Neuropathy refers to damaged nerves anywhere in the body. It can cause a variety of symptoms, including pain, cramping, weakness, numbness, tingling, loss of reflexes, and sensitivity to temperature in parts of your body. The most common type of neuropathy is peripheral neuropathy, affecting the nerves in the upper and lower extremities.
What could damage your peripheral nerves? Here are the most common causes.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
CTS is peripheral neuropathy affecting the hands due to pressure on the median nerve located in the forearm and wrist. CTS can develop due to a genetically smaller carpal tunnel that constricts the median nerve or due to repetitive use of the hands (such as through typing), which constricts the nerve for extended periods of time, eventually leading it to become inflamed. CTS can cause pain, numbness, and tingling sensation in the fingers.
Drinking too much alcohol often can cause neuropathy because alcohol is toxic to nerve health. It is the second most common cause of neuropathy. People with peripheral neuropathy experience tingling and burning sensations as a result of the damage. The nerve damage caused by alcohol is permanent, so stopping excessive alcohol intake won’t automatically fix damaged nerves. Therefore, it is best to drink alcohol conservatively to prevent neuropathy from developing.
Treatment for cancer may cause some nerve damage. This condition is called chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). Chemotherapy drugs can damage healthy cells and nerves.
Kidney disease, especially in advanced stages, can cause nerve damage. Kidneys that are not functioning well can cause an imbalance of chemicals and salts in the body, which can end up affecting and damaging nerves.
B vitamins are important for healthy nerves. A deficiency in vitamin B12 in particular has been linked to peripheral neuropathy. B12 levels under 100 pg/ml is considered a deficiency. Your doctor can test your blood to see if you have the correct levels of B12 in your system. Foods rich in B vitamins include dark and leafy vegetables, fruits, whole wheat bread, meat, eggs, and seeds and nuts. Vitamin B12 supplementation is an essential part of therapy for those who are deficient.
The most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes, both type 1 and type 2. High levels of sugar can damage nerves, which can result in pain, a tingling sensation, and numbness in the extremities. Diabetics are at a higher risk of developing neuropathy in their feet, which can lead small cuts, scrapes, wounds, and even ulcers to go unnoticed and untreated for extended periods of time. As a result, infections can grow out of control and increase your risk of requiring an amputation of the affected foot or leg. For this reason, diabetics must take foot care very seriously and examine their feet for any signs of neuropathy on a frequent basis.
Peripheral Neuropathy Pain Management in Austin, Texas
If you suspect you have neuropathy, the best thing to do is seek medical care. The skilled and caring pain management experts at Balcones Pain Consultants have helped countless patients over the years reduce their symptoms of peripheral neuropathy and slow down the condition’s progression. We can develop a specialized treatment plan that is customized to your needs.
To request an appointment with our pain management experts, call Balcones Pain Consultants at (512) 834-4141 or submit an appointment request now. Our friendly staff looks forward to serving you at one of our 3 locations in Texas.