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Peripheral Nerve Disorder Treatment

Our body has peripheral nervous system that connects the nerves from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. These nerves deliver signals about any kind of sensation back to the brain. Whenever these nerves get damaged or destroyed and malfunction, they give rise to disorder called peripheral neuropathy. The nerves function abnormally and send false signals like signals of pain when there is nothing causing pain or vice versa.

Examples of peripheral nerve disorders include:

  • Guillain-Barre´ Strohl Syndrome
  • Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIPD)
  • Polyneuropathies
  • Diabetic Neuropathies
  • Mononeuropathies
  • Peripheral Nerve Injuries
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Radiculopathies
  • Small Fiber Neuropathies
  • Occupational Neuropathies

Causes of Peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy can be caused due to a serious underlying condition or because of any of the following reasons:

  • Physical injury or trauma to nerves
  • Inactivity, or holding still too long in one position
  • Increased pressure on the median nerve
  • Systemic illness
  • Virus and bacterial infection
  • Associated with an inherited disorder
  • Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
  • Certain medications like anti-convulsant, antibiotics, anti-hypertensives, anti-cancer etc.
  • Nerve compression or entrapment
  • Fracture or dislocated bones
  • Tumor
  • Intraneural hemorrhage
  • Excessive exposure to cold or radiation

Risk factors of developing Peripheral Neuropathy

There are some factors that increase the chances of a person to develop peripheral neuropathy. It includes:

  • Family history of peripheral neuropathy
  • Generalized Diseases like
    • Diabetes with hypertension obesity
    • Kidney disorders
    • Hypothyroidism
  • Deficiencies of vitamins E, B1, B6, and B12
  • Excessive alcohol intake can have a toxic effect on nerve tissue
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals like glue, solvents or insecticides
  • Exposure to heavy metals such as lead and mercury

Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy

The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include:

  • Tingling or burning sensation in hands or feet
  • A feeling of wearing a tight glove or sock
  • Sharp, stabbing pains
  • Difficult to control pain that worsens in night
  • Muscle cramps twitching
  • Numbness in hands or feet
  • Weak, heavy-feeling arms and legs
  • Locking of legs or arms
  • Decreased strength of hand resulting in regularly dropping of things from hands
  • A buzzing or shocking sensation
  • Thinning of the skin
  • Decreasing blood pressure
  • Sexual dysfunction, especially in men
  • Constipation
  • Digestion difficulties
  • Diarrhoea
  • Excessive sweating
  • Muscle loss
  • Bone degeneration
  • Changes in the skin, hair, and nails

Diagnosis of Peripheral Neuropathy

Diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy requires a thorough physical and neurological examination along with medical history of the patient. In addition to this, following diagnostic tests may help the physician to confirm the diagnosis:

  • Blood test to measure vitamin, blood sugar levels and thyroid function
  • A urinalysis
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Electromyography
  • Nerve conduction study
  • Nerve biopsy

Treatment of Peripheral Neuropathy

Treatment is done with aim to bring relief and return the patient to regular activities. Combination treatments work best and may include:

  • Pain medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, narcotics, some antiepileptic medicines, and some antidepressants, corticosteroid injections
  • Controlling a chronic or underlying condition may eliminate neuropathy
  • Surgery

Authored by Dr. Shyam Sundar K

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Dr. Shyam Sundar K

Dr. Shyam Sundar K is an eminent name in the field of neurology. He is one of the best neurosurgeon in Chennai, Tamil Nadu

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