If a significant percentage of your patient load is made up of patients with
- Cancer (and you’re undergoing chemotherapy)
You know how to deal with their primary symptoms. Granted, every patient is different, but to some degree you know what they’re going to experience and their primary care physician has probably (hopefully) given them some idea of what to expect.
But unless that primary care provider is exceptionally thorough, peripheral neuropathy and its symptoms probably didn’t make the top 10 list of what they can expect from their illness.
Suddenly they’re experiencing
- 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
And they didn’t expect any of these symptoms.
So they do some research and they come to the conclusion that they might have nerve damage and, if you’ve positioned yourself properly as a NeuropathyDR® clinician, they find you.
And now they’re sitting in your waiting room.
Diagnosing Peripheral Neuropathy in the Hands and Feet
This can be a really difficult diagnosis to make. The symptoms can vary widely 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.
The best course for you to take is to start with a really thorough history and physical followed by an extensive neurological examination. If your patient is presenting with a known illness, that will make it much easier for you to make the peripheral neuropathy diagnosis because you don’t have to search for the underlying illness. 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
Once you make the peripheral neuropathy diagnosis, work with your patient’s other doctors to make sure 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
Your patient needs to understand how important it is to pay attention to their feet and hands and to contact you immediately if they notice any blisters, sores, torn skin, or inflammation.
Show your patients how to do a visual inspection of their feet and hands for any problems. They need to know not to rely on feeling pain to know that they have sore or blister on their feet. Their peripheral neuropathy will keep them from feeling pain in their feet and hands. They may not notice the problem until it’s too late for successful treatment.
This is a patient population that really needs your help and the NeuropathyDR® treatment protocol is perfect for helping them avoid permanent nerve damage.
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://perfectpracticeweb.com to download a FREE E-Book Copy of my 5 star Amazon rated book “Living and Practicing by Design.”