Noticing the Signs of Peripheral Neuropathy

Everyone has had their limbs “fall asleep” at one time or another. It can happen if you sit in an awkward position or fall asleep with an arm above your head. But what if your extremities get pins-and-needles or go numb when you don’t do these things?

If this sounds familiar, you might be experiencing symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, a condition that involves the nerves in your arms, legs, hands, and feet. 

Catching this condition early is key to avoiding potential complications. In this blog, Kenneth Varley, MD, of Southern Pain Specialists in Birmingham, Alabama, describes what peripheral neuropathy is and the signs to look out for.

What is peripheral neuropathy? 

Peripheral neuropathy occurs when your peripheral nervous system — the part of your nervous system that connects your brain and spinal cord to everything else — malfunctions. Your peripheral nervous system is responsible for sending signals to your brain, such as “your hands are cold” or “your toe hurts because you stubbed it.” 

When something short-circuits or misfires, your brain doesn’t receive signals like it should. Your peripheral nerves may not send signals at all, or they may send signals when nothing is happening, such as random pins-and-needles sensations or sudden pain. 

Signs of peripheral neuropathy

The only way to know for sure if you have peripheral neuropathy is to get a doctor’s diagnosis. However, the following symptoms may indicate that you have the condition: 

If your symptoms come on gradually, you might not notice them for a long time. If you start to notice anything strange, don’t disregard it. Monitor any symptoms and visit your doctor if they progress. 

Treating peripheral neuropathy

Treatment for peripheral neuropathy depends largely on your exact symptoms, the location of your symptoms, and the severity of your symptoms. If there’s an underlying cause of your peripheral neuropathy — such as diabetes, which is the leading cause of peripheral neuropathy — that underlying condition will be treated first.

Treatments for peripheral neuropathy that don’t have a clear underlying cause often include lifestyle changes and natural remedies, such as magnesium and vitamin B supplementation and exercise. Other recommendations may include taking prescription medications or undergoing electrical stimulation therapy.

If you have peripheral neuropathy or want to see if you do, the experts at Southern Pain Specialists can give you a thorough evaluation and put you on the best path to getting healthy. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone today.

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