In the human body, the peripheral nervous system is what connects the brain, spinal cord, and central nervous system to the rest of the body. This includes the arms, hands, internal organs, mouth, feet, face, and legs. These nerves deliver physical sensation signals back to the brain.
Hence, peripheral neuropathy occurs when these nerves become damaged or destroyed, leading to malfunction. When malfunctioned, the normal functioning of the nerves is disrupted. They might even send pain signals even when there is no pain, or they might fail to send a pain signal even when something is harming you.
This could be due to a systemic illness, an injury, an inherited disorder, and an infection. Luckily, some treatments can be helpful even when the disease can be uncomfortable. It is crucial first to determine whether the peripheral neuropathy is coming from an underlying condition.
Causes of Peripheral Neuropathic Pain
The most common form of neuropathy is nerve damage caused by diabetes. This neuropathy leads to pain, numbness, a loss of sensation when in extremities.
The risk of neuropathy increases for those who are overweight, over the age of 40, is diabetic, and have high blood pressure. Nearly 60% of people with diabetes have some likelihood of nerve damage, according to the University of Chicago’s Center for Peripheral Neuropathy (UCCPN).
Other chronic conditions that could lead to nerve damage include hypothyroidism, kidney disorders with a high amount of toxin build up in the body leading to nerve tissue damage, deficiencies of vitamin B-1, B-6, B-12, and E, and diseases that cause chronic inflammation.
Alcohol and Toxins
People with severe alcoholism are at a higher risk of peripheral neuropathy because alcohol has a toxic effect on nerve tissue. People exposed to toxic chemicals like solvents, glue, or insecticides, either in the workplace or through chemical abuse, are at risk of nerve damage. Exposure to heavy metals like mercury and lead can also lead to peripheral neuropathy.
The most common cause of neuropathy is physical trauma. This could include fractures, falls, or car accidents. Holding still in one position for too long, or inactivity. Increased pressure on the median nerve on the wrist that causes movement or feeling in the hand, causing carpal tunnel syndrome, another type of peripheral neuropathy.
Certain medications can also cause nerve damage. They include drugs that fight bacterial infections, anticonvulsants for seizures, medicine used to treat cancer, and some blood pressure medications. According to the Journal of Family Practice, a class of drugs used to prevent cardiovascular diseases or lower cholesterol can also cause nerve damage, increasing the risk for neuropathy.
Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy Pain
The common types of peripheral nerves include:
· Sensory nerves – connect to the skin
· Autonomic nerves – connect to your internal organs
· Motor nerves – connect to your internal organs
The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include:
· Sharp, stabbing pains
· Tingling in the feet or hands
· A feeling like one is wearing a tight glove or sock
· Numbness in the feet or hands
· Regularly dropping things from your arms
· Weak, heavy feeling in arms and legs
· Digestive difficulty
· Thinning of the skin
· A shocking or buzzing sensation
· Sexual dysfunction especially in men
· Drop-in blood pressure
· Excessive sweating
Because these symptoms are also general to other conditions. It would be best if you let your doctor know of all your symptoms.