What is Neuropathy?

~ By Kirsten Antony R.N. ~

An extremely common question I get on a daily basis is “why do my feet tingle, feel numb, feel like they are burning and are painful?”  The answer is that those symptoms are common to a group of nerve disease or damage called neuropathies. Sometimes the feet may be sensitive to touch or not able to sense a change in temperature or pain. These all can be symptoms of some of the more common types of neuropathy I see: diabetic and peripheral neuropathy.

For those with diabetes, neuropathy can be very common especially after many years of having diabetes. The nerves can become damaged from high levels of blood sugar. Neuropathy can be very dangerous to those with diabetes. With a lack of sensation to the feet, the feet can be prone to becoming injured or developing an ulcer and it may go unnoticed. This can then develop into an infection and increased risk of amputation. Those with diabetes need to become extra vigilant in being aware of their feet and looking to make sure there are no wounds present.

Peripheral neuropathy can develop for other reasons than diabetes. Vitamin deficiencies, neurotoxins, trauma to the nerves or discs in the spine can also lead to peripheral neuropathy. I believe the best course of action if you suffer from the above symptoms is to see your physician for appropriate diagnosis. There are tests available to determine if you do indeed have neuropathy. There may be oral medication that can ease the symptoms or topical creams to try. Also, integrative therapies such as acupuncture, hypnosis or mindfulness based techniques may help as well.

On a personal note, I myself suffered from peripheral neuropathy for many years. My diagnosis would now be known as gluten neuropathy. The gluten I was eating in foods became a neurotoxin in my body and affected my nervous system. I had tingling, numbing and painful sensations in my arms and legs. Other than gastrointestinal symptoms common with celiac disease and gluten intolerance, peripheral neuropathy is one of the first signs that gluten is causing an autoimmune issue in your body. The good news is that once I identified I shouldn’t eat gluten, and stopped eating gluten, within a week the neuropathy was gone. It was really that simple.

Not everyone with neuropathy can eliminate it as simply as I did. But, for some of the readers, it may be that removal of a toxin or vitamin deficiency may clear up the disease or damage. This is why I emphasize seeking good medical care. This disease can be especially painful and it is a good idea to visit with your physician to see what treatments may be available.

Kirsten Antony

Kirsten Antony

Kirsten Antony is a Registered Nurse and Certified Reflexologist. Kirsten is a holistic health care practitioner and specializes in foot and nail care. She provides care in the Denver area at a variety of facilities as well as making house calls. For more information visit www.kirstenantony.com or call 303-668-8992.