What is it and how is it treated?
Up to 20 million Americans have peripheral neuropathy, a painful condition caused by damage to your peripheral nervous system. It causes various symptoms, ranging from severe pain and muscle weakness to numbness and lost coordination, which can severely impact your quality of life.
If you have any signs of peripheral neuropathy, make an appointment at OrthoNeuro in Columbus, Ohio, for expert diagnosis and customized treatment plans to relieve your symptoms and restore your quality of life.
What Is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Your peripheral nerves branch out from your spinal cord and extend throughout your body, controlling your sensory, motor, and autonomic body functions.
Peripheral neuropathy occurs when something compresses and damages one or more of these nerves and causes nerve dysfunction and irregular pain signals.
There are several types of peripheral neuropathy. Mononeuropathy affects only one nerve, while polyneuropathy affects multiple nerves. This might also be referred to as multiple mononeuropathy or mononeuropathy multiplex.
What Causes Peripheral Neuropathy?
Diabetes is the leading cause of peripheral neuropathy. Between 60-70% of people with diabetes have diabetic neuropathy. Consistently high blood sugar levels damage your nerve cells as well as your blood vessels, leading to poor blood flow in the capillaries that supply your nerves with nutrients and oxygen.
Other common causes of peripheral neuropathy include:
- Physical trauma
- Nerve compression
- Vascular health problems
- Autoimmune disorders
- Hormonal imbalances
- Liver and kidney diseases
- Tumors and cancer
- Exposure to toxic substances
- Nutrient and vitamin deficiency
Genetic and inherited disorders that cause peripheral neuropathies are less common but can still damage your peripheral nerves or worsen neuropathy.
What Are Common Symptoms?
Your symptoms may vary depending on what type of nerve is affected and where the damage is located and may include:
- Numbness or pins-and-needles sensations
- Sharp, electrical, burning pain
- Increased sensitivity to touch
- Inability to feel pain, temperature, or pressure
- Muscle atrophy and weakness
- Reduced reflexes
- Muscle cramps and spasms
- Uncontrollable twitching
- Lost coordination and balance
- Decreased fine motor skills (like those needed to button a shirt)
- Excessive sweating
- Inability to regulate temperature
- Blood pressure problems
- Digestive problems
- Problems with bladder or bowel control
How Is Peripheral Neuropathy Diagnosed?
The expert neurologist at OrthoNeuro diagnoses the condition with a combination of a physical exam and neurological testing.
Your physician will review your symptoms and medical history and complete a physical exam, including neuralgic tests to evaluate your reflexes, balance, ability to feel sensations, and muscle strength and tone.
Your doctor will also order blood tests to check for nutritional deficiencies and signs of other neurological disorders that affect your central nervous system (your brain and spinal cord).
Your doctor may also order advanced diagnostic testing such as MRIs, electromyography, and a nerve conduction study to identify and locate nerve damage.
In some cases, you may need a biopsy to test your nerve tissue.
How Is Peripheral Neuropathy Treated?
Your doctor will create a personalized treatment plan to relieve pain and address the condition causing your neuropathic pain. Your treatment plan may include:
- Pain-relieving medication
- Anti-seizure medication
- Topical treatments
- Physical therapy
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
- Immune modulating treatments
- Improved nutrition and supplements
- Healthier lifestyle choices
Your doctor may also recommend surgery to address issues like a herniated disc, carpal tunnel syndrome, or tumors contributing to your nerve damage and other symptoms. These treatments can prevent further nerve damage and potentially restore your nerve health.
Call your primary care physician today for a referral to see an OrthoNeuro Neurologist for a consultation for expert treatments to reduce pain, manage contributing medical conditions, and restore your quality of life.
Make an Appointment with an OrthoNeuro Specialist Today!
- If you are suffering from symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, schedule an appointment with one of our Board Certified Orthopedic Neurologists at one of our 7 convenient locations throughout Greater Columbus.
- We will evaluate your unique lifestyle and goals to determine which type of treatment is best for you.
- Best of all, most patients can be seen within 24 hours of making an appointment.