What is Peripheral Neuropathy

The nerves that make up your central nervous system and run from your brain and spinal cord into the rest of your body are called “peripheral nerves.” These nerves fall into one of three categories: motor nerves (control body movements), sensory nerves (respond to stimuli), and autonomic nerves (control organ function).

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that occurs when any of these nerves gets damaged. This damage can result in a number of problems that are created because these nerves are not able to function as intended.

Here is a list of the possible causes of peripheral neuropathy:

  • Injury (trauma) caused by cutting or impact
  • Illnesses and conditions like diabetes
  • Vascular and blood problems – nerves are denied access to oxygen
  • Systemic illnesses caused by viruses and bacteria
  • Hormonal imbalances – causes swelling that compresses nerves
  • Kidney and liver disorders caused by harmful toxins
  • Nutritional or vitamin imbalances
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Cancer and chemotherapy drugs

5 Signs You Have Peripheral Neuropathy

If you start having issues with peripheral neuropathy, you’ll need to do something about it to avoid collateral damage and escalating problems. Your first instinct might be to see a general practitioner (your doctor). However, doing so would probably result in you having to submit to an invasive medical process. That might include taking prescription drugs, getting steroid injections, or going through a surgical process.

If you would prefer to avoid invasive options, you might be better off seeing a chiropractor. Depending on the extent of your peripheral neuropathic condition, a good chiropractor should be able to correct your problems with nothing more that chiropractic adjustments or certain massage therapies.

With all of this said, you might be wondering how you can tell whether you might have peripheral neuropathy or not. To assist you with this process, here are five (5) signs of peripheral neuropathy. These are five (5) signs you could use to verify the possibility you have the condition.

1. Loss of sensation or feeling in body parts

If the peripheral neuropathy were to hit your sensory nerves, it could result in you losing the ability to feel certain sensations. This could be particularly dangerous because your sense of touch often serves as a warning that something is not right.

As an example, let’s say you accidentally put your hand on an electric stove coil. If the nerves in your hand were damaged, the peripheral neuropathic condition would interfere with your feeling of the burning sensation. A lot of damage could be done before your realized you needed to remove your hand from the coil.

2. Muscle weakness and loss of muscle tone

If the peripheral neuropathy were to hit your motor nerves, it could drastically affect your ability to control movement. The most prominent sign of motor nerves being affected by peripheral neuropathy would be the loss of muscle strength. This would be most noticeable in your extremities, meaning your arms and legs.

With the loss of muscle control, you might lose the ability to walk or grab things. If nerves in your back were affected, you might have trouble sitting up or standing. If such muscle weakness issues were to continue for too long, there is a chance your muscles might lose tone. A condition like muscular dystrophy might result from an extended period of peripheral neuropathy.

3. Numbness and tingling in your extremities

Sometimes, sensory peripheral neuropathy can result in the loss of the ability to feel sensations like heat and cold. Other times, it can cause a tingling or numbness in the extremities. This happens as a result of the lack of blood flow getting to the area where the tingling and numbness seem to be originating. If these types of conditions were to continue for too long, it could eventually result in the complete loss of feeling in the affected area.

4. Digestive, circulatory, and respiratory problems

Peripheral neuropathy that affects autonomic nerves can be life-threatening. Why? The autonomic nerves are the nerves that control the function of body organs. Yes, body organs would include the stomach, bowels, lungs, heart, kidneys, and a host of other vital organs.

Here are a few examples of the danger that is associated with motor nerve loss. Imagine for a moment if your condition affected your lungs. In the worst cases, that could result in difficulty breathing. The danger related to that happening should be clear.

Another example would be if you lost the ability to control your bowel movements because you can’t sense when they are happening. That could result in some very embarrassing outcomes if you were out in public.

Finally, certain motor nerves control your body’s air conditioning system (sweating). If the nerves that control this process were damaged, your body might become extremely sensitive to heat, which might cause heat stroke.

5. Increased sensitivity to pain

For the most part, our sensory nerves do a good job of helping us gauge pain. They serve to tell us when certain kinds of stimuli need to be avoided. Sometimes, these same sensory nerves can become too sensitive with peripheral neuropathy being the approximate cause. It can even happen to the extent that things not normally considered painful will all of a sudden cause pain.

Clearly, peripheral neuropathy warrants immediate attention. It’s not something you will be able to endure should it persist.

If you suspect you are dealing with peripheral neuropathy, we would be happy to help you if you can contact us by phone at (720) 328-1790 or through our website.