Peripheral neuropathy is a term used to describe damage to the peripheral nervous system. Peripheral neuropathy causes messages sent from the brain to other parts of the body to be interrupted and altered. Symptoms include a wide variety of sensations, from burning and numbness to prickling and paralysis. Sensory nerve damage causes such a complex range of symptoms because sensory nerves have a wider, more highly specialized range of functions.
Peripheral damage can be caused by many different conditions, and is mostly related to physical injury and systemic diseases. Those most at risk are people suffering from a pre-existing condition that falls under one of several categories.
The most common cause of injury to a nerve, peripheral neuropathy can be induced with compression, pinching, cutting, strokes, and projectile injuries.
High amounts of toxic substances in the blood can damage nerve tissue
Vitamin deficiencies and alcoholism
Excessive alcohol can contribute directly to nerve damage, and several major vitamins are essential to nerve function
Cancers and benign tumors
Tumors can arise directly from nerve cells, and cancers can also infiltrate the nervous system causing widespread damage.
One of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy. Blood vessel constriction can limit oxygen supply to peripheral nerves.
Leprosy is the most common cause of nerve damage worldwide. HIV, Lyme disease, and diphtheria are all characterized by extensive peripheral nerve damage.
Although over-the-counter pain medications can relieve mild symptoms, pain doctors and pain clinics can present more long-term options for dealing with peripheral neuropathy. Local pain consultants can prescribe a treatment course to ease chronic pain and assist in rehabilitation.
For more information about where to go for Bellevue’s most advanced treatment for peripheral neuropathy, contact The Washington Center for Pain Management.