Peripheral neuropathy affects over 20 million Americans and is most common amongst seniors. Seniors are also at risk of falling with around 33% of individuals over 65 falling every year, with many suffering serious, life changing injuries. Research has found a link between the 2 and according to The Neuropathy Association, "several studies now link peripheral nerve disorders to postural instability and falling."
Peripheral neuropathy is a disorder of the nerves in your extremities. There are many forms of neuropathy with the most common being diabetic neuropathy, which affects 60% of people with diabetes. Other common forms include nerve compressions from back problems and due to circulation problems. Although the exact cause of neuropathy is not known, it is thought decreased nutrition due to circulatory and metabolic issues may be a large contributing factor. People with neuropathy will usually complain of pain, burning, numbness and tingling of the hands and legs. If that is not bad enough, it can also be accompanied by swelling, stiffness and muscle weakness. These are all risk factors that make people with peripheral neuropathy at risk of falling.
Current treatment for peripheral neuropathy is centered on medication which may help the pain and numbness. Not many people realize there is also treatment that may help reduce the compressive forces on the nerves and may help the circulation and nerve function.
At FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers of Hazleton, peripheral neuropathy can be treated through our whole body approach. Treatment is centered on the Rebuilder system that is designed to control pain, improve circulation and stimulate normal nerve function. It stimulates the muscle pump action for circulation and provides nerve stimulation at a frequency that encourages normal nerve impulses. It is also noninvasive which means less risk of side effects. When combined with our hands on techniques to help with soft tissue tightness and exercises for mobility and strength, many of our clients feel relief of their symptoms and can then work to improve their balance.
Being a Balance Center, our clients are able to work on their balance in our Safety Overhead harness System (SOS) so they can challenge their balance without the risk or fear of falling. This allows them to practice tasks they would normally be hesitant to, which is the key to improvement.
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition with many problems and falling is a serious one. Having your neuropathy treated can help prevent falls especially in the winter. This can improve your quality of life, minimize your risk of serious injury and suffering a life changing event.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us at 570-501-1808. Also visit our website or catch our TV show 'Wellness Through FYZICAL Therapy' on WYLN daily.