SYMPTOMS OF PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY
Some patients describe what are classified as “negative” symptoms. These include sensations such as decreased sensitivity, numbness, tingling, or feeling like their hands or feet are dead or asleep. Balance can also become impaired. If the condition is allowed to progress, reduced sensation can become dangerous because of increased risk for falls and resultant injuries.
Other patients experience what, strangely enough, are categorized as “positive” symptoms. Positive symptoms include sensations like aching pain, burning, electrical sensations, pressure or squeezing, throbbing, freezing, stabbing or feeling like their socks are balled up underneath their toes. Some patients suffer from both “negative” and “positive” symptoms simultaneously, which is just as unbearable as it sounds! Some will experience signs indicating impairment of their autonomic nervous system, such as discoloration and temperature changes in their hands or feet. They may have a red, swollen appearance, and feel hot to touch. Others take on a cyanotic blue or purple hue, and are cold due to lack of circulation.
Each patient will experience a different combination of these symptoms, and as the condition progresses, they can become more severe and have a growing impact on the patient’s quality of life and family. Standing and walking can become limited and laborious. Ultimately, independent mobility may be threatened. Some neuropathy sufferers are forced to rely on walking aids, progressing from a cane to a walker, then ending up in a wheelchair. It’s important to begin treating neuropathy as soon as possible to assure nerve damage does not progress to the point that rehabilitation is no longer possible.
Thankfully, due to advances in neuroscience and technological breakthroughs, many neuropathy sufferers can now slow or stop the progression of their condition, and experience relief of pain and restoration of sensation balance, strength, and mobility. Now we’re able to help many neuropathy patients regain their lost quality of life.