Peripheral neuropathy affects an estimated 20 million adults in the United States and causes a variety of symptoms ranging from numbness to muscle weakness to chronic pins-and-needles sensations. Pain expert Dr. C. Weston Whitten at the Nebraska Pain Institute in Lincoln, Nebraska, offers pain relief to his patients experiencing these symptoms. For more information about treatment options, call the office or book an appointment online.
Peripheral neuropathy is damage to your peripheral nervous system, which includes the nerves that transmit messages from your extremities and other parts of your body to your spinal cord and brain. When the nerves are damaged, the messages may not get sent or may get mixed up. This not only affects feelings and sensations, but also muscle movement.
Neuropathy can affect one or several nerves. Dr. Whitten may recommend electrodiagnostic testing to determine the number of nerves involved in your neuropathy to help target your treatment.
Symptoms vary depending on which nerves were damaged.
Common symptoms that might indicate neuropathy include:
A number of things may contribute to neuropathy, but the most common cause is some type of trauma or injury. Repetitive stress may lead to neuropathy, and it may also stem from a number of diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, autoimmune diseases, or infections.
Alcohol, drug abuse, or medication toxicity may also damage your nerves and lead to neuropathy. Sometimes peripheral neuropathy stems from a genetic condition, and oftentimes a cause can’t be pinpointed.
The first step in managing neuropathy is treating the underlying cause. For example, if your high blood sugar from diabetes is damaging your nerves, you may need to make adjustments to your medication and diet.
Pain is a common symptom of neuropathy that Dr. Whitten can help you manage. If over-the-counter pain relievers aren’t working, he may recommend:
Antidepressants and anticonvulsants are effective at treating neuropathic pain for many patients and work by acting directly on the pain-signaling pathways to reduce pain.
Dr. Whitten may also recommend a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit to help you manage chronic pain caused by neuropathy. He places electrodes from the unit on your skin at the site of your pain, and they send tiny pulses of electricity at varying frequencies to improve your symptoms.
If you’re experiencing pain resulting from peripheral neuropathy, call the office or use the online booking tool to make an appointment.