Benefits of Chiropractic Care For Neuropathy

Chiropractic care for chronic pain provides many short- and long-term benefits

Living with neuropathic pain can take a huge toll on your quality of life; however, you’re not alone. Approximately 20 million Americans live with some form of neuropathy, meaning there is damage to their nervous system, the body’s core communication network that sends signals between the central nervous system and all other parts of the body. 

Whether the cause is a bone spur (stenosis), a herniated disc, or a misaligned spine, chiropractic care for neuropathy can help. Obtaining a comprehensive look at the cause of your ailment, your symptoms, and the treatments you have tried in the past can help create an in-depth treatment plan that includes spinal manipulations, exercises, and stretches to get you back to your optimal health. 

Below, we take a deeper look at the various types of neuropathic ailments and how a customized chiropractic treatment plan can be beneficial for relieving pain and getting you back to enjoying a pain-free life.

Types of Neuropathic Ailments

The extent of neuropathic symptoms ultimately depends on the individual and the underlying cause, but symptoms can range from temporary numbness or tingling to muscle weakness and severe electrical or shooting pain. Your treatment plan will depend on your symptoms and your diagnosis. Chiropractic care for neuropathy can help with the following conditions: 

  • Peripheral neuropathies: This refers to damage or compression of the nerves after they have exited the spine. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathies can range from tingling or numbness in a certain body part to burning pain or loss of motor control. Your symptoms vary based on the type you have and the part of the body that is affected. The two most common types of peripheral neuropathies that are treated with chiropractic care are:
    • Motor neuropathy: Damage to the nerves that control muscles and movement in the body, such as moving your hands and arms or talking.
    • Sensory neuropathy: Damage to the sensory nerves that control what you feel, such as pain, temperature, or a light touch.
  • Radiculopathy (pinched nerve): Unlike neuropathy, radiculopathy refers to damage at or near the nerve’s root at the spine. Similar to peripheral neuropathy, the most common symptoms are pain, numbness, and tingling in the arms or legs. You may also experience localized neck or back pain. Lumbar radiculopathy, also known as sciatica, causes pain that radiates down a lower extremity, while cervical (neck) radiculopathy will radiate into the arms and hands.
  • Central Neuropathy: Unlike peripheral and radicular nerve issues, central neuropathy occurs when the spinal cord is placed under tension/compression due to spinal misalignment and degeneration. All nerves are affected; therefore, this type can affect overall health and create a wide variety of systemic symptoms.  

Common Causes of Neuropathy

  • Discogenic issues (disc bulges): This refers to symptoms that are generated by a damaged vertebral disc, which puts pressure directly onto the nerve. If left untreated, the damage may become permanent. Not all degenerated discs cause pain, but when they do, they can present as:
    • Pain in the back and down your leg, thigh, buttocks, or foot.
    • Neck pain that shoots down your arm and into your hand.
    • Muscle spasms in the arms or neck when moving your upper or lower body.
    • Numbness and weakness.
  • Osteophytes (bone spurs): These typically form when the joints have been under excessive pressure due to prolonged poor posture or trauma. These bone spurs typically grow into the space where the spinal cord and nerves travel. This will cause stenosis or narrowing of the canal or hole that contains the nerve and can affect the circulation and function of the nerve. In later stages, osteophytes can directly compress the nerves. Symptoms can present as:  
    • Numbness and weakness, especially in the legs and hands.
    • Pain radiating along the pathway the nerve controls.
    • A reduced range of motion.
    • Stiffness and dull pain due to arthritis.

A PostureWorks chiropractor helping a patient experiencing neuropathic pain.

Chiropractic Care for Neuropathy

According to the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, neuropathy is the second most common condition treated by chiropractors. As detailed above, each type of neuropathy can present with its own set of symptoms that require different treatments. Chiropractic care can address these issues with adjustments that reduce nerve pressure, improve your range of motion, and relieve your pain.

Poor posture is perhaps the largest contributor to neuropathy because when you have poor posture, tension is exerted onto the spinal cord, creating a myriad of issues. In fact, poor posture can contribute to all of the above neuropathic ailments. However, there are a variety of steps you can take to alleviate pain from neuropathy. Working with your chiropractor for a comprehensive treatment plan is the first step you can take to a pain-free life. The plan may include:

    • Exercise: When you have neuropathy, light-impact exercises, including the following, can minimize neuropathic pain: 
      • Aerobic exercise: Aerobic exercises move large muscles and cause you to breathe deeply. This increases blood flow and releases endorphins that act as the body’s natural painkillers. Some examples of aerobic exercises are brisk walking, bicycle riding, and swimming. However, it’s important to first build your endurance before attempting to do anything too strenuous.
      • Balance training: Neuropathy can leave your muscles and joints feeling stiff and weak. Balance training can help build your strength and reduce feelings of tightness. Incorporating leg and calf raises into your routine can help improve your balance, which helps prevent falls.
  • Corrective exercises: Postural exercises are key to helping to reduce spinal misalignment and reducing compression and tension on the nerves throughout the body.
  • Myofascial release: This is a manual therapy technique that focuses on myofascial tissue adhesions—the tough membranes that wrap, connect, and support your muscles. These adhesions can directly entrap peripheral nerves. The goal of myofascial release is to break up these adhesions to reduce the compression on the nerve and improve circulation.
  • Nerve glides (stretches): This is a type of gentle range of motion exercise that stretches irritated nerves, which are stuck to the sheath that contains them, creating nerve dysfunction. The goal is to improve the range of motion and reduce pain by freeing the nerves to move normally.
  • Spinal decompression: Non-surgical spinal decompression is a non-invasive option for individuals suffering from back pain or herniated, bulging, or degenerating discs. The goal is to relieve abnormal pressure on the discs in the spinal column by applying a slow, steady, and gentle elongation stretch. This decompression creates a negative pressure inside your discs, causing them to retract. Since spinal decompression flattens the natural curvature of the neck and low back, which can increase the load on the disc long-term, it should be paired with a Chiropractic BioPhysics® (CBP) curvature correction program.
  • Chiropractic BioPhysics®: CBP is the most researched chiropractic technique and treatment methodology, which is proven in multiple studies to reduce neuropathy and radiculopathy in the short- and long-term. This non-invasive treatment combines postural exercises, spinal traction, and neuromuscular re-education designed to restore the natural curvatures of the spine to reduce compression/tension on the nervous system.

Neuropathic pain affects the peripheral nervous system, the central nervous system, and all of their neural pathways and is indicative that something isn’t functioning properly in one or both of these systems. The key to reducing neuropathy pain is to maintain a healthy, aligned spine while staying active. However, it’s important to understand the cause of your pain and your limitations before embarking on an exercise program. 

Work With a Chiropractor Who Utilizes Chiropractic BioPhysics®

If you are experiencing neuropathic pain, it’s important to get to the root of the problem to avoid chronic neural pain (heightened pain sensitivity and sudden, shooting, or burning pain occurrences). 

When you work with a Chiropractic BioPhysics® provider, such as the doctors at PostureWorks, they look at your entire medical history and provide you with a biometric analysis of your spine and posture to give you a clear picture of where your pain is originating. Using this analysis, a personalized treatment plan consisting of postural exercises, neuromuscular re-education, and spinal alignment traction is created to help realign your spine and relieve pressure from your nerves to drastically improve the quality of your life. 

Chiropractic BioPhysics®, or CBP, is a deeply researched and results-oriented corrective care technique. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health and optimal function while eliminating the source of pain and circulatory and nervous dysfunction. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is conservative, painless, and non-invasive. Contact us today to schedule your appointment or to learn more about the benefits of chiropractic care for neuropathy.

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