Peripheral Neuropathy is a disorder that results from damage to the peripheral nerves. The nerves other than the ones found in your brain and spinal cord.
This set of nerves receives electrical impulses from the brain and spinal cord, the central nervous system and sends them to other parts of your body.
In addition, it’s responsible for relaying messages from other body parts, back to the central nervous system. This communication is how your body knows what to do when problems occur.
Damage to the peripheral nervous makes it difficult to send and receive messages, this causes complications to arise.
Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy
Some of these symptoms include numbness, prickling or tingling feeling.You can have a burning feeling that seems to worsen at night. The slightest touch might be painful. You can have muscle twitches.
Neuropathy can affect the sense of touch, which makes it difficult to tell the difference between hot and cold.
You may have difficulty with zipping and buttoning. Sometimes the damage is so severe, that a person might have muscle weakness, which leads to difficulty in mobility, balance and possible atrophy.
They could have bone loss and organ dysfunctions, like digestion issues, incontinence, and erectile dysfunction.
Types of Peripheral Neuropathy
There are two types of neuropathy, chronic and acute. Acute is usually caused by a disease. The symptoms and progression are generally sudden. It takes a while to recover.
With chronic neuropathy the symptoms and progression are slow. Sometimes their symptoms will remain the same for a while and usually decrease before an attack. Unless enhanced by a disease, chronic neuropathy is seldom fatal.
12 Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy
Why do I have Peripheral Neuropathy?
There are several ways Peripheral neuropathy occurs. I will explain a little about each of the paragraphs below.
1- Injury is the most common cause of nerve damage. This can be from sports, falls, car or motorcycle accident.
The damage can be minor like a pinched nerve, or so severe that the nerve’s completely severed.
2- Diseases can cause this disorder to occur. This is especially true when it affects the endocrine system.
In fact, over half the people with diabetes have some form. Making diabetes the number one reason for peripheral neuropathy.
– Liver and Kidney disease. If the toxins in our blood become extremely high this can cause nerve damage.
– Autoimmune disease is where the immune system attacks and destroys its own tissue. Sometimes this destruction can lead to nerve damage.
– Lyme disease can cause nerve damage. This disease occurs when a person is bitten by an infected tick. Neuropathy generally occurs within the first couple of weeks after the initial bite.
3- Hormonal changes can cause nerve pain. Our hormones affect how our body functions so a decrease in thyroxin can cause fluid overload which could compromise nerves.
The overabundance of the growth hormone causes a person’s bones to grow larger than they should and this increase in bone structure can pinch nerves.
4- Vitamin depletion our body needs all the B vitamins, Vitamin E, and niacin, in order to function properly. A lack of these vitamins causes disruption in the nerve impulses which creates neuropathy.
5- Alcoholism because of their poor eating habits, lack of thiamine and the alcohol consumption, they can have what’s known as alcohol neuropathy.
6- Damage to the blood vessels can decrease the oxygen and other essential nutrients to specific areas and this can cause neuropathy to occur.
These blood vessels could be blocked from plaque buildup, or they can become hard, stiff.
7- Inflammation when an area becomes inflamed swelling occurs and this compresses the nerve causing damage.
Sometimes the inflamed tissue causes nerves to become inflamed, which can lead to injury, infection and nerve damage.
8- Tumors sometimes benign tumors can grow on the nerve which can cause extreme pain.
These tumors can spread to surrounding nerves, causing pain to increase. Diseases and injuries cause a tumor to develop.
9- Muscle Tendon and Ligament Damage overworking a specific body area will cause injury. This injury can cause pain and swelling, which causes the surrounding nerves to become compromised.
10- Toxic substance, exposure to harmful chemicals can cause nerve damage. This is why it is so important to wear protective gear when you have to be around them.
11- Infections certain infections can cause nerve damage some of them include the herpes virus-like Epstein-Barr, cytomegalovirus, and HIV.
12- Genetics Sometimes genetics cause neuropathy to occur. Some can begin in infancy while others start until early adulthood.
The doctor will first get your medical history. He will then ask you about your work, extracurricular activities, and alcohol consumption.
He’ll ask about risk factors like HIV, toxin exposure and exposure to other infections. He will ask about your family medical history.
He’ll do a physical, neurological exam and order blood work. He might order an MRI, CT scan to determine the extent of the damage, and a spinal tap to confirm the diagnosis. A doctor may do a biopsy of the skin or nerve.
He could order an EMG to determine if its muscle or nerve‘s that’s causing the pain. This involves inserting tiny needles into muscles to measure electrical impulses.
He might do an NVE nerve conduction test. This will determine the extent of the damage and what’s causing the symptoms to occur.
What happens is a probe sends electrical impulses in the body. The doctor will measure response time and the impulse speed.
The doctor will want to treat the cause of the neuropathy. This will prevent further damage from occurring while the nerves repair. The doctor will treat the symptoms.
This could include things like pain medicines, muscle relaxers, Immunosuppressive medicine, immunoglobulin’s, antiepileptic drugs, antidepressants, anticonvulsant, and local analgesic, He might prescribe assistive devices.
The doctor will suggest you start eating a well-balanced diet and take a multivitamin daily.
He will recommend an exercise program, perhaps advise you to see a physical therapist. He’ll suggest you stop smoking and limit alcohol intake.