Peripheral Neuropathy - Treated by Experienced Neurosurgeons at Mercy


Peripheral neuropathy is condition in which the peripheral nerves don't work properly as a result of disease or damage.

Experienced neurosurgeons of The Minimally Invasive Brain and Spine Center at Mercy in Baltimore, Maryland, are committed to treating a wide spectrum of neurological disorders, including peripheral neuropathy. 

About the Condition

Peripheral neuropathy is damage to the peripheral nervous system, or the message network that sends information from the brain and spinal cord (the central nervous system) to and from other parts of the body. Peripheral neuropathy may affect one nerve (mononeuropathy), two or more nerves in different locations (multiple neuropathy) or many nerves (polyneuropathy).  It is not a disease, but a symptom with many possible causes. 

Peripheral neuropathy can be caused by exposure to toxins, traumatic injuries, infections, poor nutrition and medications. The most familiar cause is diabetes

NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Peripheral neuropathy includes signs and symptoms such as weakness, numbness and pain in the hands and feet, but can occur in other areas of the body. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are typically first found in the nerves of the toes. Symptoms differ depending on the affected nerves. Symptoms include:

  • Tingling in the feet and hands that may spread to the legs and arms
  • Burning pain
  • Sharp pains
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Changes in the skin, hair and nails
  • Disruption in coordination
  • Paralysis
  • Bowel, bladder and digestive problems
  • Noticeable changes in blood pressure that cause dizziness

Peripheral neuropathy is not easy to diagnose. To determine where the nerve damage is located and what the cause is, your doctor will take a full medical history, neurological exam and physical exam. The doctor will also order tests that may include:

  • Blood tests
  • CT
  • EMG
  • Lumbar puncture
  • MRI
  • Nerve conduction studies
  • Skin biopsy
NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

If the cause of the peripheral neuropathy is determined, the objective is to treat the cause. Other treatment options include lessening the symptoms:

  • Pain relievers
  • Anti-seizure medications
  • Immunosuppressive medications
  • Capsaicin
  • Lidocaine patch
  • Antidepressants

Lifestyle changes can also help with peripheral neuropathy. Some examples include: exercise, no smoking, healthy diet, no alcohol, and not crossing knees or leaning on elbows for a long period, as it may cause nerve damage. If diabetes is the cause, suggestions include monitoring sugar/glucose levels, massaging hands and feet and taking care of your feet.