Neuropathy 101: Understanding the Basics of this Condition

Young woman having pain in the back and neck

Neuropathy refers to a range of medical conditions that are the direct result of nerve damage. It is also known as peripheral neuropathy. Due to the damage to the peripheral nerves, the condition is, unfortunately, irreversible.

However, neuropathy treatments in large cities like Los Angeles, New York, and Miami are helping people with this condition manage symptoms or helping those with other conditions prevent possible nerve damage.  There are ways you can manage the symptoms of neuropathy. But to do that, you must first understand the facts about the condition:

What Causes Neuropathy?

Since neuropathy is caused by damage to the nerves, the exact cause of the nerve damage may vary. It may result from poorly controlled diabetes, a damaged immune system because of infectious diseases, hereditary disorders, and even alcoholism. In 23% of reported cases around the world, the cause of neuropathy is unknown.

What Are the Symptoms of Neuropathy?

The nerves in your body are classified into three:

Sensory Nerves — These nerves are responsible for receiving all types of sensation, from touch and temperature to vibration and pain.

Motor Nerves — Nerves that are responsible for muscle movement and control

Autonomic Nerves — Nerves that are responsible for controlling various bodily functions like digestion, blood pressure, bladder control, and heart rate, among other things.

Each nerve has a particular function. The symptoms of neuropathy vary according to the kind of nerves damaged. However, some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Gradual numbness, tingling, or constant prickling in your extremities
  • Extremely sensitive skin
  • Muscle weakness
  • Sudden sharp pain in certain parts of your body
  • Lack of coordination
  • Paralysis

What Are the Treatments for Neuropathy?

The causes of neuropathy are wide and varied, so it’s important for your healthcare provider to determine the exact underlying condition that might have caused nerve damage. This is key to preventing any further nerve damage and minimizing the risk of neuropathy.

Should neuropathy be present already, managing the pain is the first step in treatment, and this can be done using over-the-counter medication. If symptoms persist, healthcare professionals might also recommend anti-seizure, anti-epileptic, and even anti-depressant medicines to manage the pain. If the nerve damage is extensive, you can also explore surgery or neuromodulation.

What Are Some Physical Activities You Can Do to Relieve Neuropathic Pain?

The pain in a female wrist

The simple exercise of walking has been shown to reduce neuropathic pain greatly in mild cases of neuropathy. The health benefits of walking include lower blood sugar, muscle atrophy prevention, and reduced risk of developing further nerve damage.

A word of caution: Moderate to severe neuropathy can alter a person’s response to even light exercises like walking. In some severe cases, it can even cause further nerve damage. Always consult your physician about your physical therapy options before engaging in strenuous activity.

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