What is peripheral neuropathy and how it affect to pain in arms and legs?
Your peripheral nervous system connects the nerves from your brain and spine, or main nervous system, to the rest of your body. This includes your:
- arms, hands, feet, legs
- internal organs
- mouth, face
The job of these nerves is to provide signals about physical feelings back to your brain.
Peripheral neuropathy is a disorder that takes place when these nerves malfunction because they’re harmed or damaged. This interferes with the nerves’ normal performance. They might send out signals of pain when there’s absolutely nothing triggering pain, or they might not send a pain signal even if something is harming you. This can be due to:
- an injury
- systemic disease
- an infection
- an inherited disorder
The condition is uneasy, but treatments can be very helpful. The most essential thing to determine is whether peripheral neuropathy is the outcome of a serious underlying condition.
What are the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy?
The three types of peripheral nerves are:
- sensory nerves, which connect to your skin
- motor nerves, which link to your muscles
- autonomic nerves, which connect to your internal organs
Peripheral neuropathy can influence one nerve group or all three.
The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy consist of:
- tingling in the hands or feet
- a sensation like you’re using a tight glove or sock
- sharp, stabbing pains
- numbness in the hands or feet
- a weak, heavy sensation in the limbs, which often may feel like your legs or arms lock in place
- regularly dropping things from your hands
- a buzzing or stunning feeling
- thinning of the skin
- a drop in high blood pressure
- sexual dysfunction, particularly in men
- gastrointestinal trouble
- excessive sweating
These symptoms can likewise indicate other conditions. Ensure you tell your doctor about all your symptoms.
What Are the Causes of Severe Pain in Arms and Legs?
Individuals who have a household history of peripheral neuropathy are more likely to develop the disorder. However, a range of factors and underlying conditions might also cause this condition.
Nerve damage triggered by diabetes is one of the most typical kinds of neuropathy. This leads to numbness, pain, and a loss of sensation in the extremities. The risk of neuropathy increases for individuals who:
- are obese
- have hypertension
- are over the age of 40
- have diabetes
According to the University of Chicago’s Center for Peripheral Neuropathy (UCCPN), nearly 60 percent of people with diabetes have some sort of nerve damage. This damage is typically due to high blood sugar level levels.
Other chronic diseases that may cause nerve damage include:
- kidney conditions where high amount of toxic substances build up in the body and damage nerve tissue
- hypothyroidism, which happens when the body does not produce sufficient thyroid hormone, causing fluid retention and pressure surrounding nerve tissues
- conditions that cause chronic inflammation and can spread to the nerves or damage connective tissue surrounding nerves
- shortages of vitamins E, B-1, B-6, and B-12, which are necessary to nerve health and functioning
Physical trauma is the most common cause of injury to the nerves. This can consist of car accidents, falls, or fractures. Inactivity, or holding still too long in one position, can also cause neuropathy. Increased pressure on the typical nerve, a nerve in the wrist that provides feeling and motion to the hand, causes carpal tunnel syndrome. This is a typical type of peripheral neuropathy.
Alcohol and toxins
Alcohol can have a harmful effect on nerve tissue, putting people with severe alcohol addiction at a higher risk of peripheral neuropathy.
Direct exposure to hazardous chemicals like glue, solvents, or insecticides, either through chemical abuse or in the office, can also cause nerve damage. Furthermore, direct exposure to heavy metals such as lead and mercury can also cause this condition.
Infections and autoimmune conditions
Certain viruses and bacteria directly attack nerve tissue.
Viruses such as herpes simplex, varicella-zoster virus, which causes chickenpox and shingles, and Epstein-Barr virus damage sensory nerves and cause extreme episodes of shooting pain.
Bacterial infections such as Lyme disease can likewise cause nerve damage and pain if they aren’t dealt with. People with HIV or AIDS can also develop peripheral neuropathy.
Autoimmune illness like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus impact the peripheral anxious system in different ways. Chronic swelling and damage to tissues throughout the body, as well as pressure brought on by swelling, can all lead to severe nerve pain in the extremities.
Certain medications might likewise cause nerve damage. These consist of:
- anticonvulsants, which people take to alleviate seizures
- drugs to fight bacterial infections
- some blood pressure medications
- medications used to relieve cancer
Current research in The Journal of Family Practice also recommends that statins, a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol and avoid cardiovascular disease, might also cause nerve damage and enhance the risk for neuropathy.
How is peripheral neuropathy detected?
First, your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask about your case history. If they still cannot inform whether your symptoms are due to peripheral neuropathy, other tests to carry out include:
Blood tests can measure vitamin and blood sugar levels and identify whether your thyroid is functioning properly.
Your doctor may also buy a CT scan or MRI to see if anything is continuing a nerve, such as a herniated disk or a tumor.
Often your doctor will buy a nerve biopsy. This is a minor surgery that involves eliminating a small amount of nerve tissue that they can then analyze under a microscopic lense.
Electromyography can show problems with how your body’s nerve signals transfer to your muscles. For this test, your doctor will place a little needle into your muscle. Your doctor will then ask you to move your muscle carefully. Probes in the needle will measure the amount of electrical power moving through your muscle. This test might feel like you’re receiving a shot. Sometimes the area ends up being sore for a few days later.
Nerve conduction research study
In a nerve conduction research, your doctor places electrodes on your skin. They then pulse small quantities of electricity through your nerves to see if the nerves are transferring signals appropriately. This procedure is slightly uneasy while it’s taking place, however it shouldn’t harm later.
What are the treatment options for severe pain in arms and legs (peripheral neuropathy)?
The treatment is based upon treating the underlying disorder. If diabetes is the cause, making certain that the blood sugar is managed is very important. If a vitamin deficiency is triggering the problem, then remedying the shortage is the treatment. Numerous treatments can bring relief and help you go back to your regular activities. Sometimes a combination of treatments works best.
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, can be really valuable in managing moderate pain. If you take them in excess, these drugs can affect your liver or stomach function. It’s crucial to avoid using them for an extended duration, particularly if you drink alcohol.
Lots of prescription pain medications can also assist to control the severe pain in arms and legs. These consist of narcotics, some antiepileptic medications, and some antidepressants. Other helpful prescription medicines include:
- cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors
- corticosteroid injections
- seizure medications, such as gabapentin or pregabalin
- antidepressants, such as amitriptyline
- Cymbalta, which is a serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor
Prescription drugs for sexual dysfunction in men consist of:
- sildenafil (Viagra).
- vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn).
- tadalafil (Cialis).
- avanafil (Stendra).
Your doctor can use several medical treatments to manage the symptoms of this condition. Plasmapheresis is a blood transfusion that gets rid of possibly annoying antibodies from your blood stream. If you get a nerve block, your doctor will inject an anesthetic directly into your nerves.
Transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation (TENS)
Transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation (TENS) does not work for everybody, however lots of people like it because it’s a drug-free therapy. During TENS, electrodes placed on the skin send out percentages of electrical energy into the skin. The objective of this treatment is to interrupt nerves from transferring pain signals to the brain.
Ergonomic casts or splints
Ergonomic casts or splints can help you if your neuropathy affects your:
These casts offer assistance for the part of your body that’s uncomfortable. This can ease severe pain in arms and legs. For instance, a cast or splint that holds your wrists in a correct position while you sleep can eliminate the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome.
In addition to OTC painkiller, lots of people have discovered relief for peripheral neuropathy through:.
- chiropractic care.
Moderate, regular exercise can likewise assist reduce discomfort.
If you drink alcohol or smoke, consider cutting down or stopping. Both alcohol and tobacco exacerbate nerve pain and can cause nerve damage when used for extended periods.
Take precautions at home
If you have peripheral neuropathy, you’re possibly at higher risk for mishaps in the home. You can do the following to enhance your safety:
- Always wear shoes to secure your feet.
- Keep your floor clear of things that you could trip on.
- Examine the temperature of your bath or dishwater with your elbow, not your hand or foot.
- Install handrails in your bathtub or shower.
- Use bath mats that can prevent slipping.
- Do not stay in one position for too long. Get up and move a few times each hour. This is specifically crucial for those whose work involves sitting for long periods at a desk.
What is the long-term outlook?
If your neuropathy results from a hidden, treatable condition, you might have the ability to stop your peripheral neuropathy by dealing with the bigger issue. However, if this isn’t the case for you, you can successfully handle the symptoms of your peripheral neuropathy. Talk with your doctor to identify the best medical treatment for you, and check out alternative and self-care choices that can supplement your medical care.
How can I avoid peripheral neuropathy?
Even if you have a family history of this disorder, you can help prevent its onset by doing the following:
- avoiding alcohol
- preventing cigarette smoking or quitting smoking if you smoke
- consuming a healthy diet
- getting routine, moderate exercise
You can reduce your risk of peripheral neuropathy by:
- knowing what contaminants you might be exposed to at work or school.
- securing your feet during sports, particularly those that include kicking.
- never breathing in contaminants like glue to obtain high.
If you have diabetes, take unique care of your feet. Wash and examine your feet daily, and keep the skin moist with lotion.