Nowadays computers are being used in excess and very few people are aware what it may cost to them. Sitting in front of the computer and typing for long hours may cause Peripheral Neuropathy. Sitting improperly may also add to the effect.If some of you have been experiencing pain, numbness, tingling, muscle weekness, burning sensation or loss of feeling in your hands or feet...than you may be at the risk of Peripheral Neuropathy. Early recognitation can cure it.Please follow the text below to know more:
Peripheral neuropathy is a term used to describe disorders of your peripheral nervous system. Your peripheral nervous system includes nerves in your face, arms, legs, torso, and some nerves in your skull. In fact, all of your nerves not located in your central nervous system — which includes the brain and the spinal cord — are peripheral nerves.Neuropathies may affect just one nerve (mononeuropathy) or several nerves (polyneuropathy). Your nerves provide communication between your brain and your muscles, skin, internal organs and blood vessels. When damaged, your nerves can't communicate properly, and that miscommunication causes symptoms such as pain or numbness.Peripheral neuropathy often affects people with diabetes and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Certain vitamin deficiencies, some medications and alcoholism can also damage peripheral nerves.Treating the underlying condition may relieve some cases of peripheral neuropathy. In other cases, treatment of peripheral neuropathy may focus on managing pain. Peripheral nerves have a remarkable ability to regenerate themselves, and new treatments for peripheral neuropathy using nerve growth factors or gene therapy may offer even better chances for recovery in the future.
Signs and symptoms
Neurological symptoms may occur related to your central nervous system, which consists of your brain and spinal cord, or your peripheral nervous system, which links your spinal cord and brain to all other parts of your body. The extensive network of peripheral nerves includes the motor nerves, which help your muscles contract, and the sensory nerves, which allow you to feel a range of sensations. In addition, your peripheral nerves help control some of the involuntary functions of the autonomic nervous system, which regulates your internal organs, sweat glands and blood pressure.Unfortunately, peripheral nerves are fragile and easily damaged. Damage to a peripheral nerve can interfere with the communication between the area it serves and your brain, affecting your ability to move certain muscles or feel normal sensations. Your symptoms will depend on the cause of your neuropathy and on which nerve or nerves are involved.If a sensory nerve is damaged, you're likely to experience symptoms that may include:
Loss of feeling
These symptoms often begin gradually. You may have a tingling sensation or numbness that starts in your toes or the balls of your feet and spreads upward. Tingling might also begin in your hands and extend up your arms. In some cases your skin may become so sensitive that the slightest touch is agonizing. You may also have numbness, or even a complete lack of feeling, in your hands or feet.At times your symptoms may be barely noticeable, and some people go years without realizing anything is wrong. For others, symptoms are constant, and especially at night may be almost unbearable. Signs and symptoms may include:The sensation that you're wearing an invisible glove or sock Burning pain Sharp, jabbing or electric-like pain Extreme sensitivity to touch, even light touch Lack of coordination If your motor nerves are affected, you may have weakness or paralysis of the muscles controlled by those nerves. And if you have damage to nerves that control certain functions of the autonomic nervous system, you might have bowel or bladder problems, reduced sweating or impotence. You might also experience a sharp fall in your blood pressure when you stand up, which may cause you to faint or feel lightheaded.
A number of factors can cause neuropathies. When a single nerve is affected, the most likely cause is trauma or some type of repetitive use that puts pressure on the nerve. Nerve pressure can result from using a cast or crutches, spending a long time in an unnatural position — such as typing at a computer keyboard — or having a tumor or abnormal bone growth.When damage occurs to several nerves, the cause frequently is diabetes. At least half of all people with diabetes develop some type of neuropathy. Other common causes include alcoholism, HIV/AIDS, inherited disorders, amyloidosis and a deficiency of certain vitamins, especially B vitamins.Other causes of peripheral nerve damage may include: Other diseases. These include autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease, liver disease and an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). Exposure to poisons. These may include some toxic substances and certain medications — especially those used to treat cancer. Genetic makeup. You may inherit a tendency to develop peripheral neuropathy. Bacterial or viral infections. An acute condition called Guillain-Barre syndrome frequently causes severe damage to all or part of your peripheral nerves by destroying the myelin sheath that covers nerve fibers. The myelin sheath acts as an insulator for your nerves and helps conduct nerve impulses. Although the exact cause of Guillain-Barre syndrome isn't known, most cases occur after an infection, surgery or immunization. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to pinpoint the cause of peripheral neuropathy. In fact, if your neuropathy isn't associated with diabetes, it's possible the cause may never be found.
Having diabetes places you at high risk of developing peripheral nerve damage. In fact, at least half of people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy. The risk increases the longer you have diabetes, and is highest for those who've had the disease for more than 25 years. Your risk is even greater if you are older than 40 or have difficulty controlling your blood sugar level.Although researchers don't understand exactly how damage occurs, a high blood sugar level seems to impair your nerves' ability to transmit signals. You can help reduce your risk by carefully following a medically approved plan for keeping your blood sugar level as close to normal as possible.Your risk of developing peripheral neuropathy is also higher if you have one or more of the following risk factors:Alcohol abuse. Excessive drinking of alcohol can affect your nervous system, causing numbness of your hands and feet. Vitamin deficiency. A lack of certain vitamins, especially B-1 (thiamin) and B-12 makes peripheral neuropathy more likely. Pernicious anemia, which occurs when your body can't absorb B-12 properly, often leads to peripheral neuropathy. Immune system disorders. You're more likely to develop peripheral neuropathy if you have an autoimmune disease, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, or if your immune system is compromised by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or AIDS. Other health problems. Medical conditions, including certain types of cancer, kidney disease and liver disease, also can put you at risk of nerve damage. Repetitive stress. A job or hobby that puts stress on one nerve for long periods of time increases your chances of developing peripheral neuropathy. In carpal tunnel syndrome, for example, the median nerve that extends through your wrist into your fingers becomes compressed. Repetitive assembly line work or work involving prolonged, heavy gripping can compress the median nerve. Playing golf, tennis or a musical instrument and using vibrating power tools or even crutches also can put pressure on peripheral nerves. Toxic substances. Exposure to some toxic substances can make you susceptible to peripheral nerve damage. These substances include heavy metals, such as lead, mercury and organic; organic solvents; and certain medications, such as those used to treat cancer or AIDS.
The goal of treatment is to manage the underlying condition causing your neuropathy and repair damage, as well as provide symptom relief. If your doctor hasn't been able to determine the cause of your neuropathy, he or she may try a variety of medications to see which help ease your symptoms.
Controlling a chronic condition may not eliminate your neuropathy, but it can play a key role in managing it. Here's what your doctor may recommend for treating various underlying conditions:
Diabetes. If you have diabetes, you and your doctor can work together to keep your blood sugar level as close to normal as possible. Maintaining normal blood sugar levels helps protect your nerves, though your symptoms may initially get worse before they begin to improve.
Vitamin deficiency. If your neuropathy is the result of a vitamin deficiency, it's likely your symptoms will improve once the deficiency is corrected. Your doctor may recommend injections of vitamin B-12 daily for a few days, then once a month. If you have pernicious anemia, you'll need regular injections for the rest of your life, and possibly additional vitamin supplements. You'll also need to eat a healthy diet. Autoimmune disorder. If your neuropathy is caused by an inflammatory or autoimmune process, treatment will be aimed at controlling your immune response.
Nerve pressure. In cases where neuropathy is the result of pressure on a nerve, treatment will likely focus first on eliminating the source of the pressure. That might mean adding ergonomic chairs, desks or keyboards to your home or office, changing the way you hold tools or instruments, or taking a break from certain hobbies or sports. In some cases of nerve compression, you may need surgery to correct the problem.
Toxic substances or medications. If toxins or medications are responsible for the neuropathy, it's critical that you stop taking the medication or avoid further exposure to the toxin to prevent the neuropathy from progressing further.
Medications can ease pain symptoms, but most have side effects, especially if you take them for long periods of time. If you take pain medication regularly, including over-the-counter (OTC) products, discuss the benefits and side effects with your doctor.
Several drug-free therapies and techniques may also help with pain relief. Doctors frequently use them in conjunction with medications, but some may be effective on their own.
The National Institutes of Health has found that acupuncture can be an effective treatment for chronic pain, possibly including the pain of neuropathy. Keep in mind that you may not get immediate relief with acupuncture and may require more than one session.
Many adults can be hypnotized by a trained professional, but for hypnosis to be most effective, you also have to be a willing and motivated participant. During hypnosis, you'll typically receive suggestions intended to decrease your perception of pain.
Designed to help reduce the muscle tension that makes pain worse, relaxation techniques range from deep-breathing exercises to visualization (imagining yourself floating in a tropical ocean, for example), yoga and meditation. You might want to take classes in one or more of these techniques, or you can learn them yourself using books or tapes.
The following suggestions can help you manage peripheral neuropathy:
Take care of your feet, especially if you have diabetes. Check your feet daily for signs of blisters, cuts or calluses. Tight shoes and socks can worsen pain and tingling and may lead to sores that won't heal. Wear soft, loose cotton socks and padded shoes. You can use a semicircular hoop, which is available in medical supply stores, to keep bedcovers off hot or sensitive feet.
Exercise. Ask your doctor about an exercise routine that's right for you. Regular exercise may reduce neuropathy pain and can help control blood sugar levels.
Quit smoking. Cigarette smoking can affect circulation, increasing the risk of foot problems and possibly amputation. Eat healthy meals. If you're at high risk of neuropathy or have a chronic medical condition, healthy eating is especially important. Emphasize low-fat meats and dairy products and include lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet. Drink alcohol in moderation.
Massage your hands and feet, or have someone massage them for you. Massage helps improve circulation, stimulates nerves and may temporarily relieve pain.
Avoid prolonged pressure. Don't keep your knees crossed or lean on your elbows for long periods of time. Doing so may cause new nerve damage.
Avoid sitting in front of the computer for long hours continously, excercise in between.