Your peripheral nervous system consists of the nerves that branch out from your brain and spinal cord that make up your central nervous system.
The best way to think of your peripheral system is to imagine your central nervous system as the main highway.
In that case, your peripheral nervous system would be all the secondary roads that lead to the man highway.
This allows electrical impulses to travel to and from the furthest regions, or the periphery, of your body.
In the article below, we will look at the three types of peripheral nerves and peripheral neuropathy. And how neuropathy can be treated at Ethos Health Group.
What Is the Peripheral Nervous System?
Simply put, your peripheral nervous system contains all of the nerves that lie outside of your central nervous system.
The primary role of your peripheral nervous system is to connect the central nervous to your organs, limbs, and skin.
The peripheral nerves extend from your central nervous system to the outermost areas of the body.
Your peripheral nervous system allows for communication between your brain and spinal cord to other areas of the body, which allows you to react to stimuli in your environment.
The nerves in your peripheral nervous system are axons or bundles of axons from nerve cells or neurons.
These nerves can be very small, but some of the nerve bundles are large enough to be seen by the human eye.
Three Types Of Peripheral Nerves
There are three types of peripheral nerves in the peripheral nervous system.
They are your motor nerves, sensory nerves, and atomic nerves.
If you have peripheral neuropathy that we will discuss later, that could affect all three types of peripheral nerves, or just one or two.
Motor Nerves: Your motor nerves send impulses from the brain and spinal cord to all of the muscles in your body. This allows you to do things like, walk, catch a football, or pick something up. If you have motor nerve damage, it could lead to muscle weakness, cramps, and spasms.
Sensory Nerves: Your sensory nerves send messages the opposite way – from your muscles back to your brain ad spinal cord. Special sensors in your skin and deep inside of your body helps your body tell whether an object is sharp, rough, or smooth or if something is hot or cold. Damage to your sensory nerves can result in tingling, numbness, pain, and sensitivity to touch.
Autonomic Nerves: Your autonomic nerves control involuntary or semi-voluntary functions like your heart rate, blood pressure, sweating, and digestion. If your autonomic nerves are damaged, your heart rate might be faster or slower than normal, and your blood pressure might be abnormal. Damage may also result in difficulty swallowing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, problems urinating, and sexual dysfunction.
What Is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy results from damage to the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord, also known as your peripheral nerves.
Peripheral neuropathy can cause weakness, numbness, and pain, typically in your hands and feet, but it can also affect other areas of your body.
As we discussed above, your peripheral nervous system sends information from your brain and spinal cord to the rest of your body.
Your peripheral nerves also send sensory information to your central nervous system.
Peripheral neuropathy can be the result of peripheral nerve injuries and other traumatic injuries, infections, inherited causes, metabolic problems, and exposure to toxins.
A common type of neuropathy is diabetic neuropathy.
More often than not, the symptoms of neuropathy can improve if they are caused by a treatable condition, and you get the medical care you need.
There are more than 100 different types of neuropathy, and each type has unique symptoms and treatment options.
Peripheral neuropathies can be further classified by the type of nerve damage that they cause.
Mononeuropathy is when only one nerve is damaged, while polyneuropathies that are much more common involve multiple damaged nerves.
Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy
There are several different symptoms of peripheral neuropathy that can include:
- a tingling sensation in the hands or feet
- feeling like you’re wearing a tight glove or sock
- sharp, stabbing pains
- numbness in the hands or feet
- problems with digestion
- excessive sweating
- weak, heavy feelings in the arms and legs
- feeling like your legs or arms are locked in place
- regularly dropping things
- a buzzing or shocking sensation
- thinning of the skin
- lowered blood pressure
- sexual dysfunction, especially in men
Any of these symptoms could be signs of other conditions, so make sure you tell your doctor about all of your symptoms.
Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy
Although we mentioned that diabetic neuropathy is the most common form of peripheral neuropathy, it can be caused by several health conditions.
And if an underlying condition causes your neuropathy, that condition should be treated as soon as possible.
Health conditions that can cause neuropathy include:
- Autoimmune Diseases: Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, lupus, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and vasculitis could all cause neuropathy.
- Diabetes: Over half of people with diabetes develop some type of neuropathy and deal with diabetic nerve pain.
- Infections: Infections like certain viral or bacterial infections, including shingles, Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis B and C, leprosy, diphtheria, and HIV, can cause peripheral neuropathy
- Inherited disorders: Inherited Disorders such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease are hereditary types of neuropathy. Check your family history if you think you have any of these disorders.
- Tumors: Tumors, both cancerous and noncancerous, can develop on or press nerves. Polyneuropathy can occur as a result of some cancers related to the body’s immune response.
- Bone marrow disorders: Bone marrow disorders, including an abnormal protein in the blood, a form of bone cancer, lymphoma, and the rare disease amyloidosis, can all cause peripheral neuropathy.
- Other diseases: Diseases like kidney disease, liver disease, connective tissue disorders, and an underactive thyroid can also cause neuropathy.
- Alcoholism: Alcoholism and the poor dietary choices that go along with it can lead to vitamin deficiencies and neuropathy.
- Exposure to toxic substances: Toxic substances like industrial chemicals and heavy metals such as lead and mercury could cause neuropathy after prolonged exposure.
- Medications: Some medications like those used to treat cancer can cause peripheral neuropathy.
- Trauma or pressure on the nerves: Things like motor vehicle accidents, falls, or sports injuries can damage peripheral nerves. Compression of nerves resulting from having a cast or using crutches can also cause neuropathy.
- Vitamin deficiencies: Deficiencies in certain vitamins, like B-1, B-6, and B-12, vitamin E, and niacin are crucial to nerve health, and a deficiency can cause neuropathy.
There are countless causes of neuropathy, but sometimes, no cause can be identified. This is known as idiopathic.
Should You See A Doctor For Peripheral Neuropathy?
It would be best if you seek medical care right away if you notice any of the symptoms of neuropathy listed above, like unusual tingling, weakness, or pain in your hands or feet.
Getting diagnosed early and receiving treatment right away gives you the best chance to control your symptoms and prevent further peripheral nerve damage.
At Ethos Health Group, we will perform a series of non-invasive tests to determine how much damage has been done and what treatment options exist for you.
These tests will show us if your peripheral neuropathy benefits from our treatment programs.
The programs at Ethos Health Group consist of cutting-edge, non-invasive therapies designed to stimulate new blood vessel growth and reverse nerve damage in the feet or hands.
We can also utilize our NeuroRegen-CT injections, which combine platelet-rich plasma (PRP) with platelet-derived growth factors from your own blood.
These natural regenerative procedures help support blood vessel and nerve growth to reverse damage from peripheral neuropathy safely.
If you’re ready to find relief from your neuropathy, you should contact Ethos Health Group as soon as possible.
Click the button below to schedule your free consultation.