Peripheral Neuropathy

What is Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral Neuropathy occurs when peripheral nerves become diseased or damaged. These nerves are responsible for carrying messages from the brain and spinal cord to the various parts of the body and back again.

When the peripheral nerves are damaged, communication between the brain and the body is interrupted, so your muscle movement will be impaired, there will be pain, and you will be unable to experience normal sensations within the legs and arms.

Peripheral neuropathy can be the result of systemic illness, infection, inherited disorders, or injuries.

What are the Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy?

Common signs of peripheral neuropathy include:

  • Numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in the hands or feet
  • A loss of sensation within the legs or arms
  • Feeling as though you are wearing a tight sock or glove
  • Stabbing, sharp pain
  • Heavy feelings in the legs or arms
  • Shocking or buzzing sensations
  • Digestive difficulty, diarrhea, or constipation
  • Excessively sweating

You may also sense pain when there is nothing actually sending a pain signal, or you may not feel anything even if something is hurting you.

How is Peripheral Neuropathy Treated?

Once your doctor is able to determine the underlying cause of your peripheral neuropathy, he or she will be able to design a treatment plan that will target that cause.

Treatments can provide relief and allow you to return to normal activities, but you may need to approach this disorder with a combination of treatments. Options include pain medicine, prescription medications, transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation, and ergonomic splints or casts.

Last Reviewed:
October 08, 2016
Last Updated:
August 24, 2017