What Is Peripheral Neuropathy?

July 10, 2016 | Pain Management
What Is Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is when nerves beyond the brain and spinal cord are damaged and not working properly. The peripheral nerves can be damaged following an accident or trauma, as a result of uncontrolled diabetes, infections, medicines such as chemotherapy treatments and vitamin deficiencies such as Vitamin B-12. Peripheral neuropathy isn't something you can necessarily prevent or cure, but it is treatable. There are different types of peripheral neuropathy and different side effects to go along with them.

Damage to the peripheral sensory nerves results in feelings of numbness, tingling or pain. Peripheral neuropathy of sensory nerves can interfere with activities of daily living such as buttoning a shirt or cooking. Autonomic peripheral nerves control functions of the internal organs. For example, damage to bladder nerves may result in bladder leakage or being unable to empty your bladder. Motor peripheral nerves help your muscles move effectively. Damage to motor nerves can cause weakness and problems with motor skills resulting in poor coordination and falls.

Treatment of peripheral neuropathy depends on the severity and cause of your symptoms. For mild discomfort, over the counter medications like NSAIDS or stretches to smooth a pinched nerve may effectively treat symptoms. Prescription medications such as prescription NSAIDS or other medications to control nerve pain may be prescribed by your doctor for more intense pain or pain that is uncontrolled with non pharmacologic methods and over the counter medications. For more serious cases, patients may require medication injections to the affected area, nerve stimulating devices and in extreme circumstances, surgery to cut the painful nerve.

Discuss any symptoms of peripheral neuropathy with your physician. They can help determine the cause which will prevent further damage to the nerves. For example, better control of blood sugar levels may decrease diabetic peripheral neuropathy and adjusting a vitamin deficiency may help to restore nerve function. Nerve damage can take anywhere from weeks to years to heal and in some cases may never be fully restored. Don't suffer with peripheral neuropathy any longer. Talk with one of the doctors at NewSouth NeuroSpine today about symptoms and treatment options that may be right for you.