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Peripheral Neuropathy


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Your peripheral nervous system sends information from your brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) to the rest of your body.

Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage caused by any number of conditions, including traumatic injury, infections, inherited health conditions, diabetes mellitus, and more. It typically causes weakness, numbness, and pain in your hands and feet, but may affect other areas of your body.

With medications and treatment, most symptoms improve, especially if caused by a treatable condition.

Symptoms may include:

  • Numbness, prickling, or tingling in your feet or hands, which starts gradually and can spread upward into your legs and arms
  • Sharp, jabbing, throbbing, or burning pain
  • An extreme sensitivity to touch
  • Balance issues
  • Muscle weakness or even paralysis

Different types of nerves perform different functions in your body.  Your sensory nerves help you feel temperature, pain, vibration or touch, from the skin. Your motor nerves control your muscles and movement. Your blood pressure, heart rate, digestion, and bladder are controlled by your autonomic nerves. If your automatic nerves are affected, you may have issues with your heat tolerance, excessive sweating, bowel and digestive issues, or dizziness, due to a change in your blood pressure.

Early diagnosis and treatment of peripheral neuropathy is key.


Nerve function tests

Electromyography records electrical activity in your muscles to detect nerve damage. A probe sends electrical signals to a nerve, and an electrode placed along the nerve's pathway records the nerve's response to the signals (nerve conduction studies).

MRI or CT Scan
Imaging scans are used to look for herniated disks, tumors, or other abnormalities.

Skin biopsy
This test is used to look for a reduction in nerve endings.


Pain relievers
Depending on the severity of your pain, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain medications or prescribe a stronger painkiller.

Anti-seizure medications
Medications such as gabapentin (Gralise, Neurontin) and pregabalin (Lyrica), developed to treat epilepsy, may also relieve nerve pain.

Topical treatments
Capsaicin cream, which contains a substance found in hot peppers, and lidocaine patches may offer pain relief. This is not an option for everyone so talk to your doctor.

Why Choose UHealth?

A top-rated neurology team. We specialize in headaches, so you know you are getting neurologists with specific experience. When you meet with our specialists, they obtain an accurate diagnosis and develop a headache care plan that emphasizes prevention, risk reduction, safety, and return to well-being. Consultation and referral services are enriched with patient education and interdisciplinary referrals, when appropriate.

Specialized headache services. Did you know that 30 percent of people who are sent to specialized centers for difficult seizures find out they were misdiagnosed?  An inaccurate epilepsy diagnosis could mean years of costly and unnecessary medications. The expert physicians at our state-of-the-art International Comprehensive Epilepsy Center (ICEC) provide you with a comprehensive medical evaluation, so you get the right diagnosis and the right treatment the first time you are evaluated.

High case volume. Our neurologists are experienced and knowledgeable. The number of patients our department has cared for is impressive; as an example, there are about 2,500 patients with movement disorders, 2000 patients with multiple sclerosis, 1000 patients with cognitive impairment, 1500 with stroke and about 300 patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Neurocritical care. Our physicians are internationally trained and staff two intensive care units: a 24-bed unit located at Jackson Memorial Hospital and an 8-bed unit at UHealth Tower.

Surgical expertise. We see more than 14,000 patients each year and perform more than 4,000 surgeries. Our experienced neurosurgeons are consistently pioneering new treatments. From minimally invasive spine surgeries to awake craniotomies, we offer unique surgeries you cannot find anywhere else in the region to treat your injuries and conditions.

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