Peripheral neuropathy is a common neurological condition that currently affects over 20 million people in the United States. It is a disorder involving the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord that impairs the body’s ability to communicate with muscles, skin, joints and internal organs. Patients who suffer from neuropathy often report both pain and numbness in the affected areas, most commonly the feet and hands. The pain is typically described as a “burning,” “pins and needles,” and/or “electric shocks” sensation. The numbness usually starts in the toes and fingertips, and works its way up the legs and arms towards the body over time. As the disease progresses, patients tend to have more problems with balance due to the increased numbness. This, in turn, leads to significant instability and frequent falls.
The list of causes of peripheral neuropathy is quite extensive including diabetes, alcoholism, vitamin deficiencies, chemotherapy, hereditary disorders, and autoimmune diseases. However, even after extensive diagnostic testing, up to 40% of patients are ultimately categorized as having “idiopathic neuropathy,” which means neuropathy from an unknown cause.
Though much has been learned regarding the many causes of neuropathy, there remains a very limited number of treatments available and no known cure. The mainstay of medical treatment has been to focus both on controlling any disease state that may be contributing to the neuropathy, thereby limiting its progression, and the control of symptoms of neuropathy through the use of medications such as narcotics, antidepressants, antiepileptics, and local anesthetics. Unfortunately, patients too often are unable to experience significant relief from these interventions and remain in a state of painful disability.
Recently, a new and exciting treatment has been developed that is proving to be effective. This treatment has been shown to significantly reduce or eliminate the symptoms of neuropathy in 80% to 90% of patients who suffer from this disorder. This innovative approach uses a combination of a unique electrical stimulus therapy and nerve block injections that facilitate healing in the affected nerves. This combined with a physical therapy program specifically designed to address neuropathy problems such as gait and balance disturbances has been shown to reduce patient morbidity and mortality. Patients who have completed our treatment program report both symptomatic relief and improvement in overall quality of life years beyond the actual course of treatment.
We at NBO realize how devastating peripheral neuropathy can be. We have dedicated ourselves not only to reducing the symptoms of pain, numbness, and imbalance, but also to maximizing personal independence and safety. Our clients can
expect to receive a comprehensive physician evaluation of their symptoms, an individualized treatment plan tailored to their specific needs, and an ongoing collaboration with their current physicians to ensure optimal coordination of care.