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How Peripheral Neuropathy Is Diagnosed and Treated

How Peripheral Neuropathy Is Diagnosed and Treated

Do you have mysterious symptoms like sharp, jabbing pain, occasional weakness or numbness, even sensitivity to light touch? You know something’s wrong, but what could it be? 

These are some of the classic signs of peripheral neuropathy or nerve damage. The symptoms vary greatly from person to person, which is why it baffles so many sufferers. But our expert team here at Elite Physical Medicine in Mason, Ohio, Lawrenceburg, Indiana, Hebron, Kentucky, and Batesville, Indiana, specializes in diagnosing and treating this chronic condition. Here’s how we do it.

How do you feel?

The first step in determining what’s causing your symptoms is to understand exactly what you’re experiencing. So, when we ask you how you feel, it’s not just a nicety (although we do care), it’s actually part of the diagnostic process. 

Since every nerve in your body performs a specific function for a specific body part, the way you describe your symptoms gives a wealth of information. 

For example, if you have problems emptying your bladder, you sweat excessively (or not enough), or your blood pressure drops suddenly and you feel dizzy, you may have a problem with your autonomic nerves that control these functions. 

On the other hand, if you find yourself stumbling, falling, or fumbling through simple daily tasks, there might be something wrong with your motor nerves.

Damage to your sensory nerves may show up as burning pain, temperature sensitivity, or a tingling, pins-and-needles sensation.

These nerves all belong to your peripheral nervous system. The symptoms we’ve described are just a few of the many ways peripheral neuropathy manifests itself, which is why it takes experienced medical professionals to diagnose it properly and develop the most effective treatment plan.

How we diagnose peripheral neuropathy

After discussing all your symptoms and learning what we can about when they occur and what triggers them, we take a deep dive into your medical history. Why? Because that’s where we’re likely to find the cause of your symptoms and determine if you have any risk factors for peripheral neuropathy, which include:

  • Injury
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Diabetes
  • Infections
  • Thyroid, kidney, or liver disorders
  • Genetic predisposition 
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Job or hobby that calls for repetitive movements
  • Exposure to toxins

Once we understand the nature of your symptoms and the probable cause of them, we can run specific diagnostic tests for more definitive answers. These may include:

  • Electromyography to check the activity in your muscles
  • Autonomic reflex screen to record how your nerve fibers are functioning
  • Sweat test to check your ability to perspire
  • Sensory tests to record your reaction to touch, vibration, and temperature
  • CT or MRI to look for structural clues, such as a herniated disc or compressed nerve
  • Blood tests to detect nutritional deficiencies and diabetes

These tests help us arrive at the most accurate diagnosis so we can create a personalized treatment plan that addresses your unique symptoms. 

How we treat peripheral neuropathy

At Elite Physical Medicine, we take an interdisciplinary approach to treating your peripheral neuropathy, which means our team is made up of physicians and expert health care professionals from a variety of medical specialties. One thing we have in common is that we’re all passionate about not only treating your condition but about helping you achieve whole-body health and wellness.

Part of this commitment includes minimizing the use of drugs and surgery as much as possible. While there is definitely a place and time for medications and surgical procedures, we offer many treatment options that may help you avoid those extremes. Depending on the type, severity, and cause of your peripheral neuropathy, we may recommend:

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, it’s important to get it diagnosed and treated as soon as possible, because if it progresses past a certain point, it may not be reversible. 

For a comprehensive evaluation, call for an appointment at one of our four locations or book a consultation using our online scheduler.

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