Your nervous system is among the most complex and diverse systems your body has, connecting to and in some way regulating nearly every activity. Its four primary functions are receiving sensory input (touch, pressure, pain, temperature), receiving and perceiving special sensations (taste, smell, sight, auditory), processing sensory input from different areas of the body, and generating responses to sensory input. Your nervous system relays information from your brain and your spinal cord to the rest of your body, and damage to your nerves can affect the way your body functions in many ways.
Peripheral neuropathy is a form of nerve damage that affects nerves outside of your brain and spinal cord and can come from different causes with a wide variety of effects on your body. Some symptoms of this condition may be subtle, so knowing the signs can assist you in getting help sooner. Let’s look at how this condition works, its causes and symptoms, and how it can be treated.
Patients in the Fort Worth and Arlington, Texas areas looking for relief from peripheral neuropathy can find help with the skilled medical team at the Neuropathy & Pain Centers of Texas. We are dedicated to treating patients with acute and chronic pain conditions, using a variety of medical and holistic approaches to give you the results you need.
Understanding peripheral neuropathy
The vast network of nerves that is your peripheral nervous system transmits signals from your brain and spinal cord throughout your body and is important to how many parts of your body function. This includes your arms, hands, legs, feet, face, mouth, internal organs, blood circulation, and digestion.
When nerves are damaged, they can send erroneous pain messages to your brain, not relay pain signals when your body is hurt, or create other problems. There are over 100 different types of peripheral neuropathy, each with different symptoms.
Causes and symptoms
Disruption of normal peripheral nerve function can be a result of systemic illness, infection, hormonal imbalance, some medications, vitamin deficiency, inherited disorders, and physical injury. Diabetes is a common cause, affecting over half of people dealing with the condition. People dealing with this form of neuropathy can look for these signs:
- Numbness, tingling, or prickling in your hands and feet
- Sharp, jabbing, throbbing or burning pain
- Sensitivity to touch (sometimes extreme)
- Muscle weakness
- Lack of coordination
- Pain during normal activities that shouldn’t cause it
This condition can affect one nerve (mononeuropathy, like with carpal tunnel syndrome), two or more nerves (multiple neuropathy), or a multitude of nerves (polyneuropathy). Polyneuropathy is the most common.
Methods of treatment will vary, and depend on whether there is any underlying cause for your type of peripheral neuropathy. Here are the categories of treatment:
For mild cases, over-the-counter medications like non-steroidal,anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), but more severe cases may require prescription painkillers (Tramadol, oxycodone), which are only used when other treatments fail because of their addictive qualities. Other types include anti-seizure medications, topical creams, and antidepressants.
Physical therapy is a common way to manage mild conditions, and other methods include transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS),which uses a low-level electric current to help ease nerve pain, assist with plasma exchange, and balance intravenous immune globulin, which helps people with inflammation-related neuropathy
Surgery is also an option to relieve pressure on affected nerves, and even alternative methods like acupuncture are used to manage many types of neuropathy.
Catching this condition early is the best way to avoid any complications associated with nerve damage, so if you’re experiencing the symptoms and want to get help, make an appointment with the medical team at the Neuropathy & Pain Centers of Texas today to get relief.