Peripheral neuropathy is damage to peripheral nerves that can cause pain, numbness or weakness, usually in your hands and feet but it also can affect other organs. Your peripheral nervous system is made up of nerves outside of your brain and spinal cord, which make up your central nervous system. Your peripheral nervous system sends information from the central nervous system (brain and spine) to the rest of your body. Damage to peripheral nerves can be caused by a number of diseases, such as diabetes, but also by trauma.
FAQs About Peripheral Neuropathy
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What are the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy?
Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include numbness or tingling, weakness, sensitivity, and pain.
Patients often describe the pain associated with peripheral neuropathy as:
Painful peripheral neuropathy makes many activities of daily living difficult, including:
- Household chores
- Social and recreational activities
- Stand or sit for long periods
- Walk farther than short distances
What causes peripheral neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy is caused by damage to the nerves. The most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes. Poorly controlled diabetes accounts for about 60 percent of cases.
However, there are many other causes of peripheral neuropathy. Cancer patients who have undergone chemotherapy may experience peripheral neuropathy. Other causes include HIV, shingles, kidney disease, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases, alcoholism, nutrient deficiencies, hereditary disorders, and physical trauma.
Does peripheral neuropathy always cause pain?
Peripheral neuropathy does not always result in pain. The condition can cause other sensations such as numbness or tingling.
Is peripheral neuropathy permanent?
No, peripheral neuropathy is not always permanent. Peripheral neuropathy can go away, particularly if it is being caused by a temporary condition such as the use of chemotherapy or the underlying condition causing the problem is treated. Peripheral neuropathy pain can be reduced through medications or peripheral neuropathy treatment, including neuromodulation such as spinal cord stimulation.