What is peripheral neuropathy?


Quick Answer

Peripheral neuropathy is a medical condition that causes tingling, numbness and burning pain throughout the body, but primarily in the hands and feet. According to Mayo Clinic, peripheral neuropathy can be caused by a number of factors including traumatic injury, disease and exposure to toxic substances.

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What is peripheral neuropathy?
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Full Answer

Peripheral neuropathy is caused by damage to, or an inflammation of, the nerves of the peripheral nervous system, according to Mayo Clinic. These nerves extend from the spinal cord to points throughout the body. The body-wide extent of the peripheral nervous system means that neuropathy can cause symptoms at almost any location, but most victims report pain, tingling and reduced sensation in the hands and feet. Sometimes, the symptoms are described by patients as feeling like they are wearing stockings or gloves due to the reduced sensitivity to touch.

Peripheral neuropathy tends to get better over time, and this is especially true of cases with a definite cause, such as disease or exposure to toxins, that can be treated or managed. Doctors are also able to prescribe any of several medications to treat peripheral neuropathy, some of which focus on pain relief and others on the nerve damage itself or on relieving the underlying condition.

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