What is peripheral neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy is a term for a group of conditions in which the peripheral nervous system is damaged. Your peripheral nerves link your brain and spinal cord to the other parts of your body, such as your muscles and skin.
Some of the common causes of peripheral neuropathy are diabetes, certain infections and hereditary conditions such as Charcot Marie Tooth disease. Sometimes the cause is unknown.
Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy
Depending on the cause of the peripheral neuropathy, symptoms may develop slowly or quickly.
The specific symptoms of peripheral neuropathy vary according to the type of peripheral neuropathy you have. These are the three main types and their common symptoms:
Sensory neuropathy: prickling and tingling sensations, reduced or increased pain and temperature sensation, burning or sharp pains, loss of balance or co-ordination.
Autonomic neuropathy: constipation or diarrhoea, low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, excessive sweating or a lack of sweating, problems with sexual function, problems swallowing.
Motor neuropathy: twitching and muscle cramps, muscle weakness or paralysis, thinning (wasting) of muscles, foot drop (difficulty lifting up the front part of your foot and toes, particularly noticeable when walking).
It is common to have more than one of these types of neuropathy at the same time.
Treatment of peripheral neuropathy
Treatment for peripheral neuropathy depends on the underlying cause and the type of symptoms you are experiencing.
Physiotherapy can be helpful in motor neuropathy, particularly for the treatment of muscle weakness and reduced balance. Following a detailed assessment, your physiotherapist will set specific goals with you and plan a programme of treatment which may involve: hands on treatment and stretches, specific exercises, suggestions of equipment, walking aids or splints, practical problem solving and advice to improve day-to-day situations.
How can Neurocare Physiotherapy help me?
At Neurocare, we are all highly specialised in treating neurological conditions, so you can be confident that your physiotherapist will have the necessary experience to provide you with the specialist level of treatment which you deserve.