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Neuropathy or Peripheral Neuropathy

This a condition results from damage to nerves of the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system supplies nerves to the face, chest, abdomen, upper and lower extremities. Individuals may have neuropathy specific to one nerve or may have a more generalized complaint affecting multiple extremities. This nerve damage maybe sudden and rapidly progressive or chronic and slowly progressive depending on the inciting toxin.

Common symptom of neuropathy

• Nerve pain that maybe described as a stinging or burning sensation.
• Pins and needles
• Tingling or itching
• Numbness
• Cramping
• Weakness
• Walking difficulty
• Recurrent falls

Common Causes of neuropathy:

• Diabetes
• Chronic alcohol use
• Vitamin deficiency such as B1, B12 or B6
• Trauma resulting in direct nerve injury
• Nerve compression exiting the spine
• After Chemotherapy
• Hereditary such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
• Auto-immune such as Guillain-Barre Syndrome and Chronic inflammatory Demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP)

Goal of Physical therapy for neuropathy: This is individualized and focused on the patient’s presenting symptoms.

• Improve range of motion and minimize spasticity
• Improve strength
• Gait training
• Preventing falls
• Use of assistive devices to help with pain and walking
• Improve pain
• Patient education on causes.