NUMBNESS, TINGLING SENSATIONS, NEUROPATHY AND NEURITIS
by Lawrence Wilson, MD
© July 2012, The Center For Development
I would estimate that over one quarter of our clients complain of one or more of these common symptoms. I find that a common cause for numbness and tingling, in particular, is often a blood sugar disturbance. This can occur even when serum and urine blood sugar levels are within normal limits. This is explained below in more detail.
However, other causes may be present as well. Nutritional balancing science is helpful for most of these cases, although one must also make sure that mechanical causes are addressed as well.
DIABETES, HYPOGLYCEMIA AND PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY
I find that hypoglycemia and diabetes are closely related, extremely common, and often go unrecognized and undiagnosed. As an experiment, Dr. Robert Atkins, MD, tested everyone who walked through his office door for any reason with a 5-hour glucose tolerance test. Over 75% had an abnormal test. This was in the 1970s, I believe. Today the situation is probably far worse. I would estimate that over 90% of the American population has a disturbed glucose metabolism, thanks to too much stress, eating sugars, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and the presence of excessive toxic metals.
While the exact mechanisms are not clear, diabetes, in particular, is associated with peripheral neuropathy. This simply means tingling, numbness or other unusual sensations in the nerves of the extremities – the arms and the legs. I believe this is the most important cause for these common symptoms.
Diabetes difficult to detect in its early stages. Most of the time, the person has not been diagnosed with diabetes or hypoglycemia. The main reason for this is that early diabetes is not easy to diagnose. Simple blood or urine tests for sugar, or even for insulin, are not sufficient. The only recognized medical test is a 5-hour glucose tolerance test.
This test is cumbersome to perform, for which reason it is not used as much as it might be. Also, doctors sometimes disagree on which results constitute a case of diabetes. The test is not always definitive because diabetes and hypoglycemia are not simple conditions. They are gradual, progressive disorders that may come and go with stress, dietary habits, and perhaps other factors such as fatigue, pregnancy or even the time of the month for menstruating women.
As a result, most people are completely unaware of any problem at all. Early signs of diabetes such as weight loss or weight gain, frequent urination, excessive thirst and others may not be present. However, one of the earliest signs of blood sugar intolerance or imbalance is numbness and tingling in the extremities.
The exact causes of peripheral neuropathy. In advanced cases of diabetes, tingling and numbness are due to arteriosclerosis of the smaller arteries and even capillaries in the extremities. However, I am not sure this is the cause in early cases of diabetes and hypoglycemia. More likely, it is due to subtle nutrient imbalances, or perhaps an effect of the sugar besides arteriosclerosis.
Other causes. Neuropathy can also be caused by a pinched nerve, chiropractic imbalances or a subtle or chronic infection affecting the nerves. Another possible cause is a toxin or irritant that lodges in the extremities causing nerve damage. Many toxins lodge in the arms, legs, hands and feet because circulation in these areas is not as good as in the trunk areas of the body. However, I believe these causes are not as common as a subtle blood sugar disturbance or intolerance.
NUTRITIONAL BALANCING HELPFUL FOR NUMBNESS AND TINGLING
The reasons I believe that sugar intolerance is usually involved in neuropathy today are:
Tingling and numbness usually resolve on a complete
nutritional balancing program designed to correct many subtle aspects of blood
A nutritional balancing program corrects blood sugar problems in many ways. These include, but are not limited to replenishing the levels of many nutrients needed for sugar handling, such as zinc, copper, manganese, chromium, vanadium, calcium, magnesium and others. Also, the major mineral ratios need to be balanced, the rest level needs to improve and of course most people’s diets contain too many carbohydrates as well.
When this is done properly, most symptoms subside completely. However, it is possible that some nerve damage will remain if the symptom has gone on for a while.
NEURITIS AND NEURALGIA
Neuritis may accompany tingling and numbness, and may have similar causes. However, neuritis is more of an inflammatory condition of the nerves. It may be localized, or it may affect large parts of the body. In this case, it is called polyneuritis. Another medical name for nerve pain is neuralgia.
This symptom may have many causes, ranging from infections such as shingles, herpes, the polio virus and many other organisms that attack the nerves. It can also be due to injury to a nerve, a pinched nerve, nutritional deficiencies, toxic metal poisoning, muscle tension in a few cases, chiropractic misalignments in many cases, and even psychosomatic or psychological reasons in a few cases.
Help for neuralgia and neuritis. Identifying the cause is most important. If the cause is mechanical, such as an injury, muscle tension or chiropractic misalignments, these must be addressed for complete recovery. Taking pain killers without figuring out the cause of the problem, which is a common situation, is silly and the problem will often become worse.
Biochemical and nutritional causes must also be addressed. These are usually subtle, such as the presence of toxic metals in the body. Nerves require almost every nutrient imaginable. Many of these are deficient in large segments of the population today. These include omega-3 fatty acids, b-complex vitamins, many minerals and anti-oxidant nutrients found in many foods, but not in refined and processed foods, sugars and other common fare.
Toxic metal and toxic chemical removal. Nutritional balancing is an excellent way to slowly remove these toxins, along with removal of toxic chemicals that can also cause neuritis and neuralgia. The process may take months or up to several years or more, depending upon the severity and location of the toxins in the brain, for example.
Infrared therapy. An excellent therapy for pain of many kinds, including neuritis, is the daily use of a near infrared sauna. If this is not possible, using a single reddish ‘heat lamp’, which is a type of near infrared lamp, on the area for 15-30 minutes at a time, several times daily, will often be very helpful. The infrared light appears to improve circulation, relax the muscles and nerves, and perhaps help rebuild some damaged nerve tissue. It may even help reduce chiropractic and other misalignments that are very common.
Some doctors use red lasers or LED lights instead of red heat lamps. I have less experience with these, but they all can help. The red heat lamp can be done at home, is safe, inexpensive and quite powerful.