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Tips to help ease neuropathy in feet

My daughter is 49 and has had neuropathy in both feet for five years. She has tried every medication and treatment that is available and nothing has helped. Large doses of medication have just caused side effects and have not helped. She has been to two neurologists – one in Indianapolis – pain doctors, foot doctors, chiropractors and had acupuncture and nothing has helped. She is not diabetic. Is there anything coming in the future that offers any hope for the people that suffer from the burning, stabbing pain and numbness that neuropathy causes?

Peripheral (arm and/or leg) neuropathy unfortunately can be a chronic painful and disabling condition. It is of utmost importance to try and find the source and reason for your daughter’s severe symptoms. Like anything in medicine, the more specific the diagnosis, the more specific (and successful) the treatment. Pain from a neuropathy can be due to many factors, including diabetes, various other diseases, certain nutritional deficiencies, genetics, alcohol abuse, etc. Nerve pain can also be due to individual compressed nerves originating from the low back or pelvis, such as with sciatica or radiculopathy (nerve root impingement), or even from local nerve problems from the feet. Has she had an EMG (outpatient nerve test) performed by a board-certified physician who looked for all the above conditions?

Many people think they may have a neuropathy, when in fact the foot pain may be due to other problems. Foot pain can also be the result of bone problems, gout, poor arterial or venous circulation (common in smokers), foot deformities, chronic strains, leg cramps, just to name a few.

Again, it sounds like your daughter’s doctors are unsure what is really causing her pain. A correct diagnosis made first, always helps ensure the best treatment options. There are many neuropathic (nerve treatment) medications that work on different mechanism pathways that she may not have tried yet. Spinal cord stimulation, active exercises, being a non-smoker, anti-inflammatory medications, new fibromyalgia medications, good foot hygiene and orthotics, all can be considered important treatment options.

I am hopeful that this information will be a valuable asset in your quest to help your daughter.

Dr. Eric Schreier practices physical medicine and rehabilitation with Parkview Physicians Group. He has offices in Fort Wayne, Marion and Columbia City. “Ask the Doctor” is a health column by doctors from Parkview Physicians Group. Send questions to Terri Richardson at The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802, or email trich@jg.net. Please put “Ask the Doctor” for the subject line.

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