When nerves are damaged, a person may develop peripheral neuropathy. This simply means that the nerves that carry information to and from the brain are damaged and unable to carry the signals correctly. Single nerves that are damaged or groups of nerves that suffer damage can cause peripheral neuropathy.
Interestingly, neuropathy is very common. It can happen due to natural causes like infections, metabolic disease, low levels of certain vitamins, bone marrow disorders, tumors and poor blood flow to the legs. Neuropathy can also be caused by outside sources like being exposed to the cold for a long period of time or being involved in trauma, like a car crash.
What are the symptoms of neuropathy?
The symptoms you'll suffer may not be the same as others. Pain varies based on the nerve that was injured as well as if the damage extends to two or more nerves. Some common symptoms of nerve injuries include:
- Muscle problems, such as weakness or a loss of balance
- Problems with body organs, such as trouble digesting your food or having heartburn when you've eaten only a small amount
- Pain, such as burning or tingling
- A loss of feeling
There are a few tests that can be used to determine if neuropathy is present. These include:
- Nerve biopsies
- Nerve conduction studies
Sometimes, nerve damage is able to be treated. Other times, it may cause persistent pain or frustration. This is something to discuss with your doctors and to bring up if you plan to make an insurance claim for injuries that led to neuropathy.