What is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy is nerve damage or dysfunction in your peripheral nervous system — the nerves that extend from your spinal cord throughout your body. Neuropathy can affect your sensory, motor, or autonomic nerves. Your symptoms can vary, depending on the type of nerve affected. For example, common signs of neuropathy include:
- Numbness or tingling in your feet, legs, hands or arms
- Electrical sensations
- Sharp, throbbing, or burning pain
- Sensitivity to touch
- Lost coordination
- Muscle weakness
- Feeling like you’re wearing gloves or socks
You might also have pain during activities that shouldn’t be painful, such as pain in your feet when you stand or when a blanket covers them. However, if you have autonomic neuropathy, you might have symptoms like excessive sweating, digestive problems, or abnormal changes in blood pressure.
What causes neuropathy?
Diabetes is the most common cause of neuropathy. Other health conditions that can cause neuropathy include:
- Autoimmune diseases
- Bone marrow disorders
- Herniated disc
Your lifestyle can also contribute to your risk of neuropathy. For example, alcoholism, vitamin deficiencies, and some medications can cause neuropathy. Additionally, you might sustain nerve damage from a traumatic accident like an automobile collision or sports injury.
When should I talk to a doctor about neuropathy?
You should talk to your doctor as soon as you notice symptoms of neuropathy. You have an increased chance of controlling your condition and preventing more nerve damage by starting treatment early at the WeCare Neurology.
How is neuropathy diagnosed?
Your doctor at WeCare Neurology diagnoses neuropathy with a physical exam and diagnostic testing. He/She reviews your symptoms, lifestyle, and medical history. During your exam, he/she completes neurological tests to evaluate your reflexes, muscle strength, your ability to feel sensations, and your coordination. Your doctor also uses blood tests and nerve conduction studies to learn more about your condition. Blood tests help him/her identify the root cause of your condition or other issues that could cause your symptoms. Nerve conduction studies, like electromyography (EMG), measure the electrical activity in your muscles, allowing your doctor to locate and evaluate nerve damage.
How is neuropathy treated?
Your Neurologist at WeCare Neurology provides customized treatment plans to relieve your symptoms and prevent additional nerve damage. You might benefit from medications like pain relievers and anti-seizure drugs. Some antidepressants can alleviate your symptoms. Your doctor might also recommend therapies like transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) or physical therapy. If you have diabetes or another condition that contributes to neuropathy, you should work with your physician to get your disease under control to prevent further nerve damage.
Call WeCare Neurology, or make an appointment online today, if you are suffering from Neuropathic Pain or Neuropathy.