The most well known causes of neuropathy are a complication of diabetes and a side effect of some types of chemotherapy. However many people have neuropathy for a variety of other reasons. These other reasons are often overlooked until they are quite severe because you just may not be looking for symptoms of neuropathy. Read more about what is neuropathy and symptoms of neuropathy here. It is important to consider neuropathy as a potential complications of other conditions and also understand ways to solve neuropathy pain.
A study in 2013 from a neuropathy study found that those who were overweight and had high triglycerides significantly increased the risk of neuropathy aside from blood sugar levels. Being overweight puts strain on all the body systems and the nerve networks are no different.
Not moving enough can compromise circulation which is the core the issue with neuropathy. When limbs like hands and feet cannot get adequate circulation often enough, nerve damage can occur. Nerves like any other tissue in the body need oxygen to survive. Those with other risk factors for neuropathy should do everything they can to remain active.
Nerve damage is one of the biggest risks of smoking and can lead to or worsen peripheral neuropathy. When nerves are damaged, the brain signals to pain are disrupted and cuts, particularly on the feet go unfelt which can become infected. Smoking makes this process worse and is compounded in the presence of diabetes.
Sjogren’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and Lupus are three autoimmune diseases associated with peripheral neuropathy. When the body attacks its own tissue from an autoimmune reaction, nerve tissue is not excluded. Autoimmune diseases affecting nerves can cause nerve damage that sometimes cannot be reversed which is why finding and treating the root cause of your autoimmune disease is so important.
Mechanical injuries and repetitive movements
With over 100 different types of neuropathy identified the most common single nerve neuropathy is from injuries. Whether from a car accident, work related injury, or from repetitive movements that leads to damage, single neuropathies can cause a lot of pain and difficulty with movement. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is an example of neuropathy that can occur from repetitive movement. Understanding proper muscle movements is part of the expertise of the chiropractic and rehab teams at LifeWorks Integrative Health.
Long term side effects of infections are frequently overlooked, but the virus that causes chickenpox and shingles can lead to nerve pain and even nerve damage. Neuropathy is also a common side effect of HIV. Preventing neuropathy during an infection often comes down to quickly and effectively treating the infection so it is not damaging the body long enough to damage nerves. If nerve damage does occur there are treatment solutions that do not involve NSAIDS and narcotics.
Toxins and heavy metal poisoning
Some heavy metals, chemical solvents, and even medications can be poisoning to the body enough to damage nerves. Arsenic, lead, thallium, and mercury are the biggest culprit of metal toxicity leading to nerve damage. Damage to a nerve can often heal, but if the nerve is damaged too severely, it can essentially “die” and cannot heal or be replaced. Heavy metal and chemical toxicity issues are often mistaken for other issues, or ignored completely. The LifeWorks Integrative Health team understands how heavy metals affect the body and can utilize heavy metal testing to help you prevent nerve damage.
Vitamin B deficiency
Something as simple as B vitamins can both prevent and correct peripheral neuropathy for many people. Particularly after cancer, heavy metal poisoning, or an infection, the body can be depleted so the level that supplemental vitamins are needed. Many people find relief from neuropathy with high quality and professionally dosed B vitamins and can completely avoid the dangerous, and often infective path of NSAIDs and narcotics.
Thyroid and hormone imbalances
Too many people ignore thyroid and hormone imbalances thinking they will eventually correct themselves or you can just live with it. However, rarely do these root causes correct themselves, and most often get worse. The hormone and thyroid systems are part of a complex chemical messaging network in the body, swollen and poorly functioning tissue can damage nerves.
If you suffer from any level of pain, numbness, tingling, or discomfort from neuropathy, it is important to understand the cause and to be alert to conditions that may lead to nerve damage. The team at LifeWorks Integrative Health has natural pain relief options, and the knowledgeable functional medicine, chiropractic, and rehab team to address the underlying conditions causing your neuropathy.