Recognizing the Early Signs of Peripheral Neuropathy

Chronic tingling, numbness, and pain in the feet and hands could be a sign of peripheral neuropathy, a condition in which the nerves become damaged or diseased. 

Nerves carry messages to the central nervous system. When these signals are interrupted, you may lose the ability to experience sensations in certain parts of your body, or you may experience pain even in the absence of trauma or disease.

Estimates suggest that approximately 20 million Americans live with some form of peripheral neuropathy. The numbers may increase because diabetes, one of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy, is on the rise. 

Our experts at Momentum Physical Therapy help patients with peripheral neuropathy boost their life quality by improving balance and building strength. We asked them about the signs of peripheral neuropathy and how sufferers can get help.

What causes peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy isn’t one single disease. It’s the consequence of several possible disorders that can cause this type of nerve damage. Something as minor as a vitamin deficiency can lead to peripheral neuropathy. Other possible causes include the following:

When the cause of the nerve damage is unknown, experts refer to the condition as idiopathic neuropathy.

Signs of peripheral neuropathy

One of the earliest signs of peripheral neuropathy is the gradual onset of tickling and burning in the feet and hands. These sensations can occur in the arms as well. Other common symptoms include the following:

Some people may also notice worsening of the symptoms in cold weather.

Treatment options for peripheral neuropathy 

The first step is identifying the cause of your nerve damage. For example, if the cause of your nerve damage is type 2 diabetes, consuming less sugar and keeping your blood sugar levels under control is vital to maintaining the health of your nerves. 

The second step involves learning to adapt to your condition by making lifestyle choices such as participating in rehabilitative exercises and stretching. 

Left untreated, peripheral neuropathy can affect your ability to walk, maintain your balance, and stay active. Studies indicate that nerve damage is strongly correlated with falls in the elderly. 

If you suspect you have peripheral neuropathy, contact us to schedule an appointment. Our team at Momentum Physical Therapy can design and personalize an exercise regimen that strengthens your body and makes your life with peripheral neuropathy easier.

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