Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that develops as a result of damage to the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. When many nerves are affected, it’s called polyneuropathy.
Neuropathies can be caused by numerous underlying conditions, including:
- Autoimmune diseases
- Inherited disorders
- Medications, especially chemotherapy
- Metabolic problems
- Toxin exposure
- Vitamin deficiency
Symptoms of neuropathy vary depending upon the nerves affected, but typically include numbness, weakness, and pain. In many cases, symptoms can improve with rehabilitation.
Symptoms may include:
- Motor nerve damage – muscle weakness or pain, lack of coordination, falling, uncontrollable muscle twitching, decreased reflexes
- Sensory nerve damage – tingling or numbness in hands and feet, pain that’s sharp, throbbing or burning, extreme sensitivity to touch
- Autonomic nerve damage – heat intolerance, inability to sweat normally, bowel or bladder problems, changes in heart rate or blood pressure
Treatments for neuropathy can include medications, topical treatments, and therapies. In particular, physical and occupational therapy can help reduce symptoms.
At our hospital, patients and their families meet with the physician-led, interdisciplinary team to set goals and create comprehensive, individualized treatment plans.
Treatments are used to:
- Regain muscle strength
- Increase flexibility
- Aid in balance and coordination
- Reduce muscle pain, throbbing, burning, or twitching
- Prevent muscle cramping and spasms
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