What is a nerve made out of and why does it matter, let’s discuss Neuroanatomy Basics.
The Cell Body
A nerve contains a part called the cell body. The cell body is where energy is produced.
This is where the electrical stimulation wants to come in and create an electrical gradient that will cause a nerve to fire. All of this action happens in the cell body.
The cell body then has a projection coming down out of it called an axon. This axon is a lot like a copper wire. It has an inner part that carries a logical current.
The outer part, that’s made of cholesterol and fat, helps insulate the wire. That signal is going to go one way and it’s going to travel into a nerve ending that’s going to send an outgoing signal to other nerves.
The key to a signal working as it should lies in the nerves and their blood supply. These nerves have their own blood supply so they’re going to have arteries and veins taking nutrients to and from the nerve itself.
When you have a reduction in the blood supply going to the nerve, what’s going to happen to the nerve? They shrivel up and die.
Think of the nerve like a tree. If you stop watering a tree today, is it going to die tomorrow? No, it doesn’t. It takes a little while.
If you catch it early enough, if you give the tree some water, sunshine and fertilizer, three or four days down the road the tree is going to come back– and it will thrive.
Nerves are the exact same way. When the blood supply is reduced, the function of that nerve decreases. If we can catch it early enough then we can actually do some things to stimulate those nerves, help them revive and regrow.
That’s the whole premise of our system– figuring out what stage of dysfunction the nerves are at and what they need to thrive again.
When dealing with peripheral neuropathy, we have to look at something called the Bio-mechanical Chain. Which basically means if the neuropathy is in your foot, where else can the problem exist?
You’ve got nerves going all the way from your foot to your brain, so the problem possibly exists in multiple locations.
The bottom of your foot is actually divided down the middle into two nerves– the Medial Plantar nerve and the Lateral Plantar nerve.
They’re going to make branches coming up to form what is known as the Tibial Nerve. These branches are going to come up the leg. Take a moment to study this diagram and you’ll see what we’re talking about.
Coming from the same leg but on the side of the leg and the deepest part of the foot, you also have a several different nerves coming together called the Deep Peroneal Nerve and the Superficial Peroneal Nerve. These merge to form the Common Peroneal Nerve.
Now, these two nerves actually join together at the knee to form what is known as the Sciatic Nerve. Now the Sciatic Nerve right at the knee.
Your knee contains a small branch of a nerve called the Popliteal Nerve Nerve which goes to a little muscle in the back of your knee called the Popliteus Muscle.
What happens when there’s a problem with the Popliteal Nerve? It will cause the knee to actually have abnormal pressure on the nerve. When you stand up the Popliteal muscle is supposed to unlock the knee so you can stand up freely.
When there’s a dysfunction in the knee like this, a grinding action happens when you stand up and it’s going to cause early wear and tear on the joint.
We’re going to dive deeper into the connection between peripheral neuropathy and knee pain shortly.
If you think we can help you find relief from your peripheral neuropathy or any type of nerve disorder and want to learn more about our healing approach using functional neuropathy and a whole-body mentality, please fill out this form and let’s start the conversation!