Peripheral neuropathic pain refers to the pain associated with the condition of peripheral neuropathy.
Peripheral neuropathy refers to the damage caused to the peripheral nervous system, which is the vast communications network that transmits information from the brain and spinal cord to every other part of the body. The term is also generally used to describe changes in the way the particular nerves work.
Since every peripheral nerve has a highly specialized function in a specific part of the body, a wide array of symptoms can occur when nerves are damaged.
However, muscle weakness is the most common symptom of motor nerve damage. Some of the most common list of symptoms includes:
• Temporary numbness
• Pricking sensations (paresthesia)
• Sensitivity to touch
• Muscle weakness
• Burning pain (especially at night)
• Muscle wasting
• Gland dysfunction
• Inability to digest food
• Maintain a balanced blood pressure level
• Abnormal level of sweating
• Sexual dysfunction
Peripheral neuropathy that causes the peripheral neuropathic pain can be either inherited or acquired. Here we briefly explain each one of them:
A) Acquired peripheral neuropathy
Acquired peripheral neuropathies are grouped into three broad categories, as discussed below.
i) Systemic disease
These are the disorders that affect the entire body, causing peripheral neuropathy. These disorders include:
• Kidney disorders
• Diabetes mellitus
• Hormonal imbalances
• Vitamin deficiencies and alcoholism
• Vascular damage and blood diseases
• Connective tissue disorders and chronic inflammation
• Cancers and benign tumors
• Repetitive stress and toxins
ii) Physical injury (trauma)
This is the most common cause of an injury to a nerve. The most frequently observed forms of injury including automobile accidents, falls and sports-related activities could cause nerves to be partially or completely severed, crushed, compressed or stretched. Broken or dislocated bones can also exert damaging pressure on the neighboring nerves.
iii) Infections and autoimmune disorders
There are various viruses and bacteria that can attack nerve tissues, including herpes varicella-zoster, Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex.
These viruses severely damage the sensory nerves, causing attacks of sharp, lighting-like pain.
B) Inherited forms of peripheral neuropathy
These result from the inborn mistakes in the genetic code or by new genetic mutations. The most common inherited neuropathies are a group of disorders referred to as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, resulting from flaws in genes responsible for manufacturing neurons or the myelin sheath.