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Neuropathy—also called peripheral neuropathy—is a group of disorders that occur when the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord (the peripheral nervous system) are damaged. Neuropathy usually causes pain in the hands and feet and is most commonly the result of damage to the nerve axons (also called fibers, the long projections of a nerve cell which conduct electrical impulses). Neuropathy can result from traumatic injuries, exposure to toxins, serious infections, or metabolic disorders.

Neuropathy can be classified in one of three categories:

  • Mononeuropathy: A single nerve is involved.
  • Multiple Mononeuropathy: Two or more nerves are affected, but individually.
  • Polyneuropathy: All peripheral nerves are generally involved in some way.

How Neuropathy Affects Different Nerves

The symptoms of neuropathy depend on the type of nerves affected as well as their location.

  • If damage has occurred to a motor nerve, symptoms may include muscle weakness, cramps, and spasms as well as the loss of balance and coordination. Patients may have trouble walking or running, and may easily get tired or fall.
  • If damage occurs in a sensory nerve, individuals may experience tingling, numbness, pinching, or pain. They may have difficulties determining their position. Neuropathy affecting sensory nerves can cause extreme pain or can lead to an absence of sensation.
  • Neuropathy affecting autonomic nerves can be extremely serious, as autonomic nerves control involuntary functions. Symptoms include abnormal blood pressure and heart rates, bowel and bladder dysfunction, sexual dysfunction, and the loss of the ability to sweat.

Neuropathy is a serious medical condition. It is treatable. Sometimes, damage can be reversed, but most people are left with symptoms for the rest of their lives. The condition can be treated in a variety of ways. Treatments range from surgical intervention to prescribed medications.

Radiculopathy: Neuropathy of the Spine

Radiculopathy is a type of neuropathy that occurs in the spine, chiefly affecting the nerve root (the portion of the nerve leaving the central nervous system). While radiculopathy starts along the spine, symptoms can radiate to the part of the body affected by that particular nerve, leading to additional symptoms. Radiculopathy is caused when nerves become inflamed, pinched, or stop working effectively, due to a lack of proper blood flow or excessive pressure from surrounding bones, muscle, cartilage, or tendons. Activities that place heavy or repetitive loads on the spine put individuals at risk of developing radiculopathy. The most common symptoms of radiculopathy are pain, numbness, and tingling in the arms or legs. Patients also frequently experience neck or back pain. If radiculopathy causes radiating pain down a lower extremity, it is also known as sciatica. While rare, some individuals may also develop oversensitivity to touch or muscle weakness.

Seeking Treatment for Radiculopathy

Radiculopathy can often be treated by non-invasive procedures such as prescription anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, or chiropractic care. With treatment and rest, people can see an improvement in symptoms as early as six weeks. However, if symptoms don't improve, epidural steroid injections can help by quickly reducing nerve inflammation and irritation. In some cases, patients may require surgical treatment.

Peripheral Neuropathy FAQ

How Does Neuropathy Affect Different Nerves?

There are, in general, three different kind of nerves: motor, sensory, and autonomic. Neuropathy of the motor nerves causes muscle weakness, lack of coordination, difficulty walking or running, and other mobility issues. Neuropathy of the sensory nerves causes pinching, tingling, or numbness. Neuropathy of the autonomic nerves are especially serious, as autonomic nerves control functions like breathing or heart rate. Damage to these nerves can result in digestive dysfunction, heightened or lowered blood pressure, and poor temperature management.

Can You Stop Neuropathy from Progressing?

Nerve damage results in poor or incomplete signals to the brain, which is what causes the various symptoms of neuropathy. Like physical injuries that result in permanent mobility problems, bad signals sent by damaged nerves will become the “norm” for the spinal cord, causing the spinal cord to send confusing signals on its own. To prevent this, early diagnosis and fast treatment is crucial. Peripheral nerves can heal to a limited degree, but treatment can only prevent further harm, not repair existing nerve damage.

What Causes Peripheral Neuropathy?

Accidents and physical injuries are the most common cause of nerve damage. Car accidents, falls, and medical malpractice can damage nerves in a myriad of ways. Even broken bones can crush or stretch neighboring nerves. Repetitive stress and work-related arthritis can also result in serious nerve damage. When neuropathy reduces a person’s quality of life or renders them unable to work, they have a right to hold those at fault for their injuries accountable for their losses.

Winning Compensation for Victims of Neuropathy

Neuropathy and its associated symptoms are often the results of traumatic impact or repetitive stress—which is why many workers in high-risk industries suffer from them. Years of accumulated injuries (or one severe injury) can subject victims to a lifetime of pain and impaired function. Employers and insurance companies ought to compensate for these injuries. When they refuse to do so voluntarily, you need an attorney to hold them accountable. Arnold & Itkin has obtained billions in compensation for the injured. If you have been diagnosed with neuropathy from negligence, an on-the-job accident, or exposure to toxic chemicals, you deserve the best lawyer.

Don't hesitate to contact a neuropathy injury attorney from Arnold & Itkin today for a free review of your case. We can help you get the answers and the necessary medical care you need. Call (888) 493-1629 now.

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