Acute and Sub-acute Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy, in its most common form, causes pain and numbness in your hands and feet. The pain typically is described as tingling or burning, while the loss of sensation often is compared to the feeling of wearing a thin stocking or glove.  
Peripheral neuropathy can result from such problems as traumatic injuries, infections, metabolic problems and exposure to toxins. One of the most common causes of the disorder is diabetes.  
In many cases, peripheral neuropathy symptoms improve with time — especially if it's caused by an underlying condition that can be resolved. Medications initially designed to treat other conditions, such as epilepsy and depression, are often used to reduce the painful symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.   
Your nervous system is divided into two broad categories. Your central nervous system consists of your brain and spinal cord. All the other nerves in your body are part of your peripheral nervous system, which includes:
  • Sensory nerves to receive feelings such as heat, pain or touch
  • Motor nerves that control how your muscles move
  • Autonomic nerves that control such automatic functions as blood pressure, heart rate, digestion and bladder function 
Most commonly, peripheral neuropathy begins in the longest nerves — the ones that reach to your toes. Specific symptoms vary, depending on which types of nerves are affected. Signs and symptoms may include:
  • Gradual onset of numbness and tingling in your feet or hands, which may spread upwards into your legs and arms
  • Burning pain
  • Sharp, jabbing or electric-like pain
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch, even light touch
  • Lack of coordination
  • Muscle weakness or paralysis if motor nerves are affected
  • Bowel or bladder problems if autonomic nerves are affected

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Acute and Sub Acute Peripheral Neuropathy