Peripheral Neuropathy is a medical term used to generally describe various disorders that may result from the damaging of the peripheral nervous system. Within the body, the peripheral nervous system works by connecting the nerves from the central brain and the spinal cord to other body parts. The spinal cord and the brain make up the body’s central nervous system.
With peripheral neuropathy, the normal nerve functioning is disrupted, and the peripheral nerves may send the wrong signals. For example, they may send signals of pain even when there is no cause of actual pain, or they may not send a signal at all even when there is harm or cause for alarm.
When these nerves are destroyed, and do not send signals or messages to the specific parts, peripheral neuropathy occurs. It may affect one nerve or a nerve group, or it may affect several nerves.
When there’s damage to the peripheral nerves that occur along the sciatic nerve, peripheral neuropathy sciatica occurs, and one experiences pain that originates from the lower back, radiates along the sciatic nerve, and goes down to one or both legs.
Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy
Mostly, peripheral neuropathy is linked to an underlying cause such as injury, physical trauma, metabolic problems, and infection. Diabetes is also highly ranked as a cause for peripheral neuropathy; therefore, people with diabetes are more prone to the risk. Diabetes can lead to peripheral neuropathy, which causes a burning sensation, shooting pain, and numbness in either of the legs or both. Peroneal nerve palsy is a type of neuropathy caused by nerve compression in the calf bone or the fibula between the leg and ankle.
Symptoms of peripheral Neuropathy
Symptoms will manifest as the following on the affected part;
- Numbness and a tingling or pickling sensation.
- A burning sensation.
- An extreme sensitivity to touch.
- Muscle weakness around the affected area.
- Paralysis, especially where nerves that control motion are affected.
- Lack of coordination and random falling.
The treatment offered will target the underlying cause or aim to provide symptomatic pain relief to prevent further or cumulative damage.
- Medication– Drugs that can relieve mild symptoms can be bought over the counter. For severe pain, a doctor’s prescription can be used. Certain antidepressants can also be administered. Anti-seizure medicine used to treat epilepsy, such as gabapentin and pregabalin, may reduce nerve pain.
- Lidocaine patches can be applied to the skin to reduce pain.
- Physical therapy- Where muscle weakness is experienced, physical therapy can be used to improve movement.
- Alternated heat and cold therapy on the areas affected to reduce pain.
- Ergonomic splints or casts help provide support for the uncomfortable body parts and relieve pain.
- Transcutaneous Electronic Nerve Stimulation (TENS) – the treatment’s goal is to cause nerve disruption to not send or transmit pain signals to the brain.
- Medical treatments- Procedures such as intravenous immune globulin and plasma exchange can benefit those with inflammatory conditions as they suppress the immune system activities. With plasma exchange, antibodies are removed from the bloodstream by blood transfusion, while administering high protein levels is done with the intravenous immune globulin procedure. These proteins function as antibodies.
- Surgical treatment- To treat complications and pain brought about by diabetic peripheral Neuropathy, nerve decompression surgery can be done.
Peripheral Neuropathy is a disorder that affects the functioning of the peripheral nerves. With damage or injury of these nerves, especially the sciatic nerve, peripheral neuropathy sciatica is experienced, and it manifests as pain in the lower back, buttocks, and legs. Peripheral Neuropathy will often result from different factors, but diabetes is a major cause. However, the condition can be treated using simple methods and treatments. Where they fail, surgery can be performed.
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