Dr. Matthew Gianforte
Problems with Standard Neuropathy Treatment
Many people live with neuropathy pain for far too long before finding the solutions that work best for them. Standard treatment for Peripheral Neuropathy does absolutely nothing at the places nerve pain or damage is actually occurring. Yes, you read that correctly. It is shocking that the treatment most commonly offered are medications that only trick the brain and don’t solve the problem. The problems with standard treatment is in the medications used and misunderstanding of how nerve cells work, and can work better when properly supported.
Standard Medications For Neuropathy
Drugs like lyrica, gabapentin, and neurontin were designed for epilepsy to slow the brain down. While these medications can be life-saving and protect precious brain function in those with seizures, they are not actually designed for PN. However, they are the “go to” treatment for Peripheral Neuropathy.
These medications trick the brain into not perceiving pain, while the disease itself, which is causing the pain, continues to progress. By the brain telling the nerves there is no pain, does not mean the nerve is not still being damaged by an underlying disease process. This ability for the medication to take away some of the pain but not actually fix the reason the pain occurs is why the medications eventually stop working.
The disease gets worse and the medication no longer is as effective. Anti-seizure medications are sometimes used in combination with NSAIDs and even narcotics. The side effects of which can leave you with even more side effects and a disease that continues to worsen. This is then where a doctor might prescribe a medication to treat the side effect of another medication.
The Problem With Opioid Drugs
The pain of neuropathy can be quite severe to the point that opioid drugs may be prescribed. It is important to remember that up to 50% of people who take opioids become addicted and there is no way to tell ahead of time which 50% you will be. Particularly for those suffering from PN at younger and younger ages, avoiding opioid drugs is paramount in long term health.
The opioid overdose crisis in America is real, and it affects every socio-economic and social stratus across the West. In fact, statistics show that about 80% of people who use heroin, misused opioid drugs first. Most people who are addicted to opioids began using them through legal prescriptions with appropriate diagnosis of pain related disorders given by well-meaning doctors.
Far too many practitioners simply don’t understand nerve pain and neuropathy, and therefore do not offer simple, straight forward solutions that can both get you out of pain and stop your disease progression. Misunderstanding, or simply not knowing the available treatments for PN that do not requires anti-seizure medications or opioid drugs is where standard treatment has failed PN patients.
Perhaps what is most misunderstood about peripheral neuropathy, nerves, and therefore the treatment is that nerves can get better when they are sick. Not all the time, but much of the time. There is a common misunderstanding that there is nothing that can be done for peripheral neuropathy except manage the pain. While pain management is important, and we do that quite well at LifeWorks without narcotics, restoring as much function back to the damaged nerve system is where the real relief will be found.
Another way peripheral neuropathy is misunderstood is in thinking that if the medication makes the pain go away, then the disease is not getting worse. This is simply not true. If the inflammatory drivers such as autoimmune disease, diabetes, or hormone imbalance are not being corrected, then the disease continues to progress. Covering up the pain with a medication that tricks the brain into not feeling the pain, does not mean that the nerve is no longer being damaged. It just means you don’t feel the damage.
Medication shortcuts and misunderstandings around the possibilities in treatment for Peripheral Neuropathy have left many people unsatisfied with standard treatment options and still in pain or discomfort. LifeWorks Integrative Health offers a variety of treatment modalities in order to find the best options for your unique presentation of PN.
If you suffer from any level of pain, numbness, tingling, or discomfort from neuropathy, it is important to understand the problem with standard treatment. LifeWorks Integrative Health has natural pain relief options for those suffering from neuropathy and the knowledgeable team to address the underlying conditions causing your neuropathy using a combination of pain management, physical medicine, chiropractic care, and physical rehab.
Wondering if you are a candidate for this new comprehensive neuropathy treatment? If you are experiencing symptoms of peripheral neuropathy contact us today to schedule a free consultation (including a 16-Point Nerve Assessment) to learn more about this comprehensive approach for treating the root cause of neuropathy, rather than continuing to mask the symptoms as your condition gets worse.