Treating Hand/Foot Peripheral Neuropathy as a Secondary Symptom


 
Let’s say you have a patient with
•         Diabetes
•         Cancer (and you’re undergoing chemotherapy)
•         Shingles
•         HIV/AIDS
And they’re presenting with
•     Swelling in the feet, legs or hands
•     Muscle cramps in the legs
•     Changes in the skin and nails
•     Numbness in the feet and hands
•     Inability of feel heat or cold
•     Sleepless nights due to pain
•     Muscle weakness
•     Painful burning and itching in the hands or feet
•     Feeling like they’re wearing gloves or socks when they’re not
Chances are very good that you have a patient with a serious secondary complication from their illness.
They could have peripheral neuropathy in their feet and/or hands.
Diagnosing Peripheral Neuropathy in the Hands and Feet[1]

This is a tough diagnosis to make.  The symptoms can vary so much between patients.  And when you’re dealing with patients with such serious illnesses at the root of their problems, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what the problem is.
Your best bet is to start with a really thorough history and physical followed by an extensive neurological examination.  The good news is that if your patient is presenting with a known illness, you don’t have to play detective to find out what their underlying medical condition is.  You just have to figure out if the symptoms they’re seeing you for are caused by nerve damage.
Treatment Options for Peripheral Neuropathy in the Hands and Feet[2]
The first thing you need to do is work with your patient’s other physicians to ensure that the underlying medical condition is under control.  Once you understand the treatment regimen they’re undertaking, you can begin to address possible nerve damage and healing the nerves.
Make sure your patient is
•     Getting plenty of rest
•     Pacing themselves
•     Exercising regularly – walking and swimming are good exercises for neuropathy patients
•     Taking care of their feet and hands
•     Not smoking
•     Eating a healthy, well balanced diet
Make sure your patient understands how vitally important it is to pay attention to any wounds on their feet and hands and that they should contact you as their NeuropathyDR® specialist immediately if they notice any blisters, sores, torn skin, or inflammation.   The combination of their underlying medical condition can lead to very serious infections that are slow or impossible to heal.   This can lead to dire complications that can be avoided if they receive the proper medical treatment early.
Show your patients how to do a visual inspection of their feet and hands for any problems.  They need to know that they cannot rely on soreness or pain to know if something is wrong.  Their peripheral neuropathy will impair their ability to feel pain in their feet and hands and they may not notice the problem until it’s too late for successful treatment.
Let us help you reach these patients and treat them.
For more tips on growing a successful chiropractic, physical therapy or pain management practice, log on to http://perfectpractice web.com to download a FREE E-Book Copy of my 5 star Amazon  “Living and Practicing by Design” at http://perfectpracticeweb.com.
 
 


[1] www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/peripheralneuropathy/detail_peripheralneuropathy.htm
[2] http://www.webmd.com/brain/tingling-in-hands-and-feet

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