Facts | Symptoms | Causes | Treatment options | Prevention
peripheral nervous system is a network that transmits information from the
brain and spinal cord (the central nervous system) to all areas of the
body. These nerves send sensory information back to the brain and spinal
cord as well, such as a message that you got a paper cut or a sunburn.
Damage to the peripheral nervous system interferes with these important
connections. More than 100 types of peripheral nerve disorders have been
with its own distinct characteristics.
peripheral nerve has a very specific function within a certain part of the
body, so many different symptoms can occur when nerves are damaged. These
symptoms may advance quickly or slowly, disappear and reappear depending upon
numbness, tingling, and pricking sensations
pain (especially at night)
or gland dysfunction
blood pressure levels
muscle twitching visible under the skin
in the skin, hair, and nails
ability to feel vibrations and touch
sense of numbness, especially in the hands and feet
to coordinate complex movements like walking or fastening buttons, or to
maintain their balance when their eyes are shut
Peripheral nerve conditions can be either inherited or acquired. Some causes
of acquired peripheral neuropathy include physical injury (trauma) to a nerve,
tumors, exposure to toxins, autoimmune responses, nutritional deficiencies,
alcoholism, and vascular and metabolic disorders.
injury (trauma) is the most common cause of injury to a nerve. Injury or sudden
trauma, such as from automobile accidents, falls and sports-related activities,
can cause nerves to become partially or completely severed, crushed, compressed
or stretched. Broken or dislocated bones can place a dangerous amount of pressure
on nearby nerves, and slipped discs between vertebrae can compress nerve fibers
where they emerge from the spinal cord.
nerve conditions that are inherited are untreatable at this time. In other
cases, underlying conditions are treated first, followed by treatment of
based on specific peripheral nerve conditions. This allows symptoms to be
controlled and prevents additional nerve damage from occurring.
pain may sometimes be alleviated by analgesics sold over the counter.
Mechanical aids such as braces and orthopedic shoes can help reduce pain and
lessen the impact of physical disability.
may be recommended in some cases such as the repair of a slipped disc, the
removal of benign or malignant tumors or the surgical release of ligaments
recommendations for preventing peripheral nerve damage include maintaining
optimal weight, avoiding exposure to toxins, exercising, eating a balanced
diet, correcting vitamin deficiencies, quitting smoking, and limiting or avoiding
alcohol consumption. These changes can help reduce the physical and emotional
effects of peripheral neuropathy and cultivate the best environment for nerve
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