Peripheral neuropathy is a term for nerve disorders caused due to damage in the peripheral nervous system of the body. The peripheral nervous system is part of the nervous system outside your spinal cord and brain. It plays a key role in sending crucial information from the brain to different parts of the body and back to the brain.
Peripheral nerve damage interrupts the signals that reach the brain to the other parts of the body and vice versa. This condition can affect a single nerve or multiple nerves throughout your body. Each nerve in the peripheral symptom has a separate function. So, the damage and signs of peripheral neuropathy can depend on the cause and the type of nerve signals affected. Let us talk about the common peripheral symptoms.
Sensory symptoms like: -
1. Sharp and throbbing pain
2. Extreme touch sensitivity
3. Extreme pain during activities that do not generally 4. cause pain, like pain in feet when putting on weight.
5. Tingling sensation in feet and hands that might gradually 6. reach towards upper body and legs
7. Numbness in hands and feet.
Motor Symptoms include: -
1. Weak muscles
2. Muscle atrophy
3. Loss of muscle control
4. Paralysis causes to damage in motor nerves
Autonomic symptoms include: -
1. Low blood pressure, causing dizziness or lightheadedness
2. Difficulty tolerating heat
3. Complications with bladder and bowel
4. Excessive perspiration
Peripheral Neuropathy Diagnosis:
If you begin or are experiencing the symptoms mentioned above, it is better to contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and peripheral neuropathy treatment will prevent the spread of the disorder and symptoms and ensure damage control. If your doctor or healthcare advisor suspects you have peripheral neuropathy, they will refer you to a neurologist that will review your medical history and blood test and go for a physical and neurological examination.
1. Medical History – Your doctor will get familiar with your medical history, which involves asking questions revolving around your symptoms, social habits like alcohol and smoking, the kind of work environment you have, what causes you stress, triggers your pain, or if you have a family history of peripheral neuropathy.
2. Blood Test – Blood tests help find vitamin or mineral deficiencies in the body, causing health issues leading to peripheral neuropathy. Blood tests are also helpful in detecting organ dysfunctions or autoimmune disorders that further cause peripheral neuropathy.
3. Physical Neurological Test – During the physical examination, the doctors will detect signs of muscle weakness or loss of reflexes in any body part. The neurological tests will help the doctor learn about the cause of the disorder, the number of nerves damaged and affected, and the severity of the damage. Neurological tests may include: –
1. Nerve biopsies provide valuable information about the type and the cause of peripheral neuropathy.
2. Electromyogram (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity tests are undertaken to determine the electrical properties of the nerves. These tests help the doctor find abnormal nerves and damaged parts.
3. MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) test or scan produces detailed images of the organs and structures of the body internally. Physicians and doctors use these tests to discover the potential causes of peripheral damage.
Peripheral Neuropathy Treatment:
Like the symptoms, the treatment relies on the cause and extent of nerve damage. While there is no cure for most peripheral disorders, our experienced staff and professional experts will use extensive therapies to work on the underlying cause.
1. Medications – Your doctor or physician will guide you on what medicine would work based on your condition.
2. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation – TENS is a therapy that uses low-voltage electric current to provide pain relief caused due to peripheral neuropathy. A TENS unit consists of electrodes placed near or at the affected areas.
3. Physical therapy – Different exercises will strengthen the muscles weakened due to peripheral neuropathy. Our therapists will assemble a full-fledged therapy plan based on your needs. Canes or walkers may also be used as a part of this therapy.
4. Neural Prolotherapy – Neural prolotherapy for peripheral neuropathy targets the neurogenic inflammation in the superficial nerves. These nerves can be extremely painful and cause discomfort during injuries and peripheral neuropathy.
5. Surgery – For some severe peripheral neuropathy cases, surgery is the only recommended option.
6. Lifestyle change – Adapting to healthy lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and consumption of alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight, etc., can help prevent and control peripheral neuropathy symptoms.
Can peripheral neuropathy be reversed?
In some cases, peripheral neuropathy is reversible. It all depends on certain factors that influence the condition. The condition can be treated or cured if the disorder is detected in the beginning stages and treatment is done quickly.
How to reduce the risk of peripheral neuropathy?
Specific causes of peripheral neuropathy are preventable and reduced by following the listed tips: –
1. Eat a balanced and nutritious diet.
2. Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol
3. Avoid exposure to toxins, heavy metals, and poisons.
What is the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy?
Diabetes is one of the leading causes of peripheral neuropathy in the USA. Other common causes include infections, traumatic injuries, exposure to toxins, inherited causes, and metabolic health issues.
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