Your Knees & Your Nerves
There’s a common link between peripheral neuropathy and knee problems because of the relationship with this nerve.
Now, these two nerves actually join together at the knee to form what is known as the Sciatic Nerve.
The Sciatic Nerve right at the knee. Your knee contains a small branch of a nerve called the Popliteal Nerve which goes to a little muscle in the back of your knee called the Popliteal 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.
This Sciatic Nerve is then going to branch into four different areas. It’s going to go in through the L4 nerve root in your low back, the L5 nerve root in your low back, S1 in your sacrum and S2 in your sacrum.
There are four particular nerve roots where a dysfunction may exist that can cause a problem downstream. Meaning your peripheral neuropathy could be coming from anyone (or more) of these places.
Where is the problem actually occurring?
The Nerves and the Spinal Cord
We go upstream now and examine the nerves that are going to go up together and reach the L1, and forming your spinal cord.
The spinal cord is worth exploring for a moment. If we took a cross section of your cord, it’s going to look something like this:
The specific group of nerves called Large Diameter Afferent Nerves, carry vibration sense, joint position sense and light touch.
These nerves are impacted when you have peripheral neuropathy. They are the first to die off when a metabolic problem is choking off the blood supply.
Guess what we check on you when you come to the office? Joint position sense, vibration sense and light touch.
These nerves are going to come in to a very specific part of your spinal cord called Lamina II and then they’re going to cut off and they’re going to go up to the section of your brain called the Parietal lobe.
Your Parietal lobe is where your brain actually senses where your feet are.
Where can we have a problem with peripheral neuropathy?
When we step back and look at all of the nerve locations and joint placements, we see a very large span of potential nerve dysfunction locations.
Dysfunction could be in any one of these places. It could be showing up in one location as numbness or tingling in the toes in hands or feet.
Here’s the real kicker about the spinal cord. You have another group of nerves coming in to the back part of your spinal cord. They carry your pain fibers. They also carry pain sensation.
This realization is huge when it comes to peripheral neuropathy. When these nerves within the Large Diameter Afferent Nerve die, they’re supposed to be inhibiting pain at the spinal cord level.
When those nerves die, you physically feel more pain than you actually should because of the death of those nerves at that location.
For example, if your peripheral neuropathy causes your feet to relentlessly throb after you lay down at night to go to bed, it’s because you’re no longer walking around activating the Large Diameter Afferent Nerves and you feel more pain than you should.
Neurologically, where should we address the situation?
Should we just look it at one specific point of pain? No, we want to look at the entire system of nerves and find the points of dysfunction.
We want multiple areas wherever the pain is coming from. Because the cases that we’ve been successful with came from multiple different areas. Because of this, we have multiple therapies for each one of these areas.
For example, we may use what’s called the MR4 laser on your feet to help improve the blood flow and reduce pain levels.
We also use what’s called Peripheral Neuropathy Rehab Therapy to stimulate this Large Diameter Afferent pathways to get that spinal cord halfway back so it starts inhibiting pain again.
We can also use things like Decompression Therapy to take the pressure off the nerve roots here.
We have a lot of different options depending on what the exam tells us when we examine you to see if we can help you or not. That’s the neurological part of the process.
At Idaho Chiropractic Neurology, we customize your entire therapy program to reflect the areas of dysfunction that we uncover during your exam. If you’d like to start the conversation about locating and relieving your peripheral neuropathy pain, please fill out this form and let’s get started!