Our bodies are incredibly complex; one single defect in a single cell could wreak absolute havoc; that said, our nervous system is the epitome of complexity. A pinched nerve could leave someone in pain for days or weeks; a swollen or severed nerve could leave someone partially paralyzed. One tiny piece can offset everything. Many ailments could befall our nervous system, and a variety of different things could cause them. Peripheral neuropathy (PN) can cause pain and extreme discomfort in patients. With the help of Stem Cell Miami, strides are being made to improve regenerative medicine by using stem cell therapy.
The Nervous System
Our nervous system is a complex super-highway sending electrical pulses back and forth between the brain and the rest of the body. The nervous system is made of two parts, the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral nervous system (branching out everywhere else). Although there are two systems, they can be broken down into four segments: central nerves, cranial nerves, autonomic nerves, and peripheral nerves.
- Central Nerves: The nerves in your brain and spinal cord
- Cranial Nerves: Nerves that go from the brain to the eyes, mouth, ears, anything within the head
- Autonomic Nerves: These nerves control mostly organs- lungs, heart, stomach, bladder, etc.
- Peripheral Nerves: These link the arms, hands, legs, and feet with the spinal cord
What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Each case of PN is different, but basically, it means that a nerve or nerves may be damaged in some way either distorting or completely disrupting the signals from the brain and spinal cord to that area of the body. This usually results in numbness or tingling and most of the time will affect the hands or feet. Typically, when a patient is diagnosed with PN it is a result of another ailment; it is not a disease on its own, and it can affect just one nerve (mononeuropathy) or multiple nerves (polyneuropathy). For example, someone who is diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome has a mononeuropathic type of PN caused by repetitive motion involving the hands typically caused by over-use of keyboards, pianos, even things like knitting or crocheting. Some of the causes of neuropathy are trauma from injury inflammation from overextension, or prolonged pressure.
There are many ways to treat these types of neuropathy. For more mild cases, pain relievers or anti-inflammatories might be recommended. If the severity of the situation increases, there are a number of prescription options available, with more discoveries being made each year. There are also alternative modes of treatment as well, including electronic nerve stimulation. One of the more groundbreaking discoveries involves regenerative medicine using stem cells. Because this avenue of treatment is still highly experimental (and still a little controversial) the options are still limited on receiving this kind of treatment. However, given that in most cases stem cells can be harvested from the patient (not only from embryos as many still believe) this is one field of treatment that is about to blossom.
Our bodies are complex, and sometimes the possibilities and treatment options can be endless. If you suffer from peripheral neuropathy, call or visit Stem Cell Miami to learn more about the options in regenerative medicine and how it could help.