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Peripheral Neuropathy describes damage to the nerves that transmit information to and from your brain and spinal cord to every other part of your body. For example, your peripheral nerves tell you when your feet are cold or when your finger is burned. When these nerves are damaged, it’s like having static on a telephone line, and those messages are interrupted or distorted.
Common symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy
• Numbness, tingling, pricking sensations
• Sharp shooting or jabbing pains
• Sensitivity to touch
• Muscle weakness
• Burning pain, especially at night
Causes of Neuropathy
There are more than 100 types of peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy may be either inherited or acquired. There are 3 broad categories for what causes Acquired Neuropathy:
1) Physical injury (trauma) is the most common cause. Injury or sudden trauma, such as from automobile accidents, falls, and sports-related activities, can cause nerves to be partially or completely severed, crushed, compressed, or stretched. Less dramatic traumas also can cause serious nerve damage. Broken or dislocated bones can exert damaging pressure on neighboring nerves, and slipped disks between vertebrae can compress nerve fibers where they emerge from the spinal cord. Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), also known as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), is a neuropathy caused by physical trauma.
2) Systemic diseases — disorders that affect the entire body —often cause peripheral neuropathy. Nerve tissues are highly vulnerable to damage from diseases that impair the body's ability to transform nutrients into energy, process waste products, or manufacture substances that make up living tissue. Systemic causes of neuropathy include (but are not limited to):
• Diabetes: 60-70% of diabetics have mild to severe neuropathy
• Kidney disorders
• Hormonal imbalances
• Vitamin deficiencies
• Vascular damage & blood diseases
• Connective tissue disorders and chronic inflammation
• Repetitive stress
• Toxins, including: heavy metal exposure, anti-cancer drugs (chemotherapy) and environmental toxins.
3) Infections and autoimmune disorders can cause peripheral neuropathy, including (but not limited to):
• Shingles (herpes varicella-zoster)
• Epstein-Barr virus
• Lyme disease
Common Neuropathy Treatments
Many patients are on very strong prescription pain killers and anti-depressants. Not only can these become addictive, they only cover up the symptoms, not actually addressing the root cause of the problem. We find that many of these patients have been told to expect their condition to get progressively worse, and that there is no cure or long-term solution.