What Causes Peripheral Neuropathy? | Neurology

Peripheral Neuropathy

What is peripheral neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy, as a result of modification to nerves external to the brain and spinal cord (peripheral nerves), frequently causes weakness, numbness, and pain, normally in the hands and feet. It can likewise influence different regions of your body. Your peripheral nervous system sends data from your mind and spinal cord (central nervous system) to the remainder of your body. The peripheral nerves likewise send tangible data to the central nervous system.

Peripheral neuropathy can result from traumatic injury, infections, metabolic problems, inherited causes, and exposure to toxins. One of the most common causes is diabetes. People with peripheral neuropathy mostly identify the pain as stabbing, burning, or tingling. As a rule, indications improve, particularly in the event that they are brought about by a treatable condition. Medicines can reduce the pain of peripheral neuropathy.

How are the peripheral neuropathies classified?

More than 100 kinds of peripheral neuropathy have been known, each with its personal indication and prognosis. Symptoms vary depending on the type of nerve damaged – motor, sensory, or autonomic.

  • Motor nerves control of the development of all muscles is under cognizant control, for example, those utilized for strolling, getting a handle on, or talking.
  • Sensory nerves Conveying information such as feeling a slight touch, temperature, or wound pain.
  • Autonomic nerves control devices to regulate activities that people do not consciously control, such as breathing, food digestion, and heart and gland function.

Most neuropathies influence each of the three sorts of nerve filaments to change degrees. Others chiefly influence a couple of types. Specialists use terms, for example, engine neuropathy generally, for the most part, tangible neuropathy, sensorineural neuropathy, or autonomic neuropathy to portray various conditions.

About three-quarters of multiple polyneuropathy cases are length-dependent, which means that the nerve endings furthest away in the foot are where symptoms first appear or are worse. In severe cases, such neuropathies can spread up to the central parts of the body. In neuropathies not dependent on height, symptoms may begin more toward the trunk, or be incomplete.

What are the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy?

The three types of peripheral nerves are:

  • Sensory nerves that connect to your skin
  • Motor nerves, which connect to your muscles
  • Autonomic nerves, which connect to your internal organs

Peripheral neuropathy can affect one or three neurological groups.

Symptoms include peripheral neuropathy:

  • Tingling in the hands or feet
  • Feeling like you are wearing mittens or tights
  • Sharp pains and stabbing
  • Numbness in the hands or feet
  • A weak and heavy feeling in the arms and legs, which sometimes feels like your legs or arms are locked in place
  • Drop things from your hands regularly
  • Tinnitus or shock sensation
  • Thinning of the skin
  • Drop-in blood pressure
  • Impotence, especially in men
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty digestion
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive sweating

These symptoms can also indicate other conditions. Try to inform your primary care physician regarding the entirety of your manifestations.

What causes peripheral neuropathy?

There are many potential causes of peripheral neuropathy, including:

  1. Diabetes
  2. Shingles (postherpetic neuralgia)
  3. Lack of vitamins, especially vitamin B12 and folic acid
  4. alcohol
  5. Immune system illnesses, including lupus, rheumatoid joint pain, or Guillain-Barré disorder
  6. AIDS, whether from disease or treatment, syphilis, and kidney failure
  7. Genetic disorders, such as amyloid polyneuropathy or Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
  8. Exposure to toxins, such as heavy metals, gold compounds, lead, arsenic, mercury, and organophosphorus pesticides
  9. Disease medications, for example, vincristine (Oncovin, Vincasar) and different medications, for example, anti-microbials including metronidazole (Flagyl) and isoniazid
  10. Rarely, diseases such as neurofibromatosis may lead to peripheral neuropathy. Other rare congenital neuropathies include Fabry disease, Tanga’s disease, autonomic hereditary sensorineural neuropathy, and hereditary amyloidosis.
  11. Statins have been linked to peripheral neuropathy, although neuropathy caused by statins rarely causes symptoms.

While diabetes and postherpetic neuralgia are the two most common causes of peripheral neuropathy, often no cause is found. In these cases, it is referred to as idiopathic peripheral neuropathy. Occasionally, peripheral nerve entrapment, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, is considered peripheral neuropathies. In these cases, pressure on the nerve rather than the disease causes nerve dysfunction.

Peripheral neuropathy diagnosis

Symptoms and the parts of the body affected by peripheral neuropathy are so diverse that it is difficult to diagnose. If your health care provider suspects nerve damage, he or she will take a thorough medical history and perform a number of neurological tests to determine the location and extent of the nerve damage. These may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Spinal fluid tests
  • Muscle strength tests
  • Tests of the ability to detect vibrations

Depending on what the basic tests reveal, the health care provider may want more in-depth examination and other tests to get a better look at nerve damage. It may include tests:

  • CT scan
  • MRI scan
  • Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies
  • Nerve and skin biopsy

Risk factors

Include risk factors for peripheral neuropathy:

  • Diabetes, particularly if your sugar levels are inadequately controlled
  • Alcohol addict
  • Lack of vitamins, especially B vitamins
  • Contaminations, for example, Lyme sickness, shingles, Epstein-Barr infection, hepatitis B and C, and HIV
  • Autoimmune diseases, for example, rheumatoid joint inflammation and lupus, in which your resistant framework assaults your tissues
  • Kidney, liver, or thyroid disorders
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Repetitive motion, such as that which performs certain functions
  • A family history of neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy treatment

Either treatment targets the underlying cause or aims to reduce occasional pain and prevent further damage. In diabetic neuropathy, treating high blood sugar can prevent further nerve damage.

For toxic reasons, removing the suspected exposure, or stopping the drug, can stop further nerve damage. Medicines can relieve pain and reduce burning, numbness, and tingling.

Drug treatment for neuropathic pain

Include medications that may help:

  • Medicines commonly used to treat epilepsy, such as carbamazepine
  • Antidepressants, such as venlafaxine
  • Opioid pain relievers, for example, oxycodone or tramadol

Opioid pain relievers come with warnings about safety risks. Duloxetine may help people with chemotherapy-induced neuropathy. Doctors can also prescribe skin patches, such as Lidoderm, for both local and temporary pain relief.

This contains the local anesthetic lidocaine. The patches are like bandages and can be cut to size. The choice of a drug should take into account the drugs for other conditions, to avoid unwanted interactions.

Managing neuropathy

Non-steroidal calming drugs (NSAIDs, for example, ibuprofen, may help control torment. These are available without a prescription. Topical ointments and creams, such as 0.075% capsaicin cream containing hot pepper, may relieve pain. Patches are also available.

Treating mononeuropathies

When neuropathy is caused by compression of one nerve, treatment is similar to any involved nerve. The approach depends on whether the pressure is constant or transient.

Ulnar, radial, or peroneal nerve palsy may be transient and reversible, simply by avoiding the cause of the nerve being compressed. For instance, an individual with ulnar nerve paralysis ought not to incline toward the influenced elbow.

The patient may be advised to rest, use heat, and a limited course of medication to reduce inflammation. In carpal tunnel syndrome, conservative treatment includes wrist splinting, oral or injectable corticosteroid medications, and ultrasound.

If mononeuropathy does not respond to these procedures, surgery may be an option. Surgery may also be necessary if a pinched nerve is being repaired, for example when it is caused by a tumor.

Referral to specialist pain services or the relevant clinical specialty should be considered at any stage if:

  • The pain is severe
  • Torment extraordinarily restricts day by day exercises and personal satisfaction
  • An underlying health condition that gets worse


Complications can include peripheral neuropathy:

  • Burns and skin trauma: You may not feel changes in temperature or pain in the anesthetized body parts.

Your feet and other areas that lack sensation can hurt without your knowledge. Check these zones consistently and treat minor wounds before they become tainted, particularly on the off chance that you have diabetes.

  • The fall: Weakness and loss of sensation may be associated with imbalance and falls.


Way of life decisions can assume a part in forestalling peripheral neuropathy. You can reduce your risk of developing many of these conditions by avoiding alcohol, correcting vitamin deficiencies, eating a healthy diet, losing weight, avoiding toxins, and exercising regularly.

If you have kidney disease, diabetes, or any other chronic health condition, it is important to work with your health care provider to control your condition, which may prevent or delay the onset of peripheral neuropathy.

Recent Posts

Subscribe to our blog

Subscribe to our Newsletter for new blog posts, tips & new photos. Let’s stay updated!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *