Peripheral Neuropathy & Preventing Self-Harm
Why it wasn’t safe to soak until now.
In America there are over 30,000,000 people who suffer from Peripheral Neuropathy. A result of damage to the peripheral nerves, this condition causes weakness, numbness, and pain – especially in extremities like legs, feet, hands and fingers. In addition to feeling that discomfort consistently, peripheral neuropathy also results in a dampened ability to feel ‘natural’ sensations such as pain from scrapes, cuts, burns or other wounds.
This loss of feeling creates a negatively reinforcing cycle; on one hand, untreated & unnoticed wounds progress to infections, sometimes even becoming so irreversible as to need amputation. On the other hand, certain reliefs & therapeutics such as epsom salt baths to promote circulation & blood flow become inaccessible due to risk of burns or wounds.
Neuropathy Fact Sheet
Why does peripheral neuropathy develop?
Peripheral neuropathy occurs when the nerves that go from the brain and spinal cord to the arms, hands, legs and feet are damaged or destroyed and can’t send messages from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles, skin and other parts of the body. These are called peripheral nerves. Peripheral neuropathy can affect multiple nerves (polyneuropathy) or only one nerve or nerve group (mononeuropathy) at a time.
What is the peripheral nervous system?
The body’s nervous system is made up of two parts. The central nervous system (CNS) includes the brain and the spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system (PNS) connects the nerves running from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body…the arms and hands, legs and feet, internal organs, joints and even the mouth, eyes, ears, nose, and skin.
How many people are affected by Neuropathy
Peripheral Neuropathy ultimately impairs over 30,000,000 Americans. Peripheral neuropathy frequently is a complication of another condition such as diabetes, inflammation, infections or autoimmune diseases, hereditary disorders, poor nutrition, kidney failure, chronic alcoholism, or as a side effect of certain medications - especially those used to treat cancer and HIV/AIDS. In these cases, doctors start by treating the underlying condition that may be contributing to the problem.
What does early stage peripheral neuropathy look like?
Frequently starting with numbness associated with prickling or tingling in the toes or fingers, symptoms of neuropathy frequently spread up to the feet or hands and begin causing sensations closer to burning, freezing, throbbing and/or shooting pains. The pain can be constant or periodic, and often these symptoms are exacerbated at night. The pain is usually felt equally on both sides of the body, ie. both hands or both feet. Peripheral neuropathy can both develop suddenly or progressively develop over a period of time.
What are some specific symptoms of peripheral neuropathy?
Specific symptoms of peripheral neuropathy can include a sensation of wearing an invisible "glove" or "sock", burning sensation or freezing pain, sharp, jabbing or electric-like pain, extreme sensitivity to touch, difficulty sleeping because of feet and leg pain, loss of balance and coordination, muscle weakness, difficulty walking or moving the arms, unusual sweating, abnormalities in blood pressure or pulse.
Living with peripheral neuropathy
Prevention is key when managing neuropathy. Knowing when to seek medical care is an important aspect when it comes to prevention. Routine medical visits & proper foot care are the strongest preventative tools available. If left untreated, neuropathic foot problems can lead to serious complications – ranging from infection all the way to a potential toe or foot amputation.