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Peripheral Neuropathy is a disorder of the nerves originating from the spinal cord to the rest of the body. The peripheral nerves make up an intricate network connecting the brain and spinal cord to the muscles, skin and internal organs.

Damage to a nerve because of peripheral neuropathy can be tracked to specific areas of the body. Damage to these nerves interrupts communication between the brain and other parts of the body, impairing muscle movement, preventing normal sensation in the arms and legs, and causing pain. Generally, this occurs at the furthest or most distal point along the course of the nerve where the nerve becomes progressively smaller. At these points, where the nerve is smallest, they are more susceptible to injury or damage.

There are many different kinds of peripheral neuropathy, ranging from carpal tunnel syndrome (an injury common after chronic, repetitive use of the hands and wrists, such as with computer use) to Guillain-Barre syndrome (a rare, sudden paralysis).

There are also many different causes of peripheral neuropathy, ranging from diabetes, injury, toxins, poor nutrition (particularly vitamin B deficiency), complications from diseases such as cancer or kidney failure, and other disease states.

Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy

Neuropathy can affect motor nerves that control muscle movement and sensory nerves that detect sensations such as coldness or pain. Neuropathy, in some cases, can also affect internal organs, such as the heart, blood vessels, bladder, or intestines.

Generally, symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in an effected area include:

  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Unusual and/or loss of sensations
  • Muscle weakness
  • Pain

Treatment for Peripheral Neuropathy

The treatment for peripheral neuropathy all depends on the root cause, therefore an exam by a skilled physician is critical.

Diagnostic testing using Electromyography (EMG) or Nerve Conduction Study (NCS) can detect abnormal muscle electrical activity in conditions such as neuropathy, carpal tunnel syndrome, pinched nerves, herniated disks, peripheral nerve damage and more.

Treatments may include physical therapy, injections, and, in some cases, surgery.

If a more specific treatment is not available, the neuropathic pain can usually be controlled with the appropriate use of medications.

If you continue to suffer with peripheral neuropathy and your current treatment plan leaves you feeling hopeless, perhaps a fresh set of experienced eyes can change your outlook.

Roger SafontDallas Neuropathy Doctor