Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy is a condition characterized by extremity pain, numbness, burning pain, and weakness, usually of the hands, arms, legs, and/or feet. Peripheral Neuropathy refers to a condition that results when there is damage to the Peripheral Nervous System, the network of nerves outside the spinal cord. Symptoms can include numbness or tingling, pricking sensations, muscle weakness, paralysis, extreme sensitivity to touch, burning pain (especially at night), and in extreme cases organ or gland dysfunction. Peripheral Neuropathy can be acute (symptoms occur suddenly, progress rapidly, and resolve slowly) or chronic (symptoms are slight, progress slowly, may take months or years to resolve, and can be recurrent and worsening over time.)

What causes Peripheral Neuropathy? Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy generally include physical injury or sudden trauma, diseases or disorders, exposure to toxins in medications, hazardous environmental and industrial materials, and heavy alcohol consumption. Diabetes, Chemotherapy Treatment, Spinal Stenosis, and Spinal Disc Degeneration are all common underlying conditions of Peripheral Neuropathy.

Diabetic Neuropathy

One of the most common forms of Peripheral Neuropathy is Diabetic Neuropathy. The nerve damaging disorders associated with Diabetes result from uncontrolled high blood sugar levels and poor blood circulation. More than 50% of patients with Diabetes will develop some form of peripheral neuropathy. Symptoms generally begin with pain and numbness in both feet that gradually ascend up both legs. As the condition progresses, the fingers, hands, and arms may also become affected. Diabetic Neuropathy usually develops slowly and often over several decades.

Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy

Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN) is a common adverse effect of several of the most routinely used cancer treatments. Nerve damage is caused by the drugs as they spread throughout the body. Statistically, 50% of all Chemotherapy patients develop Peripheral Neuropathy with burning, numbness, or tingling at some point during therapy. In most cases, symptoms will begin in the toes and then move on to the ankles and ascend up the legs. Likewise, symptoms can move up from the fingers to the hands and then to the arms. CIPN usually affects both sides of the body in the same way. Symptoms can begin any time after treatment starts and often get worse as treatments progress.