Peripheral Neuropathy

What is it: Peripheral neuropathy is pain in the nerves of the arms or legs. It most commonly affects the legs.

Important Facts: Polyneuropathy accounts for the greatest number of peripheral neuropathy cases. It occurs when many peripheral nerves throughout the body malfunction at the same time. Polyneuropathy can have a wide variety of causes, including exposure to certain toxins, poor nutrition (particularly vitamin B deficiency), and complications from diseases such as cancer or kidney failure.

One of the most common forms of chronic polyneuropathy is diabetic neuropathy, a condition that occurs in people with diabetes. It is the result of poorly controlled blood sugar levels.

Statistics: As a group, peripheral neuropathies are common, especially among people over the age of 55. All together, the conditions affect 3% to 4% of people in this group.

Treatment Duration: The approach to treatment is to find the cause of the discomfort. It might simply require a firmer mattress at night. It might improve with some physical rehabilitation exercise as guided by a physical therapist or chiropractor.

Common Myths: Isn’t neuropathy only found in people with diabetes? No. While neuropathy is common in diabetic patients and is popularly associated with diabetes, neuropathy affects chemotherapy recipients, those suffering from injuries or illness, people who have lost limbs, even sufferers of common minor ailments such as carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). If you feel pain, even if you’re not diabetic, neuropathy could be the cause.