Peripheral Neuropathies

Peripheral neuropathies encompass a range of conditions involving damage to the peripheral nervous system, which connects the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. This can lead to a variety of symptoms, including pain, numbness, and muscle weakness. This article provides a comprehensive overview of peripheral neuropathies, including the symptoms patients might experience, potential causes, available medical treatments, and alternative therapies such as massage. Additionally, we will explore the benefits of chiropractic care in managing peripheral neuropathies and introduce the Zone Technique, a specialized chiropractic approach that may offer the best solution for addressing the root causes and alleviating symptoms.


The symptoms of peripheral neuropathies can vary widely depending on the type of nerves affected—sensory, motor, or autonomic—and the severity of the damage. Common symptoms include:

  • Numbness and Tingling: Often starting in the hands and feet, these sensations can gradually spread upward into the arms and legs.
  • Burning Pain: Sharp, jabbing, or throbbing pain can occur, typically in the extremities.
  • Sensitivity to Touch: Even mild pressure or contact can cause severe pain in affected areas.
  • Muscle Weakness: Weakness or heaviness in the limbs can make it difficult to perform everyday tasks.
  • Loss of Coordination: Difficulty walking or maintaining balance due to muscle weakness and sensory loss.
  • Changes in Skin, Hair, and Nails: Peripheral neuropathy can affect the autonomic nerves that control blood flow, resulting in changes to the skin, hair, and nails.
  • Digestive Issues: Problems with digestion, such as bloating, nausea, or constipation, can occur if the autonomic nerves are affected.
  • Dizziness and Fainting: Blood pressure regulation issues can lead to dizziness or fainting when standing up quickly.

These symptoms can significantly impact a person’s quality of life and may require a multifaceted approach for effective management.


Peripheral neuropathies can arise from a variety of causes, including underlying medical conditions, infections, physical injuries, and exposure to toxins. Understanding the potential causes is crucial for effective treatment.

1. Diabetes

  • Diabetic Neuropathy: Chronic high blood sugar levels can damage nerves, making diabetes one of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy.

2. Autoimmune Diseases

  • Autoimmune Disorders: Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Guillain-Barré syndrome can attack the peripheral nerves.

3. Infections

  • Viral and Bacterial Infections: Infections such as Lyme disease, shingles, and HIV/AIDS can damage peripheral nerves.

4. Physical Trauma

  • Injuries: Accidents, falls, or repetitive stress can cause nerve compression or damage.

5. Toxins

  • Exposure to Toxins: Alcohol abuse, exposure to heavy metals, and certain chemicals can lead to neuropathy.

6. Nutritional Deficiencies

  • Vitamin Deficiencies: Lack of essential vitamins, particularly B vitamins, can result in nerve damage.

7. Medications

  • Side Effects: Certain medications, especially chemotherapy drugs, can cause peripheral neuropathy as a side effect.

8. Genetic Disorders

  • Inherited Conditions: Genetic mutations can cause neuropathies, such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.

9. Chronic Diseases

  • Chronic Kidney Disease: Accumulation of toxins in the blood due to kidney dysfunction can damage nerves.
  • Liver Disease: Similarly, liver disease can lead to nerve damage.

Medical Treatments

The treatment for peripheral neuropathies aims to manage symptoms, address underlying causes, and improve quality of life. Here are some common medical interventions:

1. Medications

  • Pain Relievers: Over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen or NSAIDs can help manage mild pain.
  • Prescription Medications: For more severe pain, doctors may prescribe anticonvulsants (e.g., gabapentin, pregabalin), antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline, duloxetine), or opioids.
  • Topical Treatments: Creams or patches containing lidocaine or capsaicin can be applied directly to painful areas.

2. Physical Therapy

Physical therapy focuses on:

  • Strengthening Exercises: Targeting muscles to improve strength and coordination.
  • Balance Training: Exercises to improve stability and prevent falls.
  • Pain Relief Techniques: Methods such as TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) to manage pain.

3. Lifestyle Modifications

  • Diet: Maintaining a balanced diet rich in vitamins can support nerve health.
  • Exercise: Regular physical activity can improve blood flow and reduce neuropathy symptoms.
  • Foot Care: For diabetic neuropathy, regular foot inspections and proper footwear are crucial to prevent injuries and infections.

4. Medical Procedures

In certain cases, specific medical procedures may be recommended:

  • Nerve Blocks: Injections of anesthetics or steroids near nerves can provide temporary pain relief.
  • Surgery: Surgical interventions may be necessary to relieve nerve compression caused by conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome.

5. Management of Underlying Conditions

  • Diabetes Management: Controlling blood sugar levels can prevent further nerve damage in diabetic neuropathy.
  • Autoimmune Disease Treatment: Medications that suppress the immune system can reduce inflammation and nerve damage in autoimmune-related neuropathies.

Alternative Treatments

In addition to conventional medical treatments, several alternative therapies can help manage peripheral neuropathy symptoms and improve quality of life.

1. Massage Therapy

Massage therapy can help alleviate symptoms by:

  • Improving Circulation: Enhanced blood flow can promote healing and reduce muscle tension.
  • Reducing Muscle Tension: Relaxing muscles can decrease pressure on the nerves.
  • Promoting Relaxation: Reducing stress and anxiety can help manage chronic pain.

2. Acupuncture

Acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate nerves and muscles, potentially reducing pain and improving function.

3. Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care focuses on diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal disorders, particularly those involving the spine and joints. Chiropractors use various techniques to adjust the spine and other joints to improve alignment, reduce nerve compression, and enhance overall health.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care

  • Non-Invasive: Chiropractic adjustments are a non-surgical treatment option.
  • Pain Relief: Many patients experience significant pain relief after chiropractic treatments.
  • Improved Function: Chiropractic care can improve mobility and function, reducing the impact of peripheral neuropathy.
  • Holistic Approach: Chiropractors often address overall health, including nutrition and lifestyle factors, which can contribute to better outcomes.

The Zone Technique: A Specialized Chiropractic Approach

While typical chiropractic care offers numerous benefits for managing peripheral neuropathy, there is a specialized technique known as the Zone Technique that may provide the best results for eliminating symptoms and addressing the root cause.

What is the Zone Technique?

The Zone Technique is a chiropractic method developed by Dr. Peter Goldman. It focuses on balancing six systems within the body, which Dr. Goldman refers to as “zones”: the glandular, eliminative, nervous, digestive, muscular, and circulatory systems. The theory is that imbalances in these zones can lead to various health issues, including peripheral neuropathy.

How Does the Zone Technique Work?

  1. Assessment: The chiropractor assesses the patient’s zones by palpating specific points on the head.
  2. Zone Balancing: Based on the assessment, the chiropractor performs adjustments to specific areas of the spine and body to restore balance to the affected zones.
  3. Follow-Up: Regular follow-up sessions help maintain balance and address any recurring issues.

Why the Zone Technique is Effective

  • Holistic Approach: By addressing multiple systems in the body, the Zone Technique aims to treat the root cause of symptoms rather than just the symptoms themselves.
  • Personalized Care: Each treatment is tailored to the individual’s specific imbalances, providing a customized approach to healing.
  • Comprehensive Healing: By restoring balance to the body’s systems, the Zone Technique can promote overall health and prevent future issues.


Peripheral neuropathies encompass a wide range of conditions that can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. Understanding the potential causes and available treatments is crucial for managing this condition effectively. While medical treatments and alternative therapies such as massage can provide relief, chiropractic care offers a non-invasive and holistic approach that can significantly improve outcomes.

Among the various chiropractic techniques, the Zone Technique stands out as a comprehensive method that addresses the root causes of peripheral neuropathies by balancing the body’s systems. By considering this specialized approach, patients may find the most effective and lasting relief from their symptoms, ultimately leading to better health and quality of life.

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