Aarti A Singla, MD, MBA
Spine and Pain Management Specialist located in the Greater Cincinnati Area, West Chester and Anderson, OH
Neuropathy Q & A
What is neuropathy?
Neuropathy is a term for damage to one or more of your nerves or the effects of certain nerve diseases.
There are several types, including mononeuropathy, which affects a single nerve, and peripheral neuropathy, which causes symptoms in places like your arms or legs. As well as pain, neuropathy can produce other altered sensations, including numbness, tingling or "pins-and-needles," weakness, and burning or prickling feelings.
What causes neuropathy?
Neuropathy may result from nerve compression or irritation or a malfunction in the nerve that causes it to transmit pain signals even when there's no physical damage. Surgery and trauma are some of the other possible causes of neuropathy. Diseases that commonly result in peripheral neuropathy include:
- Diabetes (diabetic peripheral neuropathy)
- Autoimmune disorders
- Inherited conditions like Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
- Shingles (post-herpetic neuralgia)
Dr. Singla sees many patients with neuropathy, most commonly from Diabetes. There is a new FDA-approved therapy for diabetic neuropathy. Spinal cord stimulation can help to alleviate the symptoms of pins and needles in the feet and some patients are finding restoration of their neurological symptoms. To see if you are a candidate, please schedule an appointment.
How is neuropathy diagnosed?
To diagnose neuropathy, Dr. Singla performs a detailed physical examination after discussing your symptoms with you and looking at your medical history. She might also need to do additional tests to check for underlying diseases like diabetes.
Nerve conduction studies and electromyography (EMG) can often be helpful in diagnosing peripheral neuropathy. These tests measure how efficiently your nerves are working. An MRI of the spine may also be recommended to understand if there is any nerve damage coming from compression within the spinal canal.
It's quite often the case that there's no identifiable explanation for the cause of neuropathy, in which case it's termed idiopathic.
What treatments can help with neuropathy?
Treatment for neuropathy by Dr. Singla begins with determining the underlying cause and treating it wherever possible. That may mean managing your diabetes more effectively or taking medication to compensate for an underactive thyroid gland.
Depending on the type of symptoms you're experiencing and their severity, other potential treatments might include:
- Pain medication
- Low dose antidepressants
- Antiseizure medication
- Physical therapy
- Regenerative medicine
- Epidural steroid injections
- Nerve blocks
- Radiofrequency ablation
- High Frequency Spinal Cord Stimulation
Peripheral nerve stimulation and spinal cord stimulation use electrical signals to interfere with the pain messages going from the affected nerves to your brain. These technologies require the implantation of a small unit under your skin that you control with a hand-held device.
Finding out why you have neuropathy may not always be possible, but Dr. Singla can still treat your condition and restore your quality of life with her expertise in pain medicine. To schedule a consultation, call Dr. Singla or book an appointment online.