Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy

What is peripheral neuropathy?

Peripheral Neuropathy occurs when the nerves that send signals to and from the brain and spinal cord are damaged or diseased.

Neuropathies are typically classified based on the areas affected and how many nerves are involved. It's important to seek medical care if you notice pain, tingling, "stabbing" pain, or consistent discomfort, or are experiencing any difficulty doing normal movements and activities you were previously able to do. A correct diagnosis requires a specialized physician and often symptoms can be alleviated through therapy or treated with a prescription.

Causes

Peripheral neuropathy doesn't have one cause; several conditions cause its nerve damage. Here are a few of the many causes of peripheral neuropathy:

  • Autoimmune diseases, which include Sjogren's syndrome, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and vasculitis
  • Diabetes, More than half the people with this condition, develop some neuropathy
  • Infections, which include certain viral or bacterial infections, including Lyme disease, shingles, Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis B and C, leprosy, diphtheria, and HIV.
  • Inherited disorders, such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, are hereditary types of neuropathy.
  • Tumors, growths, whether cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign), can develop on top of nerves or put pressure on nerves.
  • Bone marrow disorders. These include an abnormal protein in the blood, a form of bone cancer, lymphoma, and the rare disease amyloidosis.
  • Other diseases, which include kidney disease, liver disease, connective tissue disorders, and an underactive thyroid.

Symptoms and treatment

Peripheral neuropathy covers a wide range of symptoms because a wide variety of conditions causes it. Nerves are all over the body and can be affected by a lot of different things, which means many symptoms go along with specific types of peripheral neuropathy. Here are a few:

  • Numbness, prickling or tingling in your feet or hands, which can spread into your legs and arms
  • Sharp, jabbing, throbbing, or burning pain
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch
  • Pain during activities that shouldn't cause pain, such as pain in your feet when putting weight on them or when they're under a blanket
  • Lack of coordination
  • Muscle weakness
  • Feeling as if you're wearing gloves or socks when you're not
  • Paralysis
  • Heat intolerance
  • Excessive sweating or not being able to sweat
  • Bowel, bladder, or digestive problems
  • Changes in blood pressure, causing dizziness or lightheadedness

There are a lot of treatments available for peripheral neuropathy. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a therapy where electrodes placed on the skin deliver a gentle electric current at varying frequencies. Physical therapy can help to strengthen and improve movements. Surgery may be an excellent way to relieve pressure on nerves. Talk to your doctor about what treatment is best for your peripheral neuropathy.

If you want to learn more about Peripheral Neuropathy or would like to schedule a consultation, request an appointment with NewSouth NeuroSpine today.

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