Neuropathy develops when your nerves don’t work properly, causing pain, unpleasant sensations, and weakness. Kevin McCowan, MD, and Carisa Hines, MD, at Buckhead Injury Wellness Institute in Atlanta, Georgia, are experienced pain management specialists who diagnose and treat many painful neuropathic conditions. Call the office today or schedule a consultation online to learn what’s causing your neuropathy symptoms and how to treat it.
Neuropathy is nerve damage or dysfunction. Your nerves send sensory information to your brain using electrical and chemical signals. They also receive instructions from your brain that they pass on to your tissues. These messages ensure that your organs function and you can move your muscles. Some nerve functions are within your control; others happen automatically.
Nerves are rooted in your spinal cord; from there, they spread to almost all parts of your body. The brain and spinal cord form your central nervous system (CNS). Peripheral nerves are the ones that spread throughout your body; neuropathy affects these nerves.
Neuropathy causes pain that can be sharp, stabbing, or like an electric shock. The pain often extends along the affected nerve’s path — for example, a damaged median nerve in your wrist can cause pain that spreads to your shoulder.
Neuropathy commonly causes other unpleasant symptoms, including:
These symptoms also follow the nerve’s path.
Neuropathy has many causes. You might develop it after a severe illness or because of treatments like chemotherapy for cancer. Nutrient deficiencies, poisoning, alcohol misuse, repetitive stress, and physical trauma can also trigger a nerve malfunction.
Specific conditions that cause neuropathy include:
Diabetic neuropathy is particularly common, affecting the legs and feet of people with diabetes. It causes numbness that, combined with poor blood circulation, encourages infections and diabetic ulcers (open sores that won’t heal).
Your Buckhead Injury Wellness Institute doctor determines your neuropathy’s cause by completing a physical exam, medical history and symptom review, and relevant tests. These might include nerve blocks (targeted local anesthetic injections), nerve conduction velocity (NCV) tests, and an electromyogram (EMG) to assess how well your nerves work.
Many people have idiopathic neuropathy, where the cause is unknown. Regardless of why you have neuropathy, the symptoms are genuine and distressing.
Neuropathy treatment varies depending on your condition’s cause but can include:
For most people, these treatments effectively relieve neuropathy symptoms. Some conditions improve, while others are permanent, requiring ongoing pain management.
Call Buckhead Injury Wellness Institute today or book an appointment online for expert neuropathy care.