Neuropathy refers to diseases of the peripheral nervous system – an intricate network of nerves that connects the brain and spinal cord to the muscles, skin and internal organs. The nerves are covered with a fatty sheath called myelin. Diseases involving the peripheral nerves can be classified according to whether or not the myelin sheath is involved. They can also involve either sensory fibers, motor fibers or both. Neuropathy can be painful often described as “pins and needles, stabbing, prickling, electric, burning, numbness.” This can occur in the hands or feet. A neuropathy specialist will tell you there are many different kinds of peripheral neuropathies. They range from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (an injury common after chronic, repetitive use of the hands and wrists) to Guillain-Barre Syndrome (a rare, sudden paralysis). Neuropathies can be a harbinger of other systemic diseases including vitamin deficiencies, toxic exposure (alcohol use), metabolic diseases (diabetes), autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases (Lyme disease).
Peripheral neuropathies are a common disorder among people over the age of 55. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common type of neuropathy involving a single nerve (mononeuropathy). It involves the entrapment of the median nerve under a fibrous band of tissue at the wrist. It is commonly caused by traumatic injury, prolonged pressure on the nerve or repetitive motions. Assembly-line workers, physical laborers, postal workers and those that use computer keyboards for prolonged periods are at greater risk. Damage to the nerve can result in numbness, tingling, unusual sensations and pain in the first three fingers of the hand particularly while sleeping. If untreated, it can result in weakness and atrophy in the hand. People with certain systemic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes or thyroid disease may be more vulnerable to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. A neuropathy pain management specialist can adequately diagnose neuropathies, ascertain its cause and guide treatments accordingly. These neuropathy specialists work closely with primary care physicians or internists to help manage patients with neuropathy. There are many neuropathy treatments ranging from diet, medications, physical modalities or surgery.
Northern Neurology Specialties’ neuropathy pain management facility located in Nassau County New York is an excellent resource for those suffering from neuropathy. Contact us today by filling out the form on the right side of the page or calling us at 1.516.364.4484.