When diagnosed with a condition such as neuropathy every day is spent in pain and when there is a day where pain is minimal this is a huge mile stone in the life of a neuropathic patient. The process of diagnosing neuropathy can be a long and tedious one but worth it. If one can diagnose neuropathy quick enough a treatment plan can be quickly implemented and further nerve damage can be halted. It is important that if one feels he or she may be experiencing neuropathy symptoms that he or she seeks the advice and counsel from a medical professional. Diagnosing neuropathy can be tricky and is a rather lengthy process so if there is reason for concern it is imperative that you seek out medical attention quickly to begin the diagnosing process.
The first step a physician will take in diagnosing neuropathy will be to administer a full body physiological exam. Your doctor will want to compile your medical history compare it with your physical results before going further with testing.
If there is a need for further testing, one can assume the following tests will be administered:
- Detailed neurological exam that focuses on tendon reflexes and coordination. The test results will either prove or disprove if the nerves are responding correctly.
- An Electromyography (EMG) – this records muscle tissue and its electrical activity. An EMG test can determine if the symptoms you are expressing concern over are truly neuropathic related or a muscle disease.
- Nerve Conduction Test (NCV) – this tests the speed of which impulses travel through the nerves.
Once a diagnosis has been made, follow-up care will be needed in order to discuss neuropathy treatment and how to cope with life after diagnosis.
Life After Diagnosis
Life after diagnosis does not get easier in fact the real work begins after being diagnosed. Now that the individual knows that he or she is suffering from nerve damage the next step is determining a treatment plan that will help relieve the pain without causing further complications. Peripheral Neuropathy is a condition that will have an effect on an individual’s life and if not treated could have a severely negative effect. The pain and symptoms that are common place with neuropathy limit one’s mobility and ability to function in normal life situations. For instance, numbness is a symptom of neuropathy and can limit the patient’s ability to sense or feel terrain changes – risking further injury. Neuropathy symptoms have an implication on one’s social, vocational and functional life possibly causing the neuropathy patient to suffer with feelings of anxiety and depression.
Normal everyday activities and hobbies become threatened as neuropathic pains creep in and begin to signal painful sensations throughout the damaged nerves. Household responsibilities as simple as washing dishes become bothersome and painful. Fun leisure activities like dancing and walking on the beach become sidelined until something can be done about the chronic pain. Sitting down and reliving pressure from the feet are how most neuropathy patients treat neuropathy pain. However, though staying off sore, numb feet may sound comforting the truth is the less use the limbs and joints receive the less ability they will have to work.
Risks Unless Treatment Is Sought
When muscles are not exercised or used, they become stiff and lose their range of motion. Neuropathy can cause muscle weakness as well as muscle stiffness which means if not treated neuropathy could lead an individual into a life of immobility and complete loss of freedom. It may be bothersome to stay on ones feet while experiencing neuropathy in feet, however the alternative is much worse I can promise you that.
Treatment To Keep Mobile
A neuropathy cure is not an option at this point so rather than lose sight wishing for a neuropathy cure one must take imitative and find a treatment plan that will help prevent a loss of mobility.
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
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.
Massage Therapy by 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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