Peripheral neuropathy is a health condition that develops when the peripheral nerves get damaged. It most often affects the hands and feet.
The peripheral nerves send messages from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. When the nerves are damaged, they do not function the way they should such as failing to transmit messages, distorting the message, or sending a message when there was none. This can result in a variety of symptoms depending on the particular nerves that are damaged.
If sensory nerves are damaged, then sensation will be affected. Symptoms may include:
- Numbness in extremities
- Pins-and-needles sensation
- Burning, freezing, or sharp pain
- Sensitivity to touch
If the motor nerves are damaged, it will affect muscle movement. Symptoms may include:
- Muscle weakness
- Coordination problems
If autonomic nerves are damaged, then organ control may be affected. Symptoms may include:
- Sweating and heat intolerance
- Digestive problems
- Bladder problems
- Changes in heart rate and blood pressure
- Unexplained lightheadedness
Peripheral neuropathy can happen for a variety of reasons and is often connected to other health conditions. Some of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy include:
- Medical conditions
- Diabetes – More than 50 percent of people with diabetes develop neuropathy in their lives.
- Autoimmune diseases – Conditions like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren’s syndrome can cause damage to nerves.
- Tumors – Cancerous and noncancerous tumors can impinge on nerves and cause damage. When the tumor presses against the nerves, there is a chance of them getting damaged.
- Lifestyle problems
- Vitamin deficiencies – Having an unhealthy diet that is vitamin deficient can lead to nerve problems because nerve health depends on vitamins like B, E, and niacin.
- Alcoholism – Being alcoholic can increase the chances of a person being vitamin deficient.
- Other causes
- Trauma – Accidents that occur due to a motor vehicle collision, sports injury, or falls can cause damage to peripheral nerves.
Prevention and Treatment
The treatment for peripheral neuropathy depends on the underlying cause that is responsible for the condition. This includes managing medical conditions like diabetes and making lifestyle changes like reducing alcohol intake and eating a healthy, nutritious diet. If you have peripheral neuropathy, your doctor may recommend a variety of treatments to help you manage the symptoms you experience.
If you suspect you may have peripheral neuropathy, it’s time to talk to a medical professional who is trained to treat it. The experts at Star Spine & Sport are trained and experienced in treating conditions like peripheral neuropathy and would love to help you. Call (303) 238-4277 to make an appointment today. You can also request an appointment online.