Chronic Pain Treatment in Sioux Falls

It can be difficult for people with chronic pain to explain the changes in their lives to their loved ones. Our society has little patience for suffering, and well-meaning individuals can quickly lose sympathy and the desire to understand.

The problem is chronic pain isn’t just a symptom of an injury or illness. Chronic pain is also the root cause of many other conditions. The one dealing with chronic pain finds more and more of their bodily systems are affected over time, leaving them less able to cope. Here are a few of the conditions caused by chronic pain:

  • An estimated 85% of chronic pain patients experience mental illness in the form of depression and anxiety. Patients are forced to make decisions based on their pain level rather than desire. They can feel isolated and alone. They see a bleak future where they never feel comfortable. It’s incredibly taxing emotionally as well as physically.
  • Every year a patient experiences chronic pain, they lose a 1.5 cm cube of gray matter. Gray matter is the portion of the brain that helps with decision-making, learning, attention span, focus, memory, and motor function. It takes 10 to 20 years for the average person to lose that much gray matter due to aging.
  • People with chronic pain tend to move less. Muscle atrophy and the resulting weakness lead to deteriorating posture and body alignment. This causes unusual wear on joints, muscle tension, gait, and motor function.
  • Chronic pain disrupts sleep patterns. Every part of the body needs sleep. During sleep cycles, the body focuses on repairing itself from the damage of the day. When the body can’t fall into regular, restorative sleep patterns, the cracks start to show. The long-term consequences of insomnia include hypertension, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, and colorectal cancer.
  • The body releases cortisol when it is under stress. Cortisol helps your body stay on high alert, which can be good for dealing with those tense situations that crop up from time to time. But chronic pain creates constant stress, so your body reacts by releasing excessive amounts of cortisol. Too much cortisol can increase inflammation, disrupt sleep, raise blood pressure, lower metabolism, and mess with your blood sugar levels.
  • Excessive inflammation from chronic pain causes oxidation and free radical damage and speeds aging and cell death.
  • The constant stress levels from chronic pain create a perpetual fight-or-flight response. This means that certain body systems get downgraded in order to prioritize those deemed most crucial to the stress response. This is alright for short bursts, but when things like chronic pain prolong the fight-or-flight response, those downgraded body systems experience restricted blood flow, oxygenation, and nutrient exchange. Tissues in the extremities start to die.
  • Constant pain lowers testosterone levels, leading to lowered libido in both men and women and erectile dysfunction.

Chronic pain treatment is essential in correcting many of these complex, interrelated issues. A major source of chronic pain is neuropathy, caused by various underlying conditions.

What Is Neuropathy?

Our bodies are finely tuned machines run by a supercomputer. Many of its operations are automatic. Consider the way we blink or move our eyes to focus or the way we make thousands of tiny adjustments as we walk to accommodate changes in terrain. When we run, our bodies restrict blood flow to nonessential systems so our legs can access more blood. Our hearts beat faster, our lungs draw in oxygen, and our sweat glands release moisture to keep us from overheating.

The brain automatically runs all of these operations using a biofeedback system. Nerves sense environmental changes like pressure, friction, temperature, texture, and damage. The neuron cells transmit that information via chemical messages back to the brain through the spinal column to process and then react. If a surface is too hot, we jerk our hand back almost before we recognize why.

When we turn an ankle, our bodies go limp as we fall to prevent greater damage. When we enter bright light after being in the dark too long, the iris closes to restrict excess light from entering the eye.

What Is Neuropathy?

When we turn an ankle, our bodies go limp as we fall to prevent greater damage. When we enter bright light after being in the dark too long, the iris closes to restrict excess light from entering the eye.

Nerves leaving the spinal column spread out in complicated formations to every organ, bone, and inch of skin. Damage to those nerves is called peripheral neuropathy. The biofeedback system is interrupted, corrupted, or destroyed depending on the source of damage and how long it continues without intervention. The brain can interpret corrupted signals as pressure, tingling, pins and needles, heat, cold, sharp, or dull pain. If there are no sensation signals, the brain may interpret this as either temporary or permanent numbness.

Causes of Neuropathy

Causes of Neuropathy

Some of the most common underlying conditions that cause peripheral neuropathy and the resulting pain are:

Diabetes — Insulin ushers blood sugar into cells for energy. If you were born with Type 1 diabetes, you don’t produce enough insulin to keep your blood sugar at normal levels. If you have Type 2 diabetes, then you’ve had excessive amounts of insulin in your system for so long that your body has become resistant. It takes more and more insulin to do the same job.

When the body has too much blood sugar, the sugar has an oxidative effect on blood vessels, like rust eating through metal. It affects the tiny blood vessels the most, which is why people with diabetes often notice foot pain first. The tiny blood vessels farthest from the heart no longer deliver oxygen and nutrients to the nerves, essentially starving them. As nerves get damaged or die, you experience chronic foot pain, followed by leg pain and hand pain.

Alcohol — Excessive blood alcohol levels cause blood vessels to constrict. The thinner passageways allow less blood through. The tiniest blood vessels are affected more severely. Like diabetic neuropathy, alcohol starves the nerves in the extremities.

Nicotine — Nicotine is also a vasoconstrictor (constricts blood vessels).

Toxins — There are a number of chemicals, compounds, and elements that can attack the nervous system, causing neuropathy. Many of these are in our environment in small amounts. For example, zinc is an essential nutrient in the proper dosage, and nitrous oxide used in dentists’ offices is rarely harmful.

Toxicity depends upon the length and amount of exposure and whether our bodies naturally get rid of the substance. The following substances may be harmful under certain conditions:

  • Acrylamide in cigarettes
  • Arsenic in contaminated well water
  • Brevetoxin from shellfish
  • Buckthorn berries, bark, and roots
  • Cadmium in tobacco products
  • Carbon disulfide is used in some manufacturing products.
  • Ciguatera toxin in shellfish
  • Ethanol in lacquers, aerosols, gas, solvents, and more
  • Ethylene glycol in antifreeze
  • Hexacarbons in glues and solvents
  • Lead was found in homes before 1978, glasswork, and other hobbies.
  • Mercury is found in fish, and after breaking something containing mercury, like thermometers, where it evaporates into the air we breathe.
  • Nitrous oxide in aerosol cans, glues, and clinical settings like dentists
  • Organophosphates in insecticides
  • Saxitoxin in shellfish
  • Thallium in cigarettes, manufacturing, and hazardous waste sites
  • Zinc Toxicity from smelting, welding, toxic waste, and people taking too much as supplements.

Chemotherapy — Cancer patients face many hard choices. Cancer is an invasive disease that can spread to multiple bodily systems, making decisive action necessary to preserve life. Chemo is one of the methods used to kill cancer cells. Cancer cells have higher metabolisms than other cells and take in the toxin faster. The trick is to use enough toxins to kill the cancer cells without killing healthy cells.

Unfortunately, the level of toxicity required to kill cancer can damage some of the more sensitive structures and cells in the body, which is why cancer patients lose their hair. The drugs also attack the tiny nerves in your hands and feet.

Some doctors are using ice around the feet and hands to make blood vessels constrict during chemotherapy infusions in order to force the toxins away from the nerves. As with any cancer treatment, it’s a balancing act between necessary and unnecessary damage.

Autoimmune Disorders — Our immune systems are essentially armies of warrior cells attacking pathogens and substances that can harm our bodies. Sometimes, the warrior cells get confused and start attacking healthy tissue, leading to a host of problems.

Not everyone develops autoimmune disorders under the same conditions. Certain ethnicities, genders, and nationalities predispose some individuals to the disorders. Other factors include nutrition levels, environmental exposures, and general health.

Common symptoms indicative of autoimmune disorders are fatigue, dizziness, muscle aches, swelling, trouble concentrating, low-grade fever, numbness and tingling in your hands and feet, skin rash, and hair loss. If you have symptoms that are recurring or last longer than any trauma or pathogen can explain, check with your doctor.

Autoimmune disorders include type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, inflammatory bowel disease, Addison’s disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, myasthenia gravis, autoimmune vasculitis.

Infectious Disease — There are viral and bacterial agents that cause peripheral neuropathy.

  • Viral pathogens: HIV, human T-cell lymphotropic virus, varicella-zoster virus, cytomegalovirus, epstein-barr virus, West Nile virus, and hepatitis C virus
  • Bacterial pathogens: Borrelia burgdorferi, corynebacterium diphtheria, campylobacter jejuni, mycobacterium leprae, and brucellosis

Genetic Disease — Hereditary neuropathy is passed from parent to child. Researchers have isolated 30 genes that lead to hereditary neuropathy. Just like all genetics, there’s no telling what genes you’ll pick up from each parent, so it’s not guaranteed you will inherit the disease. Still, it does raise the risk. If you’re experiencing neurological symptoms, check with your doctor.

Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease is a term for a group of hereditary neuropathies.

How Peripheral Neuropathy Can Affect You

Once you have peripheral neuropathy, there’s one big question: How will neuropathy change your life?

Pain And Numbness — The first sign of neuropathy is often pain and numbness in your extremities. It can feel like pins and needles, like they’re burning or itching, or like you’re always wearing gloves or socks so you can’t feel anything on the surface of your skin.

These symptoms may come and go to start. They can get better or worse when you change environments and routines. Neuropathy makes you hypersensitive to changes in pressure, friction, and temperature.

Temperature, for example, can play a major role in pain. If you go outside during the cold, blood vessels in your hands and feet constrict to preserve warmth around your vital organs. Constricted blood vessels mean the nerves aren’t getting adequate blood flow. Normal discomfort caused by having cold hands is amplified by neuropathy.

Types Of Nerve Damage

Dealing with the discomfort can be difficult. The better option is to try to prevent or minimize the temperature change altogether.

  • Wear insulated and impermeable gloves and boots to protect your hands and feet from extreme cold.
  • Use a thermostat to keep your home at a constant, comfortable temperature.
  • Swim in indoor pools in the summer so you don’t transition from hot ambient temperatures to drastically colder water.
  • Run errands and exercise in the morning on hot days and during the afternoon on cold days.

Sleep — Neuropathy can hurt normal sleep patterns. Some days, your feet might be too sensitive to bear the weight of a bedsheet, and you can’t find foot pain neuropathy relief. Rolling over may prove painful. Or you can have difficulty falling or staying asleep.

Lack of sleep can actually worsen symptoms. Fortunately, there are things you can do to improve your chances for a good night’s sleep and neuropathy pain relief.

  • Keep your bedroom between 68 and 75°F.
  • Establish nightly routines so your body knows when to shut down for the night.
  • Gentle stretches and massage can ease tension in muscles and nerves in the affected areas.
  • Use blackout curtains because ambient light from street lamps can keep you from sleeping deeply and can even trick your body into thinking the sun is coming up.
  • Blackout curtains are particularly important for people who work odd shifts and must sleep during the day.
  • Keep all electronics out of your bedroom.
  • Reading or playing a game can be tempting if you wake up, but you can spend much more time playing the game than you intend, losing precious hours of sleep.
  • Don’t stare at the dark ceiling for hours, which can feel increasingly frustrating, adding to your sleeplessness. Get up, get a drink of water, go to the bathroom, go through your bedtime ritual again, and then lie down.
  • You may find that white noise, like ocean waves or a fan, helps you block out other sounds that may wake you, like a neighbor’s dog barking at 2 AM.

Balance — In addition to pain and sleepless nights, you may wobble or feel unsteady and trip more frequently than before. Your brain responds to hundreds of signals from your feet and legs to keep you upright. Your brain makes constant mini-corrections in response to changes in the terrain. If your nerves can’t send those signals, your brain must rely on visual and auditory cues to help you stay balanced.

If your nerve signals are delayed, you can experience slow reaction times. This can lead to more falls.

Independence — Peripheral neuropathy can cause you to rely on others for your basic needs. Neuropathy can cause muscle weakness, making lifting and gripping things hard. If you can’t feel your feet, you can’t feel your car’s gas and brake pedals. Buttoning a shirt, fixing a meal, opening a jar, doing home repairs, doing housework, typing, texting, and even driving to your pain clinic in Sioux Falls get harder to do on your own.

Traditional pain treatment uses drugs to mask pain and interrupt electrical signals to the brain. Antidepressants and anti-seizure medications can help a patient find more comfort, but they don’t address the root causes of the pain and ongoing damage to the nerves. The longer the damage continues, the more likely it will be for the condition to become permanent.

We at Axiom Chiropractic & Neuropathy are dedicated to discovering and treating the root cause of your pain so that we can provide effective, lasting neuropathy pain relief, not just pain management.

Our Approach

Our Approach

A sickly plant can recover when given the optimal conditions for plant health, namely:

  • Soil with the right PH balance and nutrients
  • Adequate sunshine as well as shade for the more delicate plants
  • Fresh air
  • Temperatures that encourage growth
  • The right amount of water to carry nutrients into the roots without rotting the roots

Likewise, damaged but not yet dead nerves can heal, given the right environment. Chronic pain treatment in Sioux Falls starts with an in-depth medical history and examination to verify the cause(s) of nerve damage.

Step one is stopping further damage. If you have diabetes, we need to get your blood sugar under control. If your nerve damage stems from excessive drinking, abstaining from alcohol in the future is the only way to recover.

Step two is to create an internal environment conducive to healing. Your body will do the rest, repairing what nerves are repairable and preventing further damage. Your nerves need four things to thrive:

  1. Free range of motion. Pinched or trapped nerves can be released through certain chiropractic therapies, massage, and exercises.
  2. Free blood flow. By avoiding vasoconstrictors and substances like excess sugar or alcohol that damage veins and arteries, blood vessels can repair themselves and return to supplying nerves with nutrients. We can help improve blood flow with exercises and stimulation.
  3. Abundant oxygen.
  4. The right nutrients. Finding nutritional deficiencies helps your treatment team find out what recommendations they can give to best help you.

As part of step 3, we may be able to provide you with therapies you can do at home, saving you from frequent trips to our office. By sticking to the assigned program, you, too, can experience neuropathy pain relief.

To make an appointment with our neuropathy pain management clinic in Sioux Falls, click here.


The information, including but not limited to, texts, graphics, images, and other material contained in this article are for informational purposes only. None of the material mentioned is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new care regimen. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.