Overview of Peripheral Neuropathy from a Los Angeles Pain Doctor
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As a well managed pain management clinic we help patients with peripheral neuropathy, commonly referred to as sensory neuropathy, can involve pain, tingling, numbness, or a combination of all, generally beginning in the feet. The nerves that run from the spinal cord to the feet are the longest in the body and must carry signals the farthest of all the nerves. There is more opportunity for damage to these nerves just because there are more of them. This is the most common type of neuropathic condition caused by diabetes.
This disease can be classified into three basic pathologies: mononeuropathy, a neuropathy that affects just one nerve in one part of the body; polyneuropathy, which affects multiple nerve cells in a variety of places within the body; and autonomic neuropathy, which affects the organs which function without conscious thought. All of these conditions are dangerous and, if left untreated, can be quite damaging.Mononeuropathy, sometimes called focal neuropathy, can occur suddenly and almost always affects nerves in the eyes and other parts of the head. It can present itself very suddenly and may cause shooting pains behind the eyeball and in other parts of the head. Sometimes mononeuropathy will affect other parts of the body and is often confused with motor neuropathy because the symptoms are similar: weakness and cramps. This type of neuropathy also imitates peripheral neuropathy and can cause tingling and sharp pains in the legs.
Polyneuropathy is a condition that is generally the most common result of diabetes. There can be several other causes, such as Lyme disease, and even alcoholism, but the most common is indeed diabetes and glucose intolerance. This occurs in multiple parts of the body, most commonly the feet, at least at first, and the hands. These limbs are the furthest from the spinal cord and brain and the nerves are therefore the longest, so the signals between the limbs and brain tend to be impaired earliest. When blood sugar rises too high levels after a meal because of a diabetic or pre-diabetic glucose intolerance, the nerves can become damaged and the damage will continue even after the high levels of blood sugar have returned to normal.
Autonomic neuropathy tends to take the body out of balance, or homeostasis and gives the person a feeling of uneasiness because the functions that are usually automatically handled without conscious thought are interrupted. This type of neuropathy will affect many of the systems which keep the body functioning but the most heavily affected will be the systems served by the most damaged nerves. This type of neuropathy doesn’t involve pain, but weakness, generally in the arms, can be diagnosed with tests and is often confused with other nerve diseases such as ALS. Autonomic neuropathy can involve symptoms such as weakness, loss of control of certain muscles, cramps, and even paralysis.
When it comes to polyneuropathy, there are various nonoperative treatment options with a Los Angeles pain management clinic. Medications may consist of opiates, neurogenic medications (e.g. Lyrica), prescription pain creams and more. For chronic pain, a spinal cord stimulator may allow for significant relief along with the ability to restore significant sensation that has been lost. It’s been a revolutionary treatment option for neuropathy!