Do you suffer from chronic pain, weakness, or numbness? These symptoms are indicative of neuropathy. While neuropathy is often associated with diabetics, neuropathy is an unfortunate side effect of many illnesses or severe injuries. If you want a more permanent solution to neuropathy besides medication, you may want to look into cryoanalgesia.
What is Cryoanalgesia?
Cryoanalgesia, or cryoneurolysis, is a process where nerve pathways are frozen. Once these pathways are frozen, the target nerve axons die and pain signals can't reach the brain. This process can eliminate the pain of your neuropathy.
Cryoanalgesia has been used in the medical field for a long time in different forms. In fact, if you ice an injury, that is a basic form of cryoanalgesia since you are using cooler temperatures to suppress pain responses. But cryoanalgesia has become more sophisticated with medical advancements. Today, procedures are usually performed at a doctor's office or hospital.
How Does Cryoanalgesia Work?
During this procedure, your doctor will do conscious sedation for the pain. Once the anesthetic is acting in your system, the doctor will then cut an incision and insert a small probe into the nerve bundles. You may feel some slight discomfort, but it shouldn't be very painful.
When the probe is turned on, the tip of the instrument will form a tiny ball of ice to freeze the nerves. The probe will be removed, and the site will be bandaged. The whole procedure may only take half an hour to an hour.
What are the Pros and Cons?
Obviously, the biggest pro is that you will no longer feel pain from neuropathy! This can be a huge blessing and improve your quality of life. A great benefit of cryoanalgesia is that it can be used to help with other ailments you may be suffering from. It's not only successful with neuropathy, but other conditions as well, such as chronic back pain, arthroscopy scar tissue, osteoarthritis, phantom limb pain, etc.
The downside is that for some patients, this procedure may not be permanent. Some patients' nerves regenerate enough that pain sensations start again. If that's the case, you may need to redo the procedure. Like any medical treatment, there is always a risk that you could get an infection after the procedure. But if you follow your doctor's instructions, this is unlikely to occur.
If you are in pain because of neuropathy, talk with your doctor about how cryoanalgesia can help.