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Common Neuropathy Causes in Nebraska: Understanding the Root of Nerve Pain

A woman with a concerned expression attends a presentation about common causes of neuropathy or nerve pain in the state of Nebraska.

Introduction

If you’re living in Nebraska and suffering from symptoms like numbness, tingling, burning pain, or weakness in your hands or feet, you may have peripheral neuropathy. This condition affects the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord, and can be caused by a variety of underlying health issues. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common causes of neuropathy in Nebraska and discuss treatment options available at Asuta Health in Lincoln.

Key Takeaways

  • Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage that causes symptoms like numbness, tingling, burning pain and weakness
  • Common causes include diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, autoimmune disorders, and certain medications
  • Asuta Health offers cutting-edge neuropathy treatments in Lincoln, NE without surgery or medications
  • A comprehensive diagnostic process looks at blood flow, nerve function, and brain-based pain
  • Treatment focuses on optimizing nerve healing, increasing blood flow, stimulating damaged nerves, and decreasing brain-based pain

What is Peripheral Neuropathy?

An illustration depicting hands with roots emerging, symbolizing the resilience and determination needed to overcome the challenges of neuropathy, a condition characterized by nerve pain.

Peripheral neuropathy refers to damage or dysfunction of the peripheral nerves – the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord that relay messages between the central nervous system and the rest of the body. This can lead to a variety of symptoms depending on the type of nerves affected:

Nerve Type Function Neuropathy Symptoms
Sensory nerves Transmit sensations like temperature, pain, vibration or touch from the skin Numbness, tingling, burning pain, increased sensitivity
Motor nerves Control muscle movement Muscle weakness, cramps, twitching, decreased reflexes
Autonomic nerves Control involuntary functions like blood pressure, digestion, bladder function Dizziness, digestive issues, heat intolerance, bladder problems

Peripheral neuropathy can involve damage to just one nerve (mononeuropathy) or multiple nerves (polyneuropathy). The symptoms usually start gradually, first in the toes or fingers, and spread upwards over time. Severe neuropathy can significantly impact quality of life and lead to complications like skin trauma, infections, and falls.

Common Causes of Neuropathy in Nebraska

A woman with a concerned expression stands at a medical conference on common neuropathy causes and understanding nerve pain in Nebraska.

Diabetes

One of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy, both in Nebraska and worldwide, is diabetes. High blood sugar levels over time can damage the small blood vessels that supply the nerves, leading to diabetic neuropathy. According to the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services, over 8% of adults in Nebraska have diagnosed diabetes.

Diabetic neuropathy can take several forms: – Peripheral neuropathy: Affects the feet and hands – Autonomic neuropathy: Affects the nerves controlling involuntary functions – Focal neuropathy: Damages a single nerve or nerve group causing sudden weakness – Proximal neuropathy: Causes pain in the hips, thighs, or buttocks

Strict blood sugar control through diet, exercise, and medication is key to preventing and managing diabetic nerve damage. Regular foot exams are also important to identify problems early.

Vitamin Deficiencies

Deficiencies of certain vitamins, especially the B-vitamins, can cause neuropathy:

  • Vitamin B12 deficiency is common, especially in older adults. B12 is important for maintaining the myelin sheath that surrounds and protects nerves. Deficiency can cause sensory neuropathy.
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency, sometimes caused by excessive alcohol use, can lead to nerve damage. Severe deficiency may cause Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome with symptoms like confusion, vision changes, and difficulty walking.
  • Vitamin B9 (folate) deficiency in pregnancy has been linked to fetal neural tube defects. Folate supplementation is important for preventing neuropathy in both mother and baby.

Treatment involves replenishing low vitamin levels through diet changes or supplementation. Foods rich in B-vitamins include meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, and fortified grains. Severe deficiencies may require intramuscular injections or infusions.

Autoimmune Disorders

Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues, including nerves. Some autoimmune conditions that can cause neuropathy include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis: Inflammation can compress nerves, especially in the hands and feet. The disease process may also directly damage nerves.
  • Lupus: Nerve damage is a common symptom, with numbness and tingling in the arms and legs. Rarely, lupus can cause severe inflammation of the spinal cord.
  • Sjögren’s syndrome: This condition primarily affects the eyes and mouth, but can also cause neuropathy with burning, tingling, and numbness in the extremities.
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome: This rare disorder causes rapid-onset muscle weakness and paralysis. It occurs when the immune system attacks the peripheral nerves.

Treatment typically involves medications to suppress the immune system and reduce inflammation. This may include corticosteroids, disease-modifying drugs, or intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) therapy. Physical therapy can help maintain muscle strength and function.

Medications

Certain medications can cause peripheral neuropathy as a side effect. Some common culprits include:

  • Chemotherapy drugs like cisplatin, vincristine, and paclitaxel can cause numbness and tingling that may persist after treatment ends.
  • Anticonvulsants used to treat seizures or chronic pain, such as phenytoin or carbamazepine, may cause nerve damage at high doses.
  • Certain antibiotics in the fluoroquinolone class, like ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin, carry a risk of peripheral neuropathy.
  • HIV medications in the nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) class can cause neuropathy, especially stavudine and didanosine.

If medication-induced neuropathy is suspected, the offending drug is usually discontinued or switched to an alternative if possible. Symptoms may improve after stopping the medication, but nerve damage is sometimes permanent. Complementary therapies like supplements, topical medications, and electrical stimulation may help manage symptoms.

How Asuta Health Can Help

An illustration of hands with red veins or nerves radiating outward, surrounded by yellow rays indicating pain or discomfort, relating to neuropathy or nerve pain.

At Asuta Health in Lincoln, NE, we specialize in treating peripheral neuropathy using cutting-edge, non-invasive therapies. Our approach targets the root causes of nerve damage to relieve symptoms and promote healing.

The first step is a thorough diagnostic evaluation to determine the underlying cause of your neuropathy. This includes: 1. A detailed health history and neurological exam 2. Diagnostic tests to assess blood flow and nerve function 3. Analysis of brain-based pain mechanisms

Based on the results, we develop a personalized treatment plan combining up to 8 different state-of-the-art therapies. The goals of treatment are: 1. Optimize the body’s environment for nerve healing 2. Increase blood flow to damaged nerves 3. Stimulate affected sensory, motor, and autonomic nerves 4. Decrease brain-based pain signals

Some of the advanced therapies we offer include: – High-intensity laser therapy to reduce inflammation and promote tissue repair – Electrical nerve stimulation to improve signaling between nerves and the brain – Vibration therapy to stimulate sensory receptors and increase blood flow – Physical therapy exercises to maintain strength, flexibility, and balance – Nutritional support to correct vitamin deficiencies and optimize nerve health

Most patients experience significant symptom relief within 6-12 weeks of starting treatment at Asuta Health. Our success stories highlight how our approach has helped countless Nebraskans overcome peripheral neuropathy and reclaim their quality of life.

Conclusion

Peripheral neuropathy is a complex condition with many potential causes, from diabetes and autoimmune disease to medication side effects and vitamin deficiencies. If you’re one of the many Nebraskans struggling with neuropathy symptoms, don’t lose hope – effective treatment options are available. At Asuta Health, our multidisciplinary team is dedicated to identifying the root cause of your nerve damage and developing a personalized plan to relieve pain, improve function, and help you get back to the activities you love. Take the first step on the road to recovery by scheduling a consultation at our Lincoln clinic today.

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