Peripheral neuropathy refers to the various conditions that involve further damage to the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system is part of the nervous system and comprises all the nerves that lie outside the spinal cord and the brain. These peripheral nerves bring various information and stimuli from different body parts to the brain and back to the organ through the brain’s commands.
Health experts describe peripheral nerves as cables connecting the different parts of the body to the brain. The peripheral nervous system is comprised of two subsystems, namely, autonomic and somatic. The autonomic refers to the process that is automatic and done even without thinking. Meanwhile, the somatic are functions that the individual manages by thinking about them.
Nerve signals become disrupted in any of the following ways: loss of signals, inappropriate signaling, and errors that distort the messages being sent to the recipients. When any of these things happen, problems arise. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy problems can be described as mild to debilitating but are rarely life-threatening enough. The symptoms typically depend on which nerves were damaged and how severe the damage was. Symptoms develop and manifest over a matter of days, weeks, and even years.
Here are some symptoms people need to know about peripheral neuropathy.
Paresthesia is a condition wherein the person feels the sensation of pins and needles prickling their skin. Typically, the sensation is felt in the hands, legs, arms, and feet, but it can also occur in other body parts. The sensation happens without warning and is painless but discomforting for some. However, it does make the skin crawl and feel numb.
Everyone’s susceptible to the condition, especially if people sleep with an arm crooked under their head or if they sit cross-legged too long. The condition happens when sustained pressure is placed on the nerves at a particular point, and there’s a shift in the position. Then, the feeling goes away quickly.
However, chronic paresthesia also exists. It causes a stabbing pain that may cause clumsiness in the affected limb. It is also a symptom of an underlying neurological disease or nerve damage. Typically, chronic paresthesia is due to damage to the central nervous system, such as stroke, transient ischemic attacks or mini-strokes, encephalitis, transverse myelitis, and multiple sclerosis. In addition, a tumor pressing on a nerve can also cause paresthesia.
Treating paresthesia depends on the underlying cause of the condition. Health experts can recommend different procedures to ensure that people with paresthesia will become comfortable afterward.