Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition where the nerves of the peripheral nervous systems are damaged caused by disease, trauma, or toxins. This damage will impair sensation, movement, gland, or organ function and affect other health aspects, depending on the type of nerve involved.


The peripheral nervous system's function is to send information to the rest of the body from the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). The four main types of peripheral neuropathy are:

  1. Sensory neuropathy (damage to the nerves that carry messages of touch, temperature, pain and other sensations to the brain)

  2. Motor neuropathy (damage to the nerves that control body movement)

  3. Autonomic neuropathy (damage to the nerves that control involuntary bodily processes, such as bladder function and digestion)

  4. Mononeuropathy (damage to a single nerve outside of the central nervous system)

More than one of these types of peripheral neuropathy can occur simultaneously.

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Symptoms & Causes of ​Peripheral Neuropathy

The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy vary according to the type of peripheral neuropathy.

  • Sensory Neuropathy

    • Tingling feeling at the affected body part

    • Numbness and lesser ability to feel pain or changes in temperature, usually in the feet

    • Sharp or burning pain, usually in the feet

    • Loss of balance or coordination

  • Motor Neuropathy

    • Cramps and twitching

    • Muscle weakness

    • Foot drop (unable to lift the front part of the foot and toes, especially during walking)

  • Autonomic Neuropathy

    • Feeling sick or bloated

    • Feeling dizzy or faint when standing up due to low blood pressure

    • Rapid heartbeat

    • Excessive sweating or lack of sweating

    • Constipation or diarrhoea, usually at night

    • Loss of bowel control

    • Difficulty in emptying bladder of urine

    • Problems with sexual function

  • Mononeuropathy

    • Weakness in the fingers

    • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the fingers (carpal tunnel syndrome)

    • Problems with focusing the eyes

    • Eye pain

    • Pain, weakness, or altered sensation in the foot

    • Bell's palsy (weakness of one side of the face)

​The causes of peripheral neuropathy may include:

  • Trauma or compression to the nerves due to carpal tunnel syndrome, crush injuries, motor vehicle injury accidents, chronic poor posture, or traumatic sports-related injury

  • Cancer treatment such as chemotherapy

  • Autoimmune diseases when the body’s immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) surrounding the nerve fibres. This condition disrupts the signals travelling along those fibres and cause weakness in muscles, difficulty in walking, and abnormal sensation

  • Diabetic neuropathy occurs in approximately half of the people with diabetes. The risk of developing diabetic neuropathy increased with age and is caused by uncontrolled high blood glucose levels. Some sufferers may have no symptoms, while some may experience numbness in the hands, arms, feet, and legs

  • Drug side effects and toxic substances

  • Nutritional deficiencies such as vitamins B6 and B12

  • Infectious diseases such as hepatitis C, HIV, and herpes viruses

  • Inherited diseases that are genetically transmitted or passed on through the family

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Treatment for ​​​​Peripheral Neuropathy

Our physiotherapists at Fizo Kare Physiotherapy Centre will provide physiotherapy treatments after an initial consultation. Physiotherapy treatments will help to improve muscle strength and mobility with peripheral neuropathy. On top of physiotherapy treatments, we will also customise an exercise programme that meets individual needs.

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