Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that causes numbness, tingling, pain, weakness, and other aggravating sensations in the hands and feet, according to Mayoclinic.com. Peripheral neuropathy occurs because of nerve damage, whether it be from systemic diseases, injuries, vitamin level abnormalities, infections or exposure to toxins. While these risk factors may cause peripheral neuropathy, diabetes is the most common cause. Treatment requires a thorough assessment of the patient's risk factors so the proper treatment plan can be constructed.
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Treatment of Underlying Disease
According to MedlinePlus, treatment of the underlying disease which is causing peripheral neuropathy should be the first step in the treatment plan. Treatment of diseases such as diabetes, Guillain-Barre syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcarcoidosis, or other underlying diseases will prevent further nerve damage and in some cases heal damaged nerves. If a patient is unaware of underlying diseases that are causing peripheral neuropathy, he should be sure to let his doctor know of other abnormal symptoms he is experiencing.
In this case, a physician may run blood tests, or perform other diagnostic tests, to determine if an underlying disease is causing peripheral neuropathy. If a test becomes positive, then the physician will treat the underlying disease to relieve the peripheral neuropathy symptoms.
According to MayoClinic.com, peripheral neuropathy can be treated with different medications. The first type of medication used to treat mild symptoms include over-the-counter pain medications. In more severe cases, the doctor may prescribe opiates, or other narcotic medications. Other options include anti-seizure medications which may also help treat peripheral neuropathy symptoms. Although effective, physicians do not know how these medications help with nerve symptoms. In addition to pain relievers and anti-seizure medications, a doctor may prescribe a lidacaine patch or anti-depressants to relieve symptoms. Therefore, patients should thoroughly discuss treatment options with a physician before proceeding.
Physical therapy may be beneficial in treating symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. A physical therapist will teach a patient exercises and use specific modalities to help improve symptoms, increase muscle strength and improve control. In addition, a physical therapist may recommend specific braces or splints that can improve mobility and the ability to use the affected leg, according to MedLine Plus. Therefore, a patient should be sure to attend all physical therapy sessions in order to gain the maximum benefit for peripheral neuropathy.