Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy, nerve pain, burning tingling feet, burning feet, tingling feet, painful feet, neuropathy,

Peripheral neuropathy (PN) is a condition in which the nerves in the extremities deteriorate and no longer function properly. PN is a slow progressive disease characterized by certain sensations that may or may not occur through the progression of the disease in all individuals.
Peripheral Neuropathy, nerve pain, burning tingling feet, burning feet, tingling feet, painful feet, neuropathy,
Typically, peripheral neuropathy starts with burning or tingling (pins and needles poking the skin) in the extremities. The tingling sensations are often described as the sensation of a arm falling asleep after sleeping on it wrong. In some individuals there is actually a period of hypersensitivity that can occur during this stage where any sensation can become very irritating and even painful. In other individuals this stage is completely lacking and there is a complete loss of sensation or numbness that slowly and unnoticeably sets in. This can occur in any of the extremities and almost always occurs in symmetrical pattern. There are many causes of peripheral neuropathy here are some of the more common conditions causing peripheral neuropathy:
  • Heavy metal poisoning
  • Diabetes
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Trauma
  • Medications
  • Vitamin B complex deficiencies
  • Genetic diseases

Isolating the causative factor can be very difficult and in many cases impossible. Blood test and nerve conduction tests can help point us in the right direction by ruling out some factors and identifying others.

Complete numbness is extremely dangerous due to the lack of protective sensation. Protective sensation is the ability to identify pain associated with irritation, trauma, or infection. This is can be tested easily at any doctor’s office with the use of a specialized plastic monofilament called the Semmes-Weinstein Monofilament.

Treatment options are mainly targeted at the symptoms. The medications are aimed at dulling or eliminating the amount of uncomfortable sensations a patient feels. These treatments are often successful but can cause some significant side effects that are intolerable to some. The side effects can include dizziness, upset stomach, and nausea among others. Some individuals describe a feeling of intoxication with these medications. With adjustments in the prescribed dosages one can usually overcome the side effects and a therapeutic level can be achieved.
Complete resolution of PN is often virtually impossible and is dependent on the cause and the individual. This is because nerves have a very low and slow healing capacity. In some cases such as vitamin B complex deficiencies, replenishment of these vitamins can significantly decrease the unpleasantness of the symptoms without medications.