Peripheral Neuropathy (PN) is a term that simply means any diseased condition of the nervous system outside of the spinal cord. More than 100 types of peripheral neuropathy have been identified based on the underlying disease causing the symptoms. It is important to know is that peripheral neuropathy is a symptom – not a disease in itself!
The underlying disease can affect one or more types of nerves, including sensory, motor or autonomic (nerves that control heart rate, digestion, breathing and sweating, among others). Some medical conditions, such as diabetes, can lead to symptoms in all three types of nerves.
Signs and Symptoms
It is not possible to make a definitive diagnosis without a thorough examination by an experienced physician who specializes in peripheral nerve conditions. If you have been given a diagnosis of “neuropathy”, then it is likely that much more needs to be known about your condition to offer optimal treatment. There is hope for most patients who have been told that there is nothing more that can be done other than take Lyrica (Pregabalin) or Neurontin (Gabapentin).
Peripheral neuropathy usually begins gradually and worsens with time. It is important to get an appointment at US Neuropathy Centers before your symptoms get worse.
In general, strong indicators of neuropathy include numbness or tingling of the extremities, weakness or heaviness in muscles that has lasted over time and may be accompanied by cramping, and/or sudden pricking, burning, stabbing, or otherwise uncomfortable sensations on the skin.
Peripheral neuropathy does not affect all patients the same. Symptoms can vary, and usually start in the feet, but can also affect the hands, legs and arms. These often include:
- Generalized Pain
- Tingling or Numbness
- Burning, Prickling or Stabbing Pain
- Muscle weakness that may be accompanied by cramping or twitching
- Abnormally Sensitive Skin
- Loss of Sensation
- Loss of Balance
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is not wise to wait to see if it gets better. Neuropathy generally worsens with time, and if not treated, can lead to further complications.
Peripheral Neuropathy is a symptom that can be caused by one or more disease processes. Common causes include:
- Nerve entrapment, such as carpal or tarsal tunnel syndrome
- Autoimmune Disorders
- Diabetes, pre-diabetes or other metabolic conditions
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Medications used to treat other diseases
- Physical injury
- Complications from surgery
- Scar tissue
- Vascular Disorders
- Physical injury/Nerve Injury