Neuropathy is a painful condition that can lead to burning pain, numbness, loss of balance, and muscle weakness. With symptoms as diverse and debilitating as these, neuropathy can have a profound impact on your quality of life.
Dr. Benjamin Taimoorazy and our team here at Beverly Hills Migraine and Pain Management Institute understand how disruptive this condition can be. We treat a variety of neuropathy types, including peripheral neuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia, and trigeminal/occipital/glossopharyngeal neuralgia at our Beverly Hills and Northridge, California locations. Here’s a look at the culprits that cause neuropathy.
What causes neuropathy?
There isn’t just one contributing factor when it comes to neuropathy. Your nerves run throughout your entire body, and because of that, there are many factors and conditions that can lead to nerve damage.
Peripheral neuropathy (meaning your peripheral nervous system is affected) is the most common type of neuropathy, affecting your fingers, hands, arms, legs, and feet.
Diabetes is the leading cause of this type of nerve damage. Over time, elevated blood sugar levels damage your nerves and interfere with their ability to send signals to your brain, leading to diabetic neuropathy. Additionally, consistently high blood sugar weakens the walls of your capillaries, which supply your nerves with oxygen and nutrients. Damaged capillaries lead to compromised nerves.
Diabetes isn’t the only cause of neuropathy; it can be caused by other medical conditions as well as lifestyle factors.
Underlying medical conditions that contribute to neuropathy
In addition to diabetes, other possible causes of neuropathy include:
- Autoimmune disorders, such as Sjogren's syndrome, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Inherited disorders, such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
- Bacterial or viral infections, including HIV, shingles, Lyme disease, and Epstein-Barr virus
- Benign or cancerous tumors
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Vascular health problems
Vitamin deficiencies, particularly vitamin B12 and vitamin E, can also cause neuropathy.
Lifestyle factors that contribute to neuropathy
In addition to underlying medical conditions, certain lifestyle and environmental factors can lead to neuropathy, including:
- Alcohol and/or tobacco usage (which can contribute to vitamin deficiencies)
- Career (e.g., repetitive typing can contribute to nerve pressure while other jobs increase the risk of injuries that can lead to nerve damage)
- Medications (including medication used in cancer treatments)
- Environmental exposure to toxins or poisons
Traumatic injuries can also contribute to nerve damage. Lifestyle factors and underlying health conditions can exacerbate symptoms of neuropathy.
How is neuropathy treated?
Because untreated neuropathy can cause pain (as well as disrupt your normal routines), we understand just how important neuropathy treatment is. That’s why Dr. Taimoorazy approaches treatment with a multidisciplinary perspective. Our goals are to not only relieve your pain, but to restore your quality of life and reduce your reliance on oral medication.
In addition to managing underlying health conditions (where applicable), eating nutrient-dense foods, and exercising daily, the following treatments may be included into your treatment plan:
- Physical therapy
- Regenerative medicine
- Nerve blocks
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
- Spinal cord stimulation
- Intravenous (IV) infusion of ketamine
To learn more about your neuropathy treatment options, schedule a consultation with Dr. Taimoorazy at Beverly Hills Migraine and Pain Management Institute. You can request an appointment at either location by calling 424-302-0289 or using our online booking tool.