Nerve pathology, or neuropathy, is a condition in which a nerve functions improperly due to injury or disease, causing numbness, tingling or pain from mild to severe, or other health issues depending on the nerves affected.
There are many different types of neuropathy. Neuropathy can be in the peripheral nervous system, affecting the extremities, or it can be focused on any of the cranial nerves, for example optical dysfunction could be caused by a neuropathy of the optic nerve. There is also neuropathy of the autonomic (involuntary) nervous system, where nerves that control the heart and circulation, digestion, bowel and bladder function.
Neuropathy has a variety of causes including diseases, injuries, infections, and even vitamin deficiency. It is commonly caused by diabetes, but can also be caused by autoimmune disease, tumors/cancer, infections like Lyme’s disease, alcoholism, an inherited genetic disorder, toxic exposure, and even drugs and medication.
Conventional medical treatments vary by the nerves affected and their associated symptoms. Common classes of drugs used include antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and of course opioid and opioid- like drugs. To increase the effectiveness of these medications, as well as to reduce their common side effects, many neuropathy patients are turning to alternative medicine.