Peripheral neuropathy is a serious condition that affects more than 50 percent of those diagnosed with diabetes. Due to high blood sugar levels, the disease can lead to irreversible nerve damage. Which nerves are typically damaged? Those located in the legs and feet. However, patients may also face nerve damage in the bladder, kidneys, and other body parts.
These patients want to know: “Can a chiropractor help with peripheral neuropathy?” It’s time for you to give them the answers and care plan they need. Let’s explore chiropractic care for peripheral neuropathy.
Can a Chiropractor Help With Peripheral Neuropathy?
How many patients diagnosed with diabetes do you see daily? How many struggle with numbness or pain in their legs and feet? It’s time to have a discussion with them about diabetic neuropathy and strategies for managing it.
Besides loss of sensation in the extremities, neuropathy symptoms may include problems with the heart, blood vessels, or urinary tract. Often, the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy are deceptively mild in the beginning. But they can become severe, debilitating, and life-changing over time.
Left untreated, the condition will progress, leading to a heightened risk of infection and even amputation. But these dire outcomes don’t have to be inevitable. That’s where your chiropractic clinic comes into the picture.
Diabetic Neuropathy 101
Your patients and their caregivers should understand that diabetic neuropathy symptoms often come on gradually. Due to this slow onset, significant nerve damage can happen before a formal diagnosis occurs.
Four main types of diabetic neuropathy exist. They include:
These various neuropathies impact the body in different ways. As a result, patients may be diagnosed with more than one version of the condition.
Diabetic Neuropathy Risk Factors
Individuals living with diabetes are at increased risk of developing neuropathy. But other factors may ramp up the level of nerve damage they endure. They include:
Uncontrolled blood sugar is among the leading causes of nerve damage. For this reason, making healthy eating choices should be at the top of your patients’ priority list. Patients should also realize that the longer they’ve had diabetes, the more likely they will experience nerve damage.
Other risk factors associated with neuropathy include kidney damage, often resulting from diabetes. When this occurs, the body releases toxins into the bloodstream, further impacting kidney function.
Patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher may also be at higher risk of neuropathic degeneration. And smoking hardens and narrows arteries, reducing blood flow to the legs and feet. Remember, peripheral neuropathy is ultimately a micro-circulation problem. So, lifestyle habits or conditions that impact circulation contribute to neuropathy, too.
Complications of Diabetic Neuropathy
Diabetic neuropathy leads to severe complications, yet many patients remain unaware of the potential threats they face until it’s too late. One example of this? The condition may lead to hypoglycemia unawareness.
This happens when blood sugar levels drop below 70 milligrams per deciliter, and symptoms include a fast heartbeat, sweating, and shakiness. Diabetic neuropathy may also lead to incontinence or urinary tract infections when the bladder’s nerves get damaged. This impacts a patient’s ability to know when they need to urinate.
Peripheral neuropathy may also contribute to low blood pressure, which can mean dizziness and fainting spells. Some patients complain of sexual dysfunction, digestive problems (like indigestion and bloating), and changes in perspiration patterns. As previously mentioned, the specter of amputation in the lower extremities also hangs over those with neuropathy.
How to Prevent and Manage Peripheral Neuropathy
Can a chiropractor help with peripheral neuropathy? Yes, you can help your patients manage peripheral neuropathy. But only if you’re up-to-date on the latest research and know about the NeuropaCalm Care Program and how it works.
For some, proper foot care and blood sugar management may prevent neuropathy. And for your patients already suffering from neuropathy, restored quality of life and symptomatic relief may be possible.
Staying proactive proves critical, and that’s where you come in. Offer your patients and their caregivers the NeuropaCalm Care Plan, a therapeutic and patient-centered approach to improving circulation and nerve cell regeneration. Contact us today to find out how to add this test-to-treat, at-home, cash-based care program to your list of chiropractic care services.