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HERWriter Guide

Hello Anon

Thank you for writing!

You may have something called peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is damage to the peripheral nerves. These are the nerves that connect your spinal cord to the rest of your body.

Damage to the peripheral nerves often results in sensory (feeling) and motor (strength) symptoms in the:

Other parts of the body can also be affected. Symptoms depend on which nerves are involved. They can range from mild to severe and may seem worse at night. Sensations and pain may occur in the upper or lower limbs and move toward the trunk (eg, from the feet to the calves).

Symptoms include:

Numbness or reduced sensation
Pain, often a burning or sharp, cutting sensation
Sensitivity to touch
Muscle twitches
Muscle weakness
Muscle cramping
Difficulty with walking
Loss of coordination or balance
If untreated, peripheral neuropathy can lead to:

Loss of reflexes and muscle control
Muscle atrophy (loss of muscle bulk)
Foot deformities
Foot ulcers
Injuries to the feet that go unnoticed and become infected
Autonomic dysfunction (sweating, bowel and bladder dysfunction, cardiovascular effects)
Difficulty breathing

Anon, please speak to your doctor about your hands. Treatment is required.

Treatment may include:

Treatment for the Underlying Illness or Exposure
Treating the underlying illness can decrease or eliminate symptoms. For instance, if it is caused by diabetes, controlling blood sugar levels may help. In some cases, neuropathy caused by medications or toxins is completely reversed when these substances are stopped or avoided. Correction of vitamin B12 deficiency often improves symptoms.

Physical Therapy
Certain exercises may help stretch shortened or contracted muscles and increase joint flexibility. In long-standing cases, splinting the joint may be required to protect and rest it, while maintaining proper alignment.

Orthotics (supports and braces) may help with:

Balance issues
Muscle weakness
Maintaining physical activity is also key.

Prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) pain medicines are often used to ease discomfort.

Drugs to treat depression and prevent convulsions sometimes relieve neuropathy symptoms. These medicines are often given at lower dosages. Commonly used antidepressants include:

Amitriptyline (Elavil)
Nortriptyline (Pamelor)
Desipramine (Norpramin)
Imipramine (Tofranil)
Duloxetine (Cymbalta)


July 16, 2018 - 8:02am


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