Symptoms Of Neuropathy
Neuropathy can have many different symptoms, depending on which group of nerves are involved (motor, sensory, or autonomic).
Symptoms that commonly result from this include:
- Burning Sensation
- Numbness or Tingling
- Dull, Aching, Throbbing Pain
- Sharp, stabbing or Stinging Pain
- Loss of Balance
- Muscle Weakness
- Muscle Cramps
- Extreme Sensitivity
Peripheral neuropathy usually starts with numbness, prickling, or tingling in the toes or fingers. It might spread up the feet to the legs, or it might affect the hands with gradual damage spanning up the arms. Damage can cause burning, freezing, throbbing, or shooting pain that is often worse at night.
The pain can be either constant or periodic, but usually the pain is felt equally on both sides of the body—in both hands or in both feet. Some types of peripheral neuropathy develop suddenly, while others progress more slowly over many years.
Often, people suffering from peripheral neuropathy will lose their balance and coordination because of the loss of specialized receptors located on nerve endings found in muscles, tendons, joints, and the inner ear. These receptors are called proprioceptors, but to keep it simple, we will simply refer to them as receptors. The job of these receptors is to relay information about our motion or position. It allows us to control our limbs without directly looking at them. For example, you can walk in a straight line without looking down at your feet, and you can touch your nose with your finger while your eyes are closed. These same receptors are partly responsible for our balance and coordination. One of the most common complaints I hear from patients suffering from neuropathy is that they feel unstable, and they tend to fall. This is very frustrating and embarrassing for them—not to mention dangerous.
Falls are the leading cause of death among the elderly. Eighty-seven percent of all fractures in the elderly are due to falls. One out of five seniors will die within five years following a hip fracture. A loss of balance is major risk factor leading to falls for neuropathy sufferers.