Peripheral Neuropathy: Symptoms, Causes, and More

Your peripheral nervous system connects the nerves out of your mind and spinal twine, or central nervous system, to the remainder of your physique. This contains your:

  • arms and arms
  • legs and ft
  • face and mouth
  • inner organs

The job of those nerves is to ship indicators about bodily sensations again to your mind. In addition they ensure your physique’s inner capabilities, like blood circulation and meals digestion, work as they need to.

Peripheral neuropathy happens when these nerves don’t work correctly as a result of they’re broken or destroyed. This disrupts the nerves’ regular functioning. They could ship indicators of ache when there’s nothing inflicting ache, or they may not ship a ache sign even when one thing is harming you. This may be as a result of:

  • damage
  • systemic sickness
  • an infection
  • hormonal imbalance
  • sure medicines
  • vitamin deficiency
  • an inherited dysfunction

The causes are due to this fact huge, as are the varieties of the situation. Greater than 100 various kinds of peripheral neuropathy exist. Every sort has distinctive signs and particular remedy choices.

Medical researchers additionally classify peripheral neuropathies additional categorised by the kind of nerve injury concerned. Mononeuropathy happens when just one nerve is broken. Polyneuropathies, that are extra widespread, occur when a number of nerves are broken.

The dysfunction is uncomfortable, however remedies will be very useful. An important factor to find out is whether or not the neuropathy is the results of a critical underlying situation.

There are three varieties of nerves within the physique. Since there are such a lot of varieties of peripheral neuropathy, docs will diagnose your sort by the group of nerves it impacts. The three teams are:

  • Motor. These nerves are chargeable for muscle motion, like strolling, speaking, or utilizing your arms or arms.
  • Sensory. These are chargeable for sensory info, like scorching or chilly, ache, or contact.
  • Autonomic. These are chargeable for physique processes you don’t see, like respiration, heartbeat, and digestion.

Peripheral neuropathy can have an effect on one nerve group, two teams, or all three. Typically it’ll have an effect on one nerve solely, and that’s referred to as mononeuropathy.

The signs of peripheral neuropathy rely upon the type of neuropathy.

Motor neuropathy signs embody:

  • muscle cramps
  • twitching
  • muscle weak spot
  • foot drop
  • muscle losing
  • paralysis

Sensory neuropathy signs embody:

  • prickling and tingling sensation, or “pins and needles”
  • numbness
  • diminished sensations of ache or cold and hot
  • elevated ache from issues that shouldn’t trigger ache, like mild contact
  • burning or sharp ache
  • lack of stability or coordination

Autonomic neuropathy signs embody:

  • constipation or diarrhea
  • bloating, belching, or feeling of illness
  • faint or dizziness upon standing from low blood stress
  • speedy coronary heart charge
  • sweating an excessive amount of or too little
  • issues with sexual perform
  • lack of bowel management
  • issue emptying bladder utterly

Signs may cause challenges in every day life, like hassle strolling or sleeping due to ache within the ft and legs.

These signs may also point out different situations. Ensure you inform your physician about your whole signs to allow them to discover the correct prognosis and the very best remedy.

Quite a lot of components and underlying situations may cause this situation. In uncommon instances, peripheral neuropathy is genetic, however most instances are acquired.

An acquired case of peripheral neuropathy is usually idiopathic, which suggests docs don’t know why it’s taking place. Most often, docs can join the situation to a number of causes.

Generalized illnesses

Nerve injury brought on by diabetes is among the most typical types of neuropathy. This results in numbness, ache, and a lack of sensation within the extremities.

The American Diabetes Affiliation recommends taking these steps to delay or forestall nerve injury:

  • Monitor your blood sugar degree to maintain it in goal vary and to evaluate whether or not your diabetes care plan is on monitor.
  • Examine your ft for indicators of damage, an infection, or scorching spots.
  • Report indicators of neuropathy to your physician and get early remedy.
  • Shield your ft with particular sneakers and take care when washing and exercising.

In response to the Nationwide Institutes of Well being, 60 to 70 p.c of individuals with diabetes have some kind of nerve injury.

Different persistent illnesses that will trigger nerve injury embody:

  • autoimmune illnesses like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
  • kidney or liver problems
  • vascular and blood problems


Bodily trauma is a standard reason behind damage to the nerves. This could embody automotive accidents, falls, or fractures. Inactivity, or holding nonetheless too lengthy in a single place, may also trigger neuropathy.

Elevated stress on the median nerve, a nerve within the wrist that provides feeling and motion to the hand, causes carpal tunnel syndrome. This can be a widespread sort of peripheral neuropathy.

Alcohol and toxins

Alcohol can have a poisonous impact on nerve tissue, placing individuals with extreme alcohol use dysfunction at a better threat of peripheral neuropathy.

Publicity to poisonous chemical substances like glue, solvents, or pesticides, both via chemical abuse or within the office, may also trigger nerve injury. Moreover, publicity to heavy metals equivalent to lead and mercury may also trigger this situation.

Infections and autoimmune problems

Sure viruses and micro organism straight assault nerve tissue.

Viruses equivalent to herpes simplex, varicella-zoster virus (which causes chickenpox and shingles), and Epstein-Barr virus injury sensory nerves and trigger intense episodes of capturing ache.

Bacterial infections equivalent to Lyme illness may also trigger nerve injury and ache in the event that they aren’t handled. Folks with HIV or AIDS may also develop peripheral neuropathy.

Autoimmune illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus have an effect on the peripheral nervous system in varied methods. Power irritation and injury to tissues all through the physique, in addition to stress brought on by irritation, can all result in extreme nerve ache within the extremities.


Sure medicines can also trigger nerve injury. These embody:

A 2020 research discovered that though there’s no direct proof that statins, a category of medication used to decrease ldl cholesterol and forestall heart problems, trigger neuropathy, statins might improve the danger of neuropathy from different causes.

First, your physician will carry out a bodily examination and ask about your medical historical past. They could carry out different exams, which embody:


Electromyography can present issues with how your physique’s nerve indicators transfer to your muscular tissues.

For this check, your physician will place a small needle into your muscle. Your physician will then ask you to maneuver your muscle gently. Probes within the needle will measure the quantity of electrical energy transferring via your muscle.

This check might really feel such as you’re receiving a shot. Typically the realm turns into sore for a number of days afterward.

Nerve conduction research

In a nerve conduction research, your physician locations electrodes in your pores and skin. They then pulse tiny quantities of electrical energy via your nerves to see if the nerves are transmitting indicators correctly.

This process is barely uncomfortable whereas it’s taking place, but it surely shouldn’t damage afterward.

Remedy for the signs of peripheral neuropathy focuses on treating the underlying dysfunction. If diabetes is the trigger, the main target is on blood sugar management. If a vitamin deficiency is inflicting the issue, then correcting the deficiency is the remedy.

Many remedies can carry aid and enable you to return to your common actions. Typically a mixture of remedies works finest.

Ache medicines

Over-the-counter (OTC) oral ache medicines like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine, equivalent to aspirin and ibuprofen, will be very useful in controlling reasonable ache.

In the event you take them in extra, these medicine can have an effect on your liver or abdomen perform. It’s essential to keep away from utilizing them for an prolonged interval, particularly in case you drink alcohol commonly.

The Basis for Peripheral Neuropathy features a checklist of extra topical OTC medicines you could take into account attempting. They embody:

  • Absorbine Jr. This can be a mix of menthol and different natural components that may soothe muscle ache. Different menthol-based lotions can also assist. They embody Flex-All, Flexgen, Tiger Balm, or Vicks VapoRub.
  • Capsaicin cream. This cream comprises chili pepper oils, which create a heating impact that helps relieve ache for some individuals. There are manufacturers and formulations.
  • Neuragen PN. Constructed from botanical oils, this cream is supposed particularly for nerve ache on arms and ft.
  • Sore No Extra. That is one other botanical anesthetic that will present some relieve for neuropathic discomfort.

Prescription treatment

Many prescription ache medicines may also assist to manage the ache of this situation. These embody narcotics, some antiepileptic medicines, and a few antidepressants. Different useful prescription medicines embody:

  • lidocaine in a patch on the affected space
  • pregabalin (an anti-epileptic treatment)
  • duloxetine (an antidepressant)
  • steroids
  • anesthetics

Pharmaceuticals for sexual dysfunction in males as a result of nerve injury embody phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors (PDE5Is) like:

  • sildenafil
  • vardenafil
  • tadalafil
  • avanafil

Medical remedies

Your physician can use a number of medical remedies to manage the signs of this situation. Plasmapheresis is a blood transfusion that removes doubtlessly irritating antibodies out of your bloodstream.

In the event you get a nerve block, your physician will inject an anesthetic straight into your nerves.

Transcutaneous digital nerve stimulation (TENS)

Transcutaneous digital nerve stimulation (TENS) doesn’t work for everybody, however many individuals prefer it as a result of it’s a drug-free remedy.

Throughout TENS, electrodes positioned on the pores and skin ship small quantities of electrical energy into the pores and skin. The objective of this remedy is to disrupt nerves from transmitting ache indicators to the mind.

Ergonomic casts or splints

Ergonomic casts or splints may also help you in case your neuropathy impacts your muscular tissues. Splints may also help with:

These casts present assist for the a part of your physique that’s uncomfortable. This could relieve ache. For instance, a forged or splint that holds your wrists in a correct place when you sleep can relieve the discomfort of carpal tunnel syndrome.


Along with OTC ache relievers, many individuals have discovered aid for peripheral neuropathy via:

  • having a foot bathtub with chamomile or nettle leaves for at the least half-hour
  • utilizing a heating pad or electrical socks
  • making use of an ice pack to affected areas for 10 minutes twice every day within the morning and the night
  • attempting acupuncture
  • present process biofeedback
  • attempting various kinds of holistic remedy equivalent to reflexology, tai chi, or reiki
  • massaging affected areas to advertise circulation
  • avoiding stress on the affected space, like not crossing legs or leaning on elbows
  • in search of social assist and actions with others
  • setting priorities every day and never doing greater than you’re feeling you might be able to
  • avoiding caffeine and growing an everyday bedtime routine to advertise sleep

Average, common train may also assist reduce discomfort.

In the event you drink alcohol or smoke, take into account chopping again or stopping. Each alcohol and tobacco worsen nerve ache and might trigger nerve injury when used for lengthy durations.

Take precautions at house

When you have peripheral neuropathy, you’re doubtlessly at better threat for accidents within the house. You are able to do the next to enhance your security:

  • Use security guards and different instruments for sharp objects like scissors and knives.
  • Use thermometers to measure the temperature of bathtub or faucet water.
  • Use potholders and gloves when dealing with scorching objects.
  • Use a walker or cane for added stability.
  • Set up nightlights to keep away from tripping in the dead of night.
  • Fastidiously wrap your arms and ft when it’s chilly out.

In case your neuropathy is because of an underlying, treatable situation, you might be able to cease your peripheral neuropathy by treating the bigger downside.

Nonetheless, if this isn’t the case for you, you’ll be able to efficiently handle the signs of your peripheral neuropathy. Communicate along with your physician to find out the very best medical remedy for you, and discover complementary and self-care choices that may complement your medical care.

You may take steps to stop peripheral neuropathy and decrease your threat by:

  • speaking along with your physician about genetic threat and steps to stop onset of hereditary neuropathy
  • asking about medicines which have decrease neuropathy threat
  • getting vaccinated for situations like shingles that may trigger neuropathy
  • treating the underlying reason behind neuropathy, like managing blood sugar you probably have diabetes
  • quitting smoking to advertise wholesome circulation
  • avoiding caffeine to enhance sleep

Maintaining a healthy diet to stop vitamin deficiency and assist vascular well being is of explicit significance. Retaining a balanced weight-reduction plan that features all of the meals teams is your finest plan of action.

Nonetheless, the Basis for Peripheral Neuropathy has an inventory of some particular vitamins and nutritional vitamins to look out for in your meals that will play a job in bettering some signs

When you have diabetes, take particular care of your ft. Wash and examine your ft every day, and hold the pores and skin moist with lotion.

Peripheral neuropathy is the results of injury to a number of teams of nerves. The impact in your physique depends upon which nerve teams aren’t working the best way they need to.

An damage, systemic sickness, and medicines are all potential causes. By treating the underlying motive for neuropathy, you’ll be able to delay its onset or cease it from getting worse. Self-care methods like every day planning may also help you handle the situation and enhance every day life.

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