The Impact of Neuropathy on Strength and Balance

When you have an issue with the peripheral nerves, it can lead to an uncomfortable condition known as peripheral neuropathy. Neuropathy refers to damaged peripheral nerves that can cause symptoms including tingling, prickling, burning, and numbness. One of the most well-known causes of neuropathy is diabetes, though there are other causes and triggers for neuropathy in people who do not have a diagnosis of diabetes. Nutritional imbalances, vitamin deficiencies, and certain medications can also lead to neuropathy. No matter what is causing your neuropathy, you want to find a neuropathy treatment that addresses all your symptoms and provides you with relief.

Understanding More About Neuropathy

Peripheral nerves are responsible for sending messages from the central nervous system, brain, and spine to the rest of the body. When these nerves become damaged, it can affect the body’s communication system and disrupt these messages. For example, peripheral nerves will tell your body when your feet are cold so that you know to put on a pair of socks or warm them up. With peripheral neuropathy caused by diabetes or another condition, you may not receive the signals that your feet are cold until it becomes more painful and you experience other symptoms like tingling and numbness. Depending on the cause of your neuropathy, there may be neuropathy treatments available or your doctor may talk to you about the best ways to manage your pain.

Sensory Neuropathy vs. Motor Neuropathy

There are two main types of neuropathy that depend on what nerves are affected. These are called sensory neuropathy and motor neuropathy. Sensory neuropathy refers to neuropathy that affects sensory nerves. Symptoms of sensory neuropathy include tingling, a “pins and needles” sensation, and even numbness in certain areas. Some people with sensory neuropathy experience hypersensitivity and increased pain in some areas. Other people may develop an inability to feel pain or sense heat and cold changes. Motor neuropathy affects the muscles and can lead to weakness, feeling unsteady, and greater difficulty with small movements like tying your shoes. People who have motor neuropathy can also experience a slow deterioration of muscle strength, sometimes referred to as muscle wasting, as well as an increase in twitching and muscle cramps. In more serious cases of motor neuropathy, people may experience muscle paralysis.

Treatment for Neuropathy

There are many ways to manage pain and discomfort from neuropathy, including natural and non-invasive options. Natural treatment options for neuropathy can include medication, therapeutic massage, and acupuncture. Your doctor may also recommend therapies to promote stress relief. Chiropractic care can help provide relief for neuropathy by restoring healthy communication with spinal adjustments that help realign the spine. If you experience sensory neuropathy, your doctor may recommend you wear clothes from certain fabrics that don’t irritate or aggravate your symptoms. They may also recommend covering any sensitive areas to help avoid contact. In some cases, your doctor may recommend applying heat or ice, unless your neuropathy causes issues with sensing changes in temperature. However, if you experience motor neuropathy and damage to the nerves that support your muscles then your strength and balance may be impacted.

How Strength and Balance Are Impacted by Neuropathy

When neuropathy leads to muscle weakness, you may start to notice how your movements are negatively impacted. Damage to motor nerves can start to affect your mobility, including your strength and balance. Neuropathy can affect your hands and feet, making daily tasks like gripping door handles or going up and down stairs more difficult when the sensations in the hands and feet are dulled. Loss of balance and coordination are common signs of diabetic peripheral neuropathy and this weakness can lead to more tripping, stumbling, and fall due to a decrease in sensations. If your neuropathy also causes numbness in certain areas then this can lead to bad balance and issues with your equilibrium.

If you have neuropathy and are experiencing issues with your strength and balance, talk to your doctor about the best neuropathy treatment for you. In some cases, working out can cause more harm than good, especially when there is significant muscle loss and a decrease in sensations. Talk to your doctor if you are starting to have trouble with balance and notice a decline in your strength and mobility. The team at Fox Integrated Health can provide comprehensive and integrative treatment options for your neuropathy so that you can experience pain relief and quality care.