May continues to be a busy month for observances, including Neuropathy Awareness Month.
What is neuropathy?
Neuropathy, also known as peripheral neuropathy, is a result of nerve damage that can cause numbness and pain in your hands and feet. According to the Mayo Clinic, it can “result from problems such as traumatic injuries, infections, metabolic problems and exposure to toxins.” These problems/causes can include alcoholism, diabetes, infections, inherited disorders, trauma or pressure on the nerve(s), and vitamin deficiencies. Neuropathy can affect one or more types of nerves (sensory nerves, motor nerves, and/or autonomic nerves) and usually starts in the longest nerves (the ones that reach your toes). Some of the signs and symptoms of neuropathy include gradual onset of numbness and tingling in your hands or feet; burning pain; sharp, jabbing, or electric like pain; a lack of coordination; muscle weakness or paralysis; and/or bowel problems. See your doctor right away if you notice any unusual tingling, weakness, or pain in your hands or feet.
There are several goals in the treatment of neuropathy, including managing the condition causing the neuropathy and relieving the painful symptoms. There are many medications that can help manage the pain associated with peripheral neuropathy including pain relievers, anti-seizure medications, anti-depressants, or a lidocaine patch. Discuss with your doctor what the right medication is right for you and if you need one. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) may also help relieve symptoms. Also discuss this therapy with your doctor to determine if it is right for you.
To learn more about neuropathy and to find support groups in your area, please visit the following resources:
- The Mayo Clinic has a very informative section on peripheral neuropathy.
- The National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke also has an informative page along with links to organizations that may be of help to you.
- The Neuropathy Association has resources on how to join a support group in your area or even start your own group!
- The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy has great information and resources for the public, healthcare professionals, and patients.
Here are a few of the articles we found during our search in REHABDATA:
- Do diabetic neuropathy patients benefit from balance training? NARIC Accession Number: J63552.
- Coping with painful neuropathy. NARIC Accession Number: J59882
- Assessment of recovery from burn-related neuropathy by electro-diagnostic testing. NARIC Accession Number: J56730