Peripheral Neuropathy

Learn More About This Condition & Our Approach

What is Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is caused by damage to your peripheral nervous system and causes weakness, pain, and numbness typically in hands and feet. The peripheral nervous system is the vast communications network that transmits information between the central nervous system and every other part of the body.

Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy

The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy differ depending on whether the motor, sensory, or autonomic nerves are damaged. Some neuropathies can affect all three nerves, but others primarily affect one or two. People typically describe the pain of peripheral neuropathy as:

  • a gradual onset of stabbing, tingling, burning, or pricking sensations in your feet or hands or even muscle weakness.  
  • Sharp, throbbing, jabbing, freezing, or burning pain
  • Lack of coordination
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch
  • Muscle weakness or paralysis

What Causes Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage that is caused by a number of conditions. It can result from traumatic injuries, infections, inherited causes and more. Other causes of peripheral neuropathy include:

  • Infections: viral or bacterial infections, including Lyme disease, shingles, hepatitis C, leprosy, diphtheria, and HIV.
  • Alcoholism (vitamin deficiency)
  • Autoimmune disease: Sjogren’s syndrome, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, and necrotizing vasculitis.
  • Diabetes (the most common cause)
  • Medications
  • Trauma or pressure to nerves
  • Tumors: Growths, cancerous (malignant) and noncancerous (benign), can develop on the nerves or press nerves.
  • Bone marrow disorders: abnormal protein in the blood (monoclonal gammopathies), a form of bone cancer (osteosclerotic myeloma), lymphoma, and amyloidosis.

Treatments for Peripheral Neuropathy

The first step to treating peripheral neuropathy is to address the underlying condition that is causing this disorder. Correcting the underlying condition will often result in the neuropathy resolving the pressures on its own and help the nerves recover or regenerate. For most, it would be adopting a healthier lifestyle, such as maintaining an optimal weight, exercising, eating a balanced diet, avoiding exposure to toxins, correcting vitamin deficiencies, and avoiding or limiting alcohol consumption.

Other treatments offered at Gulf Coast Pain Institute:

  • Medications
  • Therapies (TENS, physical therapy, etc..)
  • Surgery (to reduce the pressure on the nerves)

Experiencing symptoms or want to find out more?