What is Peripheral Neuropathy

What is Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy results from damage to the peripheral nervous system, or the network of nerves that works in conjunction with the brain, spinal cord, and rest of the central nervous system. The peripheral nervous system sends sensory information and helps control muscles when it’s working correctly. If a nerve in the peripheral nervous system becomes damaged, however, the body can react with pain signals and is classified as peripheral neuropathy. An estimated 20 million people in the U.S. have some form of peripheral neuropathy, although this figure may be even higher due to a lack of accurate diagnoses. Read below to learn more about the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for peripheral neuropathy, and see how All American Healthcare may be able to help.

Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy

Unlike other medical conditions, peripheral neuropathy has a wide range of symptoms that develop gradually over time, depending on which nerves are damaged. When motor nerves are affected, common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include muscle weakness, cramping, twitching, or muscle shrinking. When sensory nerves are affected, symptoms are usually related to sensations like touch, temperature, and pain. Specifically, patients can experience a reduced sense of touch in the hands or feet, loss of reflexes, or trouble coordinating complex movements using fine motor skills. Autonomic nerves, which regulate our body’s unconscious processes like breathing and digesting food, can also cause peripheral neuropathy when damaged. Symptoms of autonomic nerve damage include excess sweating, heat intolerance, changes in blood pressure, or gastrointestinal problems.

Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy

Just as symptoms of peripheral neuropathy vary, there are many different causes of this medical condition as well. Patients can experience peripheral neuropathy pain as a result of damage to one specific nerve or many nerves all over the body. The most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is physical injury or trauma, including car accidents, sports injuries, or falls. Diabetes is another common cause, with around 60-70% of people with diabetes experiencing some form of peripheral nerve damage. Additionally, vascular problems can cause damage if the nerves receive an insufficient oxygen supply, while autoimmune diseases like Guillain-Barre syndrome can also lead to peripheral neuropathy as the immune system attacks the nervous system. There are several causes of peripheral neuropathy, so be sure to schedule an appointment with a medical professional to receive an accurate diagnosis.

Treatment Options for Peripheral Neuropathy

There is no simple test to diagnose peripheral neuropathy, so a medical professional will complete a thorough medical history, physical and neurological exams in addition to blood and genetic testing to determine the best course of treatment for each patient’s unique symptoms. Treatments vary from patient to patient and will differ depending on the cause of peripheral neuropathy. Motor nerve damage may be effectively treated with a mechanical aid, like a brace, splint, or other orthopedic aid. Some individuals may find nerve pain relief by making certain lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, losing weight, or lowering blood pressure. All American Healthcare offers peripheral neuropathy treatments that are effective, minimally invasive, and drug-free, including chiropractic adjustments and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). 

The staff at All American Healthcare is committed to helping our patients live a pain-free life. If you think you might be suffering from peripheral neuropathy or a similar nerve-related disorder, come and visit us at our Covington or Hammond locations where our staff is ready to work with you. We will guide you through our diagnostic and treatment process to help you find relief from nerve pain through holistic pain management, physical rehabilitation, and chiropractic pain relief. Schedule an appointment with All American Healthcare and start living without pain today!

Musculoskeletal Disorders

Musculoskeletal Disorders

Musculoskeletal Disorders, (known as MSDs) are disorders that can affect the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage, blood vessels, or spinal discs.