Peripheral neuropathy refers to a condition that formed as a result of damage to the set of nerves outside of the spinal cord and brain (peripheral nerves). The damage usually causes numbness, weakness, and pain most often in the extremities, such as the hands and feet. But it can also affect other areas of the body.
The peripheral nervous system is the line of communication from the central nervous system (spinal cord and brain) to the rest of the body including organs, skin, and muscles. It is also responsible for relaying sensory information back to the brain and central nervous system.
Peripheral neuropathy is not simply a single disease, in fact is is caused by various health conditions that may include:
- Autoimmune disorders: Lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
- Infections: including viral and/or bacterial such as lyme disease, hepatitis B & C, Epstein-Barr, HIV, and shingles
- Inherited disorders
- Bone marrow disorders
- Tumors: Growths, both malignant and benign can press on the nerves
- Other diseases: kidney, liver, or hypothyroidism
- Vitamin deficiencies: vitamin B (1, 6, and 12), vitamin E, and niacin, which are all vital to a healthy nervous system
- Alcoholism: can lead to vitamin deficiencies
- Poison or toxin exposure: including heavy metals like lead and mercury or industrial grade chemicals
- Traumatic injury: car accidents, sports-related injury, or falls can damage peripheral nerves
- Medications: some medicines, especially chemotherapy drugs, can cause neuropathy
Any of these conditions can make you a higher risk candidate for peripheral neuropathy. If you have noticed any numbness, burning, or tingling, you may be showing signs of neuropathy, however those are not the only symptoms you may experience, other symptoms often include:
- Sharp, stabbing, shooting, throbbing, or burning pain
- Enhanced sensitivity to touch
- Trouble with falling or decreased coordination
- Slowed reflexes
- Muscle weakness
- Excessive sweating or inability to sweat
- Bowel, bladder or digestive issues
- Lightheadedness, dizziness, or changes in blood pressure
- Phantom pain or pressure such as feeling as though you are wearing socks or gloves when you’re not
If you have or are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should consult your doctor immediately for a proper diagnosis and to begin a treatment plan to help prevent further damage. Understanding the true cause of the problem is crucial to getting proper treatment.
There are many treatment options available that can be specifically designed to your unique needs and may include one or a combination of the following options:
- PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma)
- Regenerative cellular treatments
- Trigger point injections
- Chiropractic adjustments
- Lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise
Regardless of what has caused your peripheral neuropathy, getting a handle on the pain and preventing further damage is key. Consult your doctor if you have been dealing with any of these symptoms. The sooner you can start to figure out the underlying causes, the sooner you can get a treatment plan in place to help alleviate the pain and discomfort that are associated with peripheral neuropathy. You don’t have to continue to suffer from this condition, there are many effective treatment options available through cutting edge procedures.