Every day at Power Health & Wellness, we primarily utilize a wide variety of non-drug approaches to chronic pain conditions ranging from Fibromyalgia, CFIDs, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Hashimoto’s to Dizziness, Vertigo, and Balance conditions. By far, the most common chronic pain patients who arrive at our office looking for solutions are Peripheral Neuropathy (PN) cases. They account for at least 50 percent of our chronic pain practice.
The history is always the same: 1) The patient experienced a gradual numbness, tingling, burning, cramping, sharp-shooting pain in one or both feet. 2) The pain progressed from the feet upward, and possibly to the mid-shins; and in many cases, the hands subsequently began to experience the same symptoms. 3) The patient first visited their primary care physician, who tested them for diabetes. 4) If they were diabetic, then medication was administered. 5) If the medication “didn’t work,” the patient was generally told that the cause was unknown and they were sent to a podiatrist who checked for tarsal tunnel, where the nerve is pinched in the ankle; or, they were sent to an orthopedist to determine if a low back stenosis was pinching a nerve in the feet.
Both are legitimate investigations, but in the end are uncommon causes of PN. In fact, they’re so uncommon they are not even listed as a cause of PN in Peripheral Neuropathy in Clinical Practice by Herskovitz S., literally “the standard” text on PN in the medical field.
So with this failure of diagnosis on PN, most patients come to our offices with a “final” recommendation that “you’ll just have to live with it.” At that point, they are experimenting with long- term drug therapy (neuronton, lyrica, cymbalta, etc.), which of course isn’t working or they wouldn’t be in our office. Often times, they are also experiencing the understood effects of these aggressive, brain-depressing drugs.
In a March 7, 2011 Time cover piece titled, “Understanding Pain,” which devotes a significant part of the article to PN, David Borsook of McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School says, “As a clinician, I’m frustrated, and I’m sure patients are too, because we do a very poor job in terms of providing relief for chronic pain.”
Yet PN patients of Functional Medicine and Functional Neurology doctors are getting various degrees of relief for the PN pain patients every day. What gives? There are at least 23 known causes of PN that can respond to conservative care.
Diabetes is certainly one of them, as is tarsal tunnel and lumbar stenosis. Many of our patients initially think it odd when we begin to investigate inflammatory processes, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), subtle autoimmune processes, food allergies, gut/digestive issues, heavy metals and much more. Yet in the Peripheral Neuropathies in Clinical Practices medical text by Herskovitz, all of these causes are listed, and more. In fact, it lists 65 different potential causes including conditions most practicing physicians think are unrelated, such as Lyme disease, celiac and Hashimoto’s.
Our clinical experience agrees with Herskovitz. What’s more, most of the common causes discovered with an orderly examination and history can be improved dramatically without drugs or surgeries by utilizing Functional Medicine and Functional Chiropractic Neurology techniques. Often times, improvement can be achieved in three to six months.
1. Herskovitz, S., et al. Peripheral Neuropathies in Clinical Practice. Part of the Contemporary Neurology Series. Oxford University Press, 2010.
2. Understanding Pain, Time Magazine, Vol 177, No 9, 2011 page 64-90
For more info, or to schedule a free consultation, contact Dr. Rutherford or Dr. Gates at (775) 329-4402, or visit online at www.PowerHealthReno.com.