Peripheral neuropathy describes a failure of nerves in your arms or legs. Perhaps the most common occurrence of this condition is associated with diabetics, who suffer nerve damage in their feet, due to long-term exposure to high levels of glucose in the blood. Neuropathy can interrupt sensation in your feet, making it difficult or impossible to feel injuries or sores, or it may cause sensations such as warmness, tingling, and even pain.
Conventional treatment of peripheral neuropathy includes medications. Over-the-counter pain relievers may have some effect in mild cases, and opiate medications are used in severe cases when the risk of addiction is outweighed by the need for pain relief. Anti-seizure and antidepressant medications work for some people, even though it’s not understood how these medications provide pain relief for neuropathy sufferers. Medications generally relieve up to about 50% of neuropathy pain, and any drug treatment can have side effects, adding to your medical burden.
Nonmedicinal approaches to neuropathy pain relief
Controlling the cause of peripheral neuropathy is often a solution to the progression of nerve damage. For example, as a diabetic gets blood sugar under control, the conditions that cause nerve damage abate. While this may not directly reduce neuropathy pain, slowing the progression gives your body a chance to catch up with its own repair work, which may lead to less pain.
Your body has remarkable regenerating systems that operate naturally. When these systems stay ahead of injury and damage, you heal. When the systems can’t keep up, your health declines. Regenerative medicine is an exciting new field that seeks to enhance the natural recovery systems of your body, and it may hold promising results in treating peripheral neuropathy.
Regenerative medicine and stem cells
Some avenues of regenerative medicine seek to supplement the resources your body draws on to repair itself. For example, imagine a house being repaired after a fire. Rebuilding might depend on a steady supply of lumber. If there’s not enough, the repairs may stay exposed to the elements while waiting for new supplies to arrive. Repairs already done may suffer, and some work might need to be done again.
Your body uses stem cells in much the same way as lumber in that example. Stem cells are building blocks, waiting for repair systems to direct and shape the cells into the type needed for repairs. If you have damaged nerves, for instance, your body may take stem cells and convert them into new nerves, replacing some of the damaged tissue.
Injecting additional stem cells into an area affected by peripheral neuropathy may increase the rate at which your body’s repair systems work, outracing tissue deterioration. Bioelectrical cell signaling may also aid the body’s natural healing processes by augmenting the way in which your regenerating cells communicate. Faster regeneration means a better chance of naturally relieving neuropathy symptoms.
Perhaps the best part of these techniques is that they are drug-free. Stem cell technologies have few risks or side effects, typically only a slight risk of infection at the injection site, the same risk you face when receiving an allergy shot or when having blood drawn.
Contact St. Rose Integrative Medical Center by phone or online to make an appointment to discuss your peripheral neuropathy issues. I will develop a treatment plan built around you to help restore pain-free living.