May is National Neuropathy Awareness Month! Today we’ll explore what neuropathy is, why it happens, how to know if it’s happening to you, and what you can do about it. Let’s get started!
There you are, working at the keyboard like always, minding your own business, when suddenly your hand starts to feel funny. Maybe you’re feeling a tingling or buzzing sensation, maybe your hand starts to hurt or feels tight, maybe your fingers are feeling tired or weak even though you haven’t been working long. It goes away when you take a break, but it keeps coming back. What’s going on?
You may be experiencing a form of neuropathy, damage to nerves in the body causing unusual sensations and changing the way we physically feel and perceive the world.
This can happen anywhere in our body along the nerve pathways – which is everywhere! There are many causes of neuropathy, but the most common cause I see in patients is due to a nerve getting compressed somewhere along the way. Nerves are complicated and fascinating, they constantly give you input about what your body is feeling and its location in space. So when something happens to a nerve to disrupt it’s function, you may notice changes in temperature (my hand feels cold!) or pain (It hurts from my butt to my foot!) or strength (I can’t carry my baby for as long anymore!) or sensation (My shoulder blade feels tingly!)
Good news: There is a reason you’re feeling this way, and we can find it and fix it! If your spine is misaligned and affecting the nerve function, an adjustment will go a long way. If muscles are tight, affecting your posture AND pressing on those nerves, we can work on softening the spasm and relieving your symptoms. If there’s an activity you’re doing every day, or a position you’re in that’s causing this to be a recurring problem for you, let’s figure it out and get rid of it once and for all!
Dr Carrie Staller is a naturopathic physician.