Nerve pain is the result of a condition known as neuropathy. Neuropathy is a complex condition that can have an effect on the body’s nervous system. Neuropathy can be considered a collection of disorders that develop when damaged to the peripheral nervous system occurs. The peripheral nervous system refers to the part of the nervous system outside of the brain and spinal cord; when damage occurs to the nerve cells or nerve axons, it is called peripheral neuropathy. Neuropathy is a painful condition that can have an effect on an individual’s life and their ability to maintain a normal active life.
The symptoms of neuropathy are what create limitations to productivity and normal functionality and are often referred to as nerve pains. Neuropathy, simply said, is when there is a communication breakdown between the brain and spinal cord. When there is a breakdown in communication, it is if static is being heard and the nerve endings are getting mixed messages as to what they should or should not be sensing. The brain is what communicates to the sensory nerves that the burner they are about to touch is hot and the sensory nerves communicates back to the brain that they could sense through touch that the burner is too hot. When this line of communication is not working correctly, an individual has a hard time computing when something is hot or cold, terrain changes and if injury has occurred.
Neuropathy is a chronic disorder that affects close to twenty million men and women in the United States alone. This condition is a serious one and those who have symptoms of neuropathy need to be made aware of the complications that could arise from their lack of neuropathy treatment. Unless a treatment is sought and implemented a neuropathic patient will suffer with severe chronic nerve pain until the pain renders him or her motionless.
Nerve Pain Symptoms
Neuropathy symptoms make it extremely difficult to walk and operate on a normal basis. The inflicted areas become overly sensitive to touch and pressure, therefore nerve pain can become so intense that neuropathic sufferers can make the mistake of becoming inactive in hopes of relieving their neuropathy pain and lessening the symptoms felt be staying off their feet. Nerve pain and symptoms can last for long periods of time unless the underlying cause for neuropathy has been discovered and treated. Nerve pain symptoms are often described as:
- Needle-like pinching
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of coordination
- Sensitivity to touch
- Dull ache
- Involuntary muscle spasms
Neuropathy symptoms differ from patient to patients based on what neuropathy classification they fall into as well as how far their neuropathy has progressed.
Nerve Pain Treatment
Nerve pain treatment is the only way that a neuropathic patient can find relief from the miserable symptoms that plague a neuropathic patient. There are two approaches to neuropathy treatment the first being prescription based and the other being a natural one. Both approaches are known to bring relief but the difference lies within the effect the approach can have. A prescription based treatment plan can bring about severe side effects and leave the neuropathic patient feeling frustrated and further from his or her goal whereas a natural approach helps accomplish the goal – nerve pain relief.
Physical Therapy there is several goals or objectives to participating in physical therapy after being diagnosed with neuropathy.
- Maintaining a full range of motion
- Strengthening muscles that may have been weakened from the effect of neuropathy
Though a neuropathic patient may reach their goal of movement and pain tolerance when walking, it would be unwise to stop participating in physical therapy.
Occupational therapy can assist the patient by teaching valuable new life skills as well as limit the devastating impact that peripheral neuropathy can have on daily life by:
- Improving sensory motor skills
- Educates patients on how to avoid dangerous toxins and prevent exposing themselves to industrial or environmental hazards
- How to self-care
- Educates neuropathy patients on the importance of observation such as terrain changes, safely walking up and down stairs etc.
- How to safely sit, stand and walk that will not risk a drop in blood pressure or cause them to fall.
Adding weekly massage therapy sessions, one can improve blood circulation as well as help loosen stiffened muscles thus providing relief to the damaged area.
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