Peripheral neuropathy is a painful condition that affects millions of people each year in the United States. It occurs when damage or disease has occurred in the nerves that carry messages from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body.
Peripheral nerves originate in the spinal cord and flow out along lines in the body known as dermatomes. When one of these nerves becomes damaged, it can affect one or more dermatomes, causing pain to then radiate out to specific areas of the body.
This type of nerve damage can interrupt communication between the brain and other parts of the body. It also can impair muscle movement, inhibit normal feeling in the arms and legs, and cause pain which can sometimes be intense.
Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy
People develop peripheral neuropathy for many different reasons. It can be acquired through diabetes, poor nutrition, disease, or infection. It also can be hereditary, although this is not as common.
And in some instances, the original cause of peripheral neuropathy is never determined. This is called idiopathic neuropathy and as many as a third of all people in Richmond, Virginia, with peripheral neuropathy fall into this category.
Treatments for Peripheral Neuropathy
Treatment for peripheral neuropathy depends on the type and severity of the condition. Some people respond to anti-seizure medications, while others benefit from antidepressants.
Capsaicin cream also is sometimes used to provide modest improvement in peripheral neuropathy symptoms.
Relieving the Pain of Peripheral Neuropathy
Because peripheral neuropathy can be such a painful condition, eradicating the suffering is generally top treatment priority.
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