Author: Dr. Ricardo Kotliroff
Peripheral Neuropathy is a common type of disease of the peripheral nerves (sensory, motor, or autonomic), which send information between the brain and spinal cord (the central nervous system) and other parts of the body. Often the nerves of the hands and feet are affected. Over 100 different types of peripheral neuropathy exist.
Causes & Risk Factors
Peripheral neuropathy may be present from birth or acquired. An example of a genetic cause is Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. People with a family history of neuropathy are at higher risk of peripheral neuropathy than are the general population.
Although peripheral neuropathy consists of many different diseases, the risk of peripheral neuropathy is higher in people older than 55 years of age. An estimated 3% to 4% of people over 55 years of age are afflicted with peripheral neuropathy.
Acquired peripheral neuropathy may be caused by:
- Traumatic injury
- Repetitive motion performed for certain occupations
- Benign or malignant tumors on or surrounding nerves
- Diseases of the bone marrow
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Exposure to toxins (e.g., certain chemicals and heavy metals)
- Certain medications (e.g., chemotherapeutic agents)
- Deficiencies in B vitamins and vitamin E
- Bacterial infection (e.g., diphtheria and leprosy)
- Viral infections (EBV, VZV, HCV, HIV)
- Autoimmune diseases
- Liver disease Kidney disease
- Connective tissue disorders
The number of nerves that are involved, the type of nerve involved, and the cause of the neuropathy are used to classify peripheral neuropathies into different groups of diseases. If one nerve is involved, the condition is termed mononeuropathy. If multiple nerves on both sides of the same area of the body are involved, the condition is termed polyneuropathy. If at least two nerves in different parts of the body are involved, the condition is termed mononeuritis multiplex.
Depending on the type of nerve involved, the condition may be termed sensory neuropathy, motor neuropathy, or autonomic neuropathy. Patients with sensory neuropathy may experience numbness or pain. If a patient has motor neuropathy, muscle weakness or problems with balance may occur. If a patient has autonomic neuropathy, variable symptoms of the autonomic nerves may occur.
Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, which may be acute or chronic, may include:
- Sharp, stabbing pain or burning pain in patients with sensory neuropathy
- Tingling in the limbs in patients with sensory neuropathy
- Heightened sensitivity to touch in patients with sensory neuropathy
- Weakness, numbness, or paralysis of the limbs in patients with motor or sensory neuropathy
- Limitations in mobility in patients with motor or sensory neuropathy
- Lack of coordination and falling in patients with motor or sensory neuropathy
- Intolerance to heat and changes in sweating patterns in patients with autonomic neuropathy
- Changes in blood pressure, leading to lightheadedness or dizziness, in patients with autonomic neuropathy
- Problems with breathing in patients with autonomic neuropathy
- Problems with digestion, bladder, or the bowel in patients with autonomic neuropathy
Complications of peripheral neuropathy may include decreased sensation, decreased movement, and declining function of organs and glands. The numbness can lead to patients not immediately noticing burns, trauma to the skin, or infections of injured skin.
Diagnosis by a neurologist includes medical history, evaluation of symptoms, physical examination, and testing. Tests include:
- Tendon reflexes
- Muscle strength and tone
- Electromyography to measure electrical activity in the muscles in order to distinguish between damage to the nerves or the muscles
- Conduction (nerve conduction velocity) tests of sensory and motor nerves to measure response to electrical signals, which indicates the degree of damage to the myelin sheath or the axon of the nerve
- Screen of autonomic reflexes of nerve fibers
- Ability to feel certain sensations, including touch, vibration, cold, and heat
- Measurement of sweating
- Radiological imaging tests (CT scans and MRIs) to detect tumors, herniated disks, and other abnormalities
- Biopsies of sensory nerve to detect abnormalities
- Biopsies of skin to detect decrease in nerve endings
- Tests of cerebrospinal fluid for detection of immune disease causing neuropathy
- Blood tests for detection of underlying diseases, such as diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, organ dysfunction, abnormal function of the immune system, connective tissue disorders, and cancer
Conventional treatment for peripheral neuropathy often starts with therapy for underlying diseases. Because peripheral nerve cells that have not died may regenerate their axons, patients successfully treated for an underlying disease eventually may regain nerve function.
Other conventional treatment for peripheral neuropathy includes certain medications, plasma exchange (plasmapheresis), transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), surgery for pressure on nerves caused by tumors, physical aids (such as limb braces, canes, walkers, or wheelchairs), and physical and occupational therapy. TENS involves low doses of electrical current from electrodes placed on the skin. Plasmapheresis, which involves treatment of blood to remove immune cells and antibodies, followed by a return of the cleansed blood to the body, may be used in inflammatory neuropathy. However, many prescription medications, plasmapheresis, and surgical procedures have side effects.
Conventional medications for peripheral neuropathy include:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain
- Opioids to reduce pain
- Anti-seizure drugs to reduce pain
- Anti-depressants to reduce pain
- Topical lidocaine and capsaicin cream to reduce chronic pain in localized neuropathy
- Anti-inflammatory drugs to decrease inflammation in patients with autoimmune disease
- I.V. immunoglobulin for inflammatory neuropathy
Other conventional treatments for peripheral neuropathy include exercise to reduce pain, strengthen muscles, and lower levels of blood sugar.
Alternative therapies for peripheral neuropathy include:
- Yoga and tai chi as forms of exercise
Homeopathy is an effective method of healing acute and chronic conditions, as claimed by millions of patients worldwide and thousands of homeopathic doctors.
Our proprietary therapeutic methods are based on a belief that all humans possess certain foundational energy sources within their core, and that a person’s energy balance is tied directly to his/her state of health and wellbeing. When these energy sources are disturbed, whether from internal or external forces, disease occurs.
Our homeopathic treatments seek to neutralize these disturbances and restore a person’s natural, optimal energy balance.
Premilife wants to be your partner in managing Peripheral Neuropathy!
Since our founding in 1980, Premilife has dedicated decades to helping patients throughout the world experience gradual improvement of peripheral neuropathy via homeopathy. View our success stories. Our homeopathic treatments are manufactured under strict quality guidelines for healthcare from the world’s health organizations.
Here are Premilife’s success stories of Peripheral Neuropathy's patients
Premilife’s unique homeopathic treatment, Contexol, is specifically designed and formulated to assist you in managing peripheral neuropathy The different ingredients in each pill increase your likelihood of success. You can take Contexol with any conventional medicine for PSP that you might be using.
Buy your treatment for Peripheral Neuropathy now
If our article has enhanced your knowledge about Peripheral Neuropathy:
Kindly share Premilife’s article via social networks, so that we can help more people struggling with the condition.
We would be happy to receive your comments about the article here.