Understanding Peripheral Neuropathy

Person Touching Hand Min

Peripheral neuropathy (PN) is a condition that affects the nerves of the body, which in turn results in a variety of symptoms, including pain, changes in sensation, and alterations in muscle activity, which may also affect your balance. Peripheral neuropathy is classified by the symptoms that they cause or cause of the nerve damage. Depending on the classifications, the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy can range significantly and can include sensory, motor, or autonomic issues.

Types of Peripheral Neuropathy

Mononeuropathy: This condition only affects one nerve. It is often the result of the compression of a nerve, which can create an onset of symptoms. Carpal tunnel syndrome would be an example of a mononeuropathy, in which the compression of the median nerve results in altered sensation, pain, and weakness of the hand.

Polyneuropathy: This condition affects two or more nerves, and is generally a result of a disease process that affects the entire body. This type of PN can result in an individual experiencing symptoms in various body parts and on both sides of the body.

Neuritis: This condition results from inflammation of a nerve. There are many causes of this type of PN, including infection, injury, or exposure to chemicals.

Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy

The nerves in your body have influence over three primary functions, all of which can be altered by peripheral neuropathy, and cause balance deficits placing an individual at greater risk for falls and potentially further injury.

  1. Sensation.
  2. Motor function (movement).
  3. Autonomic (nervous system) function.

Depending on the type of nerves involved, people with PN may experience;

  • Numbness and tingling.
  • Loss of sensation.
  • Weakness in the muscles or parts of the body.
  • Decreased balance.
  • Decreased ability to participate in normal functional activities.

Treatments for Peripheral Neuropathy

Physical therapists are vital in helping individuals improve and maintain functions that may be limited by PN. Your physical therapist will work with you to create a customized treatment plan for you, to help address your specific goals and needs. The cause, type, and symptoms of PN can all vary, which is why the approach to care will also vary. Your physical therapist will provide the appropriate recommendations and care that you need.

If you suffer from any of these symptoms or are looking for more information, Atlantic Physical Therapy can help! Their highly qualified physical therapists can conduct an evaluation of your symptoms and match you with the treatment that you need. Contact the experts at Atlantic Physical Therapy to schedule an appointment.