Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy

Causes

Peripheral neuropathy (PN) is caused by damage to the nerve endings from some toxin.The most common cause of PN is diabetes followed by alcohol. After these two, there are dozens of other potential causes that need to be evaluated with additional testing.

Symptoms

The symptoms of PN include numbness and tingling. This can often be painful and irritating. Typically, the symptoms start in your feet and progress up your leg. They can also occur in your fingers and hands.

Diagnosis

PN is usually diagnosed with a nerve test called an EMG. The EMG includes nerve conduction studies (NCS or NCV) that test how well your nerves are working. If there is damage to your nerves then the EMG will be able to pick it up to determine if you have PN or if your symptoms may be caused by something else.

Treatment

PN is treated with neuropathic pain medications that target nerve pain. Gabapentin (Neurontin) is the first line drug of choice for treating PN. Pregabalin (Lyrica) is also commonly used to treat painful diabetic neuropathy. After these two, there are several other medications that can be tried. Unfortunately, there is no cure for PN. After it is diagnosed, it is important to determine the cause so that you can prevent it from getting worse. If it is from diabetes, then good blood sugar control is very important.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to see the first patient in my private practice who was sent from the VA. This veteran has been suffering with pain in both shoulders for over a year now. He has failed conservative treatment already with physical therapy, pain medications, and steroid injections. As a result, he was referred to me for Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) injections to help him heal his injured rotator cuffs and arthritic joints. I look forward to taking care of him and other veterans like him in the future who have served our great country over the years. ... See MoreSee Less

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