Neuropathy (nr.aa.puh.thee) is a medical term for when the peripheral nerves in your body are sending abnormal signals to you brain.
Neuropathy occurs when often very fragile nerves are injured by trauma, drugs, toxins, critical illness and even our own body’s immune system. The injury can be temporary or permanent.
Neuropathy causes the sensation in your skin, joints, muscles, feet, hands and other parts of your body to alter out of balance.
Diabetes is the most common cause of damage to nerves. Spinal arthritis, genetics and cancer therapy can also cause neuropathy.
How does neuropathy affect function?
Symptoms of numbness and tingling can be distracting, uncomfortable and or very painful. These neurological symptoms can be most disturbing at night and affect our sleep.
Women often can have a form of neuropathy where the legs get uncomfortable and feel “restless” because moving them decreases discomfort. This is called restless legs syndrome, or RLS. RLS is particularly common during pregnancy.
Also, women are often at risk for anemia, or having a low hemoglobin count from a long-term loss of blood and the iron that makes up hemoglobin. Anemia from iron deficiency is associated with neuropathy.
What can I do about neuropathy?
Certain types of aerobic exercise and complimentary medicine techniques can help to reduce the unpleasant or painful sensations in the arms, legs and feet from nerve injury.
Doctors can help investigate other causes of neuropathy such as neurological and immune system conditions and spine arthritis.
Often, people with neuropathy can not find help for their symptoms, especially painful neuropathy. Learn more about tools to help manage your neuropathy with Your Brain Doctor.