Peripheral neuropathy is a condition caused due to damage to the nerves of peripheral nervous system. Damage can occur due to injury or metabolic diseases or due to exposure to toxins. If the underlying cause is treated then peripheral neuropathy may improve with time. Peripheral neuropathy is classified as follows:
- Mononeuropathy – Single nerve is affected. The most common cause is localized trauma or compression of the nerve.
- Mononeuritis multiplex – There is simultaneous or sequential involvement of noncontiguous nerve trunks.
- Polyneuropathy – Many nerve cells of various parts of the body are affected.
- Autonomic neuropathy – Nerves of autonomic nervous system are affected. Various internal organs may get affected such as bladder, cardiovascular system, digestive system and genital organs.
Causes Of Peripheral Neuropathy
- Vitamin deficiencies will lead to peripheral neuropathy. Vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 play important role in nerve health.
- Diabetes is the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy.
- Exposure to heavy metals.
- Viral or bacterial infection such as shingles, HIV, hepatitis C may cause damage to nerves.
- Autoimmune diseases especially multiple sclerosis.
- After taking chemotherapy for cancer one may get peripheral neuropathy.
- Inherited disorders. For example amyloid polyneuropathy.
- Trauma due to fall, accident or sport injury can cause damage to nerves.
- Benign or malignant tumors may compress surrounding nerves.
- Diseases of kidney or liver may lead to peripheral neuropathy.
- Repetitive motion or staying in unnatural position for long time may damage the nerve.
Symptoms Of Peripheral Neuropathy
Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy depend on the type of the nerve that is affected. Affected nerve could be either sensory nerve, motor nerve or autonomic nerve.
- Person whose sensory nerve is affected may have tingling, numbness in affected part. Reduced sensation increases your risk of getting burns or injury.
- When motor nerve is affected one experiences muscle weakness, lack of balance and poor coordination. Person may have muscle cramps or twitching of muscles.
- If autonomic nerves are affected then one may have bowel or bladder symptoms such as loss of sphincter ani or incontinence of urine respectively.
Diagnosis: Medical history, physical and neurological examination is necessary.
- Blood tests are done to assess thyroid, kidney, and liver function and to look for vitamin deficiencies.
- CT scan or MRI is done to detect tumors or herniation of disc or any other abnormality.
- EMG is done to assess nerve function.
Natural Treatment For Peripheral Neuropathy
- Medication will be given to relieve pain. Underlying disease is treated to control further nerve damage.
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation helps to ease the symptoms.
- Diabetic patients must check their blood sugar regularly and keep it under control.
- Avoid alcohol abuse.
- Avoid long exposure to toxic chemicals and heavy metals.
- Take diet rich in vitamins and minerals. Include fresh vegetables and fresh fruits in your diet.
- Take vitamin and mineral supplement if necessary.
- Massage the affected part to improve circulation and to stimulate nerves.
- Avoid staying for long in positions that may put pressure on affected nerves.
- Quit smoking.
- Acupressure may help to reduce your symptoms and to improve nerve function.