Neuropathy are disorders of the peripheral nervous system. More specifically, it is damage to the nerves resulting in issues such as numbness, tingling, or a burning sensation. There are many different types of neuropathy.
There are many causes of neuropathy, the most common is diabetes. Other possible causes could include: alcohol use, vitamin deficiencies, chemotherapy exposure, drug-induced side effect, hypothyroidism, infectious diseases, chronic kidney disease, environmental factors, hereditary factors, and more.
You might start to notice burning, numbness, shooting pain in one area, or tingling sensation in portions of the hands or feet. These sensations may move up the body, towards the forearm or calves. If symptoms progress, one may start to notice weakness in the affected limbs, and they may start noticing that they are having multiple falls due to their lack of sensory balance.
How We Can Help
If you think you may have neuropathy, make an appointment with one of our neurologists. At an appointment, you might do the following:
- Give a detailed history: Your neurologist will discuss with you details about the "who/when/where/why" of your symptoms. Your clinical history is one of the most important factors contributing to your possible diagnosis as this will help your neurologist determine if you do have neuropathy or if it is something else.
- Do a mini work-out session: You can expect your neurologist to perform a very thorough neurological examination which may include, but not limited to the following: Cranial nerve examination, testing your motor (muscle) strength, testing your sensory nerves (by using a tuning fork and a device to assess your pinprick and temperature sensation), cerebellar testing (to check for any issues with your balance), and your gait (evaluating how you walk). So, go ahead and treat yourself to a mani/pedi because you can be sure your neurologist will be paying close attention to your hands and feet!
- Talk with your neurologist: Based on your history and physical exam, your neurologist will then discuss with you in detail about the possible diagnosis of neuropathy: what may be causing it, how it can affect your body, and what to expect if there is progression. Your neurologist will also discuss possible diagnostic testing and treatment options.
Some diagnostic testing which may be offered are:
Lab work, spinal imaging, or nerve conduction studies/electromyography. Both of which would be discussed in detail to relieve any apprehension and understand the reason for these tests.
There are various options (prescription medications and over-the-counter medications) to help treat symptoms (burning/tingling sensation) that may tend to cause you discomfort. Your neurologist will try to help minimize this so that you can continue to enjoy your life to the fullest.
Would you like to learn more?
There are many ways to learn more about neuropathy and the different types. Here are some sources that can help you get started: