Peripheral Neuropathy

Neuropathy is painful condition where there is damage to a nerve that is in the peripheral nervous system, outside the central nervous system. There can be damage to one nerve or multiple nerves. Peripheral neuropathy in developed nations is commonly a as result of diabetic peripheral neuropathy, but may also be a result of other conditions such as genetic or metabolic disorders, vitamin deficiencies or chronic exposure to certain toxins such as alcohol, chemicals or drugs. Other potential causes of neuropathy can be a result of trauma or compressive forces that over time may damage the nerve and impair the function of the muscles the nerve travels to. For example carpal tunnel syndrome is result of compression of the median nerve at the wrist. The impairment depends on severity of damage to the nerve. There may be slowed conduction velocity in the damaged nerve but the function is still preserved. However, with severe damage both motor and sensory components may be both affected and this could result in loss of function such that the muscles begin to atrophy and do not function at the same strength as they did previously. Additional testing called electrodiagnostic studies may be ordered to provide more accurate information on the integrity of the nerve in question.Ā  There are many treatment options available, depending on the location of nerve and degree of damage.

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