Neuropathy, often known as peripheral neuropathy, involves damage or dysfunction of the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system sends information from your brain and spinal cord, which makes up the central nervous system. It also transmits sensory information to the central nervous system. Peripheral neuropathy can result from traumatic injuries, systemic illness, infection, hormonal imbalance, medications, and vitamin deficiencies. Although some of these peripheral conditions are not curable, general neurology Oxnard helps manage symptoms and prevent further nerve damage.
The neuropathy symptoms you will experience depend on the type of nerves damaged.
Sensory nerves carry information about pain, temperature, pressure, and body position. If neuropathy affects your sensory nerves, you will have pain, tingling, burning, and numbness. When neuropathy attacks vestibular nerves that relay sensory information that controls balance, you can develop vertigo and dizziness.
Motor nerves deliver information from the brain to the muscles. When neuropathy damages motor nerves, you will experience muscle-based symptoms like cramps, weakness, and muscle loss.
Autonomic nerves control vital functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and breathing. Therefore, the damage to these nerves can lead to abnormal heart rate, nausea, profuse sweating, and changes in body temperature.
History and physical exam: Your doctor will ask about the symptoms you are experiencing, any medications you may be taking or used in the past, exposure to toxic substances, and any history of trauma. Your doctors can also get to know your regular activities like any repetitive motion, family history of neurological diseases, diet, and alcohol use.
Neurological exam: During this examination, your specialist will observe your reflexes, coordination and balance, muscle strength and tone, and ability to feel sensations.
Blood tests: Your doctor recommends blood tests to check vitamin and mineral imbalances, electrolyte imbalances, thyroid problems, toxic substances, or autoimmune diseases.
Imaging tests: Magnetic resonance imaging helps detect tumors, pinched nerves, and nerve compression.
Genetic testing: A genetic test is recommended if your doctor suspects a genetic problem is causing your neuropathy.
Nerve conduction study (NCS): This electrodiagnostic assessment helps find the location and degree of nerve damage. During the NCS test, your specialist takes small patches called electrodes and places them on your skin over nerves and muscles on different parts of your body. A brief pulse of electricity is applied to the patch over a nerve to be studied. NCS measures the size of the response and how quickly the nerve is carrying the electrical signal. Doctors can examine sensory and motor nerves through this test.
Needle electromyography (EMG): An EMG determines the health of your muscles and any disconnection between the nerve and the muscle by measuring the electrical activity within the muscle while it is in use.
Tissue biopsies: In some cases, a nerve, muscle, or skin biopsy is needed to confirm a diagnosis. Your doctor will take a small sample of your tissue and observe it under a microscope.
Your doctor can treat your neuropathy through medications, physical therapy, surgery, or mechanical aids. Ensure you avoid smoking, take healthy diets, and exercise to help improve your symptoms. Schedule an appointment at Neuroscience Institute for neuropathy treatment to prevent progressive nerve damage.