Peripheral Neuropathy / Restless Leg Syndrome

You can overcome neuropathy without taking addictive, potentially harmful and expensive medications with Dr. Akiba Green’s treatment. He offers a non-invasive, non-drug alternative for your neuropathic pain, no matter its’ origin. Whether you have diabetic, post-surgical, peripheral pain or “restless leg syndrome”. Dr. Green will start the corrective process in our office and create a home maintenance plan based on your needs.

What is Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is a disorder of the peripheral nerves—the motor, sensory and autonomic nerves that connect the spinal cord to muscles, skin and internal organs. It usually affects the hands and feet, causing weakness, numbness, tingling and pain. Peripheral neuropathy’s course is variable; it can come and go, slowly progressing over many years, or it can become severe and debilitating. However, if diagnosed early, peripheral neuropathy can often be controlled.

Why Have We Heard So Little About Peripheral Neuropathy?

Is It A New Disease?

Peripheral neuropathy is common. It is estimated that upwards of 20 million Americans suffer from this illness. It can occur at any age, but is more common among older adults. A l999 survey found that 8-9% of Medicare recipients have peripheral neuropathy as their primary or secondary diagnosis. The annual cost to Medicare exceeds $3.5 billion.

Peripheral neuropathy has always been present, but has not received much attention. Its extent and importance have not yet been adequately recognized. It is apt to be misdiagnosed, or thought to be merely a side effect of another disease like diabetes or cancer or kidney failure. The development of new therapies has unfortunately been slow and under funded.

What Causes Peripheral Neuropathy?

There are many causes of neuropathy. Approximately 30% of neuropathies are “idiopathic,” or of an unknown cause. In another 30% of cases, the cause is diabetes. Other neuropathy causes include auto-immune disorders, tumors, heredity, nutritional imbalances, infections or toxins.

Symptoms

While every person’s experience with peripheral neuropathy can be as unique as the individual, there are some common neuropathy symptoms and signs. Peripheral neuropathy symptoms and signs can vary in how they begin. Some neuropathies come on suddenly; others gradually over many years. There are three types of peripheral nerves affected, and symptoms depend on these nerves and their location:

Sensory Nerves: affect sensation

Autonomic Nerves: affect internal organ functions; and,

Motor Nerves: affect muscles.

Here are some peripheral neuropathy symptoms and warning signs as described by patients:

Weakness in the Arms or Legs

Legs: Usually caused by damage to the motor nerves, leg symptoms often include difficulty walking or running; a feeling of “heaviness” in your legs; finding it takes a lot of effort just to climb the stairs; stumbling or tiring easily. Muscle cramps may be common.

Arms: In the arms, you may find it difficult to carry groceries, open jars, turn door knobs or take care of your personal grooming. A common frustration is dropping things.

Numbness, Tingling and Pain

Sensory nerves, when damaged, can cause various symptoms. Early on, there may be spontaneous sensations, called paresthesias, which include numbness, tingling, pinching, sharp, deep stabs, electric shocks, or buzzing. These sensations are usually worse at night, and sometimes become painful and severe. You may also experience unpleasant abnormal sensations when you touch something, sensations called dysesthesias because they are caused by stimuli. Or, you may find yourself feeling nothing at all, in this case experiencing anesthesia, a lessening or absence of sensation.

Impaired Sense of Position

When you lose the ability to “sense” or feel your feet, you may find yourself being uncoordinated because when you walk because you are not sure about the placement of your feet. Patients may find themselves walking differently without really knowing how or why they are doing so. Chances are they have either widened their style of walking (in an unconscious effort to keep their balance) or they may be dragging their feet.

“Glove and Stocking Sensation”

This phrase describes what doctors call a patient’s odd feeling of wearing stockings or gloves or slippers when, in fact, the patient’s hands and feet are completely bare.

Symptoms of Autonomic Damage

When it occurs, autonomic nerve damage can potentially cause: a drop in blood pressure and, consequently, dizziness when standing up; intestinal difficulties such as constipation or diarrhea; sexual dysfunction; thinning of the skin (with susceptibility to bruising and poor healing), and other symptoms.

What is Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)?

RLS is a neurological disorder characterized by unpleasant sensations in the legs and an uncontrollable urge to move when at rest in an effort to relieve these feelings. RLS sensations are often described by people as burning, creeping, tugging, or like insects crawling inside the legs. Often called paresthesias (abnormal sensations) or dysesthesias (unpleasant abnormal sensations), the sensations range in severity from uncomfortable to irritating to painful.

The most distinctive or unusual aspect of the condition is that lying down and trying to relax activates the symptoms. As a result, most people with RLS have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Left untreated, the condition causes exhaustion and daytime fatigue. Many people with RLS report that their job, personal relations, and activities of daily living are strongly affected as a result of their exhaustion. They are often unable to concentrate, have impaired memory, or fail to accomplish daily tasks.

The Cause and Effect of RLS

In most cases, the cause of RLS is unknown (referred to as idiopathic). A family history of the condition is seen in approximately 50 percent of such cases, suggesting a genetic form of the disorder.This disorder is diagnosed clinically by evaluating the patient’s history and symptoms. Despite a clear description of clinical features, the condition is often misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed. In 1995, the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group identified four basic criteria for diagnosing RLS:

(1) Desire to move the limbs, often associated with paresthesias or dysesthesias,

(2) Symptoms that are worse or present only during rest and are partially or temporarily relieved by activity,

(3) Motor restlessness

(4) Nocturnal worsening of symptoms

Most people with RLS have sleep disturbances, largely because of the limb discomfort and jerking. The result is excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue. Read More About RLS

RLS can be controlled by finding any possible underlying disorder. Often, treating the associated medical condition, such as peripheral neuropathy or diabetes, will alleviate many symptoms. For patients with idiopathic RLS, treatment is directed toward relieving symptoms.

Treatment at Lake Norman Health and Wellness:

We treat RLS patients, especially those who have secondary RLS due to Peripheral Neuropathy. Our success rate is dramatically high, many of whom would be delighted to talk to those of you who have concerns or perhaps have had your hopes dashed before. Give us a call today. 704-987-3993