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Peripheral neuropathy describes damage to the peripheral nervous system, the vast communications network that transmits information from the brain and spinal cord (the central nervous system) to every other part of the body. Peripheral nerves also send sensory information back to the brain and spinal cord, such as a message that the feet are cold or a finger is burned. Damage to the peripheral nervous system interferes with these vital connections. Like static on a telephone line, peripheral neuropathy distorts and sometimes interrupts messages between the brain and the rest of the body. Peripheral neuropathy, in its most common form, causes pain and numbness in your hands and feet. The pain typically is described
as tingling or burning, while the loss of sensation often is compared to the feeling of wearing a thin stocking or glove.
Peripheral neuropathy can result from such problems as traumatic injuries, infections, metabolic problems and exposure to toxins. One of the most common causes of the disorder is diabetes.
Because every peripheral nerve has a highly specialized function in a specific part of the body, a wide array of symptoms can occur when nerves are damaged. Some people may experience
temporary numbness, tingling, and pricking sensations (paresthesia), sensitivity to touch, or muscle weakness. Others may suffer more extreme symptoms, including burning pain (especially at night), muscle wasting, paralysis, or organ or gland dysfunction. People may become unable to digest food easily, maintain safe levels of blood pressure, sweat normally, or experience normal sexual function. In the most extreme cases, breathing may become difficult or organ failure may occur.
Most commonly, peripheral neuropathy begins in the longest nerves, the ones that reach to your toes. Specific symptoms vary, depending on which types of nerves are affected. Signs and symptoms may include:
1. Gradual onset of numbness and tingling in your feet or hands, which may spread upwards into your legs and arms
2. Burning pain
3. Sharp, jabbing or electric-like pain
4. Extreme sensitivity to touch, even light touch
5. Lack of coordination
6. Muscle weakness or paralysis if motor nerves are affected
7 Bowel or bladder problems if autonomic nerves are affected.
A number of factors can cause neuropathies. These factors include:
1. Trauma or pressure on the nerve: Nerve pressure can result from using a cast or crutches, spending a long time in an unnatural position, repeating a motion many times — such as typing at a computer keyboard — or having a tumor or abnormal bone growth. When peripheral neuropathy affects a single nerve, trauma or nerve pressure is the most likely cause.
2. Diabetes: When damage occurs to several nerves, the cause frequently is diabetes. At least half of all people with diabetes develop some type of neuropathy.
3. Vitamin deficiencies: B vitamins are particularly important to nerve health.
4. Alcoholism: Many alcoholics develop peripheral neuropathy because they have poor dietary habits, leading to vitamin deficiencies.
5. Autoimmune diseases: These include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and Guillain-Barre syndrome.
6. Other diseases: Kidney disease, liver disease and an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) also can cause peripheral neuropathy. Patients with HIV/AIDS also are prone to develop peripheral neuropathy.
7. Inherited disorders: Examples include Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and amyloid polyneuropathy.
8. Exposure to poisons: These may include some toxic substances, such as heavy metals, and certain medications — especially those used to treat cancer.
If your feet are numb, you may be less likely to feel when they've
become injured. Make sure to check your feet regularly so that
you can treat minor injuries before they become infected. This is
especially important for people with diabetes, who tend to heal
The first goal of treatment is to manage the condition causing your neuropathy. If the underlying cause is corrected, the neuropathy often improves on its own. The second goal of treatment is to relieve the painful symptoms.
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Dr Thompson has helped my 16 year old daughter she had back problems from her school bag an he saw her an with in first visit she was smiling from pain being gone he's the best.. Dr Thompson has also been there for my husband whom has had several broke ribs in multiply wrecks. We can call him no matter what time day or night an he's always there to help he's a god sent angel he will fit u into his office if ur in pain or like my husband always popping a rib out your the best..dr. Thompson