Peripheral Neuropathy

Generally the damage to nerves of the peripheral nervous system leading to disease or dysfunctions of their peripheral nerves is referred as peripheral neuropathy. It is also associated with side effects of systemic illness. The presentation and origin of peripheral neuropathy often varies and in some cases impairs the nerve or the neuromuscular junction

Causes of peripheral neuropathy

There are various factors, which can lead to peripheral neuropathy. Cases where a single nerve is affected the most likely cause is said to be trauma or some kind of repetitive activity that puts pressure on the nerves. The common causes for pressure on the nerves are – use of cast or crutches, a tumor, intraneural hemorrhage, or abnormal bone growth or even mechanical pressure of staying long hours in an unnatural position like typing on a computer keyboard.

Most often you would find that diabetes mellitus is sighted as the cause for damage of several nerves. It has been seen that almost half of the people suffering from diabetes have developed some kind of neuropathy. Other major causes of the ailment include inherited disorders, amyloidosis, alcoholism, HIV/AIDS, Sjogren's Syndrome, and a lack of some vitamins, particularly B vitamins.

Types of peripheral neuropathy

Essentially, the Peripheral neuropathy can be generalized and symmetrical or focal and multifocal that is considered as a good indicator of the peripheral nerve disease.

The generalized peripheral neuropathies are known to be symmetrical and are normally caused as a result of disease processes and systematic illnesses, affecting the whole peripheral nervous system.

Whereas the typical disorders of the peripheral nerves is associated with focal entrapment neuropathies, plexopathies and radiculopathies.

Signs and symptoms

Following are the signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, which you would encounter commonly:

The skin becomes very hypersensitive which is why certain parts of the patients are prohibited from touching, particularly the feet.

Loss of sensory function showing function (negative) symptoms such as tremor, numbness, and gait imbalance are quite evident.

The Motor symptoms are also associated with the loss of function (negative) symptoms of tiredness, heaviness, weakness

The function (positive) symptoms like tingling, pain, itching, crawling, and pins and needles are gained.

There are also cases of pain in the muscles (myalgia), cramps, etc and at times autonomic dysfunction

Treatments

The treatments of peripheral neuropathy are accomplished by repressing the conditions causing the neuropathy and repair damage, and bring relief from the symptoms. In a situation where the cause of your neuropathy can't be determined, different medicines are used to find the one that is effective.

Through medications the symptoms of pain can be eased, however the patients are vulnerable to side effects, more so if the medicines are continued for a longer periods of time. Before using any medicine such as the over-the-counter (OTC) products it is essential to consult a doctor.

The treatment also includes managing a chronic condition that might help in eliminating peripheral neuropathy. Like those of you having diabetes consult with the doctor to device ways for maintaining
blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. If vitamin deficiency is the cause of neuropathy then suggested injections of vitamin B-12 daily for a few days and then every month can be of help.

One of the best treatments for peripheral neuropathy is believed to be drug-free therapies and techniques that can help in relieving pain. The Biofeedback, Hypnosis, Acupuncture and Relaxation techniques are some of the therapies effective for treating peripheral neuropathy.

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