Classifying Peripheral Neuropathy

The human body has two primary parts to its nervous system: the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system.

Your central nervous system contains your brain and spinal cord. Your peripheral nervous system contains all of the nerves that lie outside of your central nervous system. Together, your nervous system works like your body’s operating computer by controlling many functions, including your:

When you have peripheral neuropathy, you sustain a specific type of damage to your peripheral nervous system. There are more than 100 forms of peripheral neuropathy, and each triggers different symptoms and outcomes. However, diabetes is a leading cause, and 60-70% of Americans with diabetes have some form of neuropathy.

At Advanced Pain Management Center in Portland, Oregon, Vladimir Fiks, MD, offers treatments for nerve damage and disease. In this blog, he shares how peripheral neuropathy is classified and how it can be managed.

Taking a closer look at peripheral neuropathy

Because nerves in your peripheral nervous system run all over your body, your symptoms may vary significantly depending on the area injured and the type of damage. Think of it as losing important wires that are connected to different parts of your computer. This would keep your computer from working properly. The same thing can happen to your body.

If you have peripheral neuropathy, you can experience three types of nerve signaling problems:

The first step in classifying peripheral neuropathy involves understanding the severity of nerve damage. Specifically, is there one nerve damaged in the area or several? Damage to a single nerve is referred to as mononeuropathy, while polyneuropathy involves several nerves at once. 

Types of peripheral neuropathy

The second step in classifying this type of nerve damage involves determining the types of nerves affected. That’s because the nerves in your peripheral nervous system have three primary functions, including:

Depending on which peripheral nerves sustained damage, you could have a motor neuropathy, sensory neuropathy, or autonomic nerve neuropathy classification. It’s also possible to have a combination of two or more neuropathies.

These malfunctions can cause symptoms that range from mild to severe, such as muscle weakness or intense pain to loss of sensation and balance problems. The similarity of peripheral neuropathy symptoms with other conditions or medical problems can make peripheral neuropathy difficult to accurately diagnose and manage. 

To reach an accurate diagnosis, you’ll undergo a variety of neurological tests to determine the specific location and extent of the damage.

Living with peripheral neuropathy

More than 20 million Americans have peripheral neuropathy. In most cases, there isn’t a cure. However, Dr. Fiks can help manage your condition and reduce your chances of it worsening. This comprehensive process involves taking steps to control underlying conditions, such as diabetes, and making healthy lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking.

As a pain management specialist, Dr. Fiks can also provide personalized recommendations to help keep your symptoms managed. These therapies could include medications, injections, spinal cord stimulation, or peripheral nerve stimulation, in which a small, implanted electrical device sends out mild electric currents to disrupt pain signals.

If you have peripheral neuropathy, Dr. Fiks can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Advanced Pain Management Center today.

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