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Is it Neuropathy or a Pinched Nerve?

by | Aug 29, 2023

Do you suffer from pain, numbness, or tingling in your hands or feet?  If the answer is “yes,” are you trying to figure out where it is coming from?  Do you have neuropathy?  Do you have a pinched nerve?  What is the difference between the two?

Peripheral neuropathy, also known as neuropathy, is a chronic progressive degenerative condition affecting the peripheral nerves (the nerves that are outside the brain and spinal cord).  It typically begins in the tips of the fingers and/or toes and gradually works its way into the rest of the hands or feet and up the extremities.  People who suffer from peripheral neuropathy frequently describe the sensation of feeling their socks bunched up under their toes, even though they are barefoot.  They may be unable to walk barefoot because of pain in their feet.  Sleeping may be difficult because the pressure of the bedsheets on their toes is painful.

There are over 100 causes of peripheral neuropathy.  Diabetes is the most common cause, at about 30% of cases.  Other causes of peripheral neuropathy are herbicide or pesticide exposure, heavy metal toxicity, long-term use of statins and blood pressure medications, vaccinations, Botox injections, and spinal stenosis to name a few.  There is also idiopathic peripheral neuropathy, which means the cause is unknown.

A pinched nerve, on the other hand, has some differences in the symptoms.  If you have a pinched nerve, the pain, numbness, or tingling is typically one-sided and radiates down the extremity rather than upwards.  You can, however, have these symptoms on both sides if the nerves are pinched bilaterally.  The symptoms from a pinched nerve may vary in frequency and severity and are frequently exacerbated by certain positions or activities.  Pinched nerve symptoms typically worsen with activity and are temporarily relieved by rest.

Your spine is made up of 24 bones, called vertebrae, that are designed to protect the delicate nerves of the spinal cord and the nerve roots that exit the spine.  Sometimes, due to accidents or other injuries, repetitive stresses, or years of poor posture, the bones in your spine can become misaligned and get stuck.  This condition is known as vertebral subluxation.  Vertebral subluxations are the most common cause of a pinched nerve.  There are other causes as well, such as bulging or herniated discs, spinal stenosis.

If you suffer from pain, tingling, numbness, or other symptoms in your hands or feet it is important to see a chiropractor to have your problem properly diagnosed.  A chiropractor who is experienced in treating neuropathy as well as pinched nerves will be able to provide the proper care to address your symptoms, as both conditions are very different from each other and require a unique care plan to address your individual needs.  Pinched nerves respond well to chiropractic adjustments and decompression therapy, while peripheral neuropathy requires a multi-faceted approach to address this problem, which typically does not respond to traditional chiropractic care.  When searching for a chiropractor to address either issue, it is important to find one that is experienced in both areas.

Dr. David Iszler

Dr. David Iszler graduated Summa Cum Laude from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa in 1994. Dr. Iszler practiced in Casper, Wyoming for 24 years before selling his practice to move to Arizona. He now practices in Glendale, where he is blessed to serve families in the Northwest Valley. He and his wife, Sheryl, are also sought-after wellness speakers, sharing health and wellness advice with businesses and organizations in his community.