurt, it can pinch the nerves that go to your arms and legs. That can make your neuropathy worse.

Chiropractors do special moves called adjustments to fix your curving of the spine or many other misalignments. This can help take the pressure off your nerves and might make you feel better.

It’s like opening a gate that was blocking the road so everything can move smoothly again.

Natural Remedies for Neuropathy

Sometimes, the best healing comes from nature. Below, we’ll look into some simple, natural remedies that can help soothe the aches and itches of neuropathy.

These are things you can try at home, like using herbs or getting more of certain vitamins to help your nerves feel better.

It’s all about finding gentle ways to calm the nerve pain and give your body what it needs to heal from the inside out.

  • Control Blood Sugar: For those with diabetic neuropathy, managing blood sugar levels is crucial. Consistent monitoring and adherence to a diabetic care plan can prevent further nerve damage.
  • Quit Smoking: Smoking restricts blood flow to the veins and arteries, potentially aggravating neuropathic pain. Kicking this habit can improve circulation.
  • Massage: Massage can relieve muscle tension, improve circulation, and reduce the stress that may exacerbate neuropathy symptoms.
  • Warm Bath: Soaking in a warm bath can increase blood circulation and reduce the pain and discomfort associated with neuropathy.
  • Essential Oils: Oils like lavender, chamomile, or peppermint, used in aromatherapy or applied topically, can provide relief from neuropathic pain for some people.
  • Mind-Body Practices: Techniques such as meditation, yoga, and tai chi can reduce stress and pain perception through a combination of movement, breathing, and relaxation.

Case Study

Patient Profile

John Doe, a 58-year-old software developer, has struggled with diabetes for the past 15 years. 

Presenting Complaints

John reported a gradual onset of symptoms over several months, including sharp, shooting pains in his feet, which worsened at night, causing sleep disturbances and affecting his quality of life.

Treatment

John sought chiropractic care, wherein his chiropractor designed a treatment plan that included gentle spinal adjustments, therapeutic exercises, and nutrition counseling aimed at improving nerve function and managing his blood sugar levels.

Progression

Over a series of appointments spanning eight weeks, John’s symptoms of neuropathy showed marked improvement. He reported a significant reduction in pain and a regained sense of balance and strength in his feet, allowing him to return to his daily walks.

FAQs

1. What kind of treatments does a chiropractor offer for nerve pain?

A chiropractor offers treatments like spine and joint adjustments, massage therapy, and personalized exercise recommendations that may help reduce nerve pain.

2. How often should I see a chiropractor for peripheral neuropathy?

The frequency of visits to a chiropractor can vary depending on your particular condition. It’s best to consult with the chiropractor for a care plan that’s made for you.

3. Will chiropractic adjustments hurt if I have peripheral neuropathy?

Certainly not, chiropractic adjustments should not cause pain, even if you have peripheral neuropathy. Your chiropractor will take extra care to ensure that the techniques used are gentle and appropriate for your level of sensitivity, aiming for a comfortable and pain-free experience throughout your treatment.

4. Can lifestyle changes really make a difference in nerve health?

Absolutely, lifestyle changes like a healthy diet, exercise, and not smoking can significantly support nerve health and improve symptoms of peripheral numbness.

In a Nutshell

In the journey to find relief from nerve pain, many have asked, Can a chiropractor help with neuropathy?

The answer, bathed in the optimism of natural healing, sparkles with possibility.

Through the careful hands of a chiropractor and the warm embrace of lifestyle changes and natural remedies, those haunted by the persistent whispers of neuropathy can find solace and a chance to reclaim the quiet.

To keep exploring the path to wellness, we invite you to read our other blogs at chiropric, where stories of healing continue and the pursuit of a pain-free life marches on.

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