What is it?
Peripheral neuropathy refers to the many conditions that result in impairment to the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The role of the PNS, which is a vast communication network within our body, is to relay information between the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and all other parts of the body. Peripheral nerves send different types of information to the central nervous system, including pain, temperature, touch, proprioception and pressure, to name a few.
There are 3 main types of nerves that can be affected in the PNS:
Motor – controlling movement of muscles consciously within the body.
Sensory – feeling of touch, temperature, pain, pressure.
Autonomic – control of organs and their activity not under conscious control.
There are a large number of causes as to why an individual may have peripheral neuropathy.
These include, but are not limited to:
Diabetes (affecting the blood supply to the nervous system)
Physical injury/trauma (falls, medical procedures, etc.)
Carpal tunnel syndrome (compression of median nerve)
Smoking (affects the vasculature that supplies blood to the nerves)
Auto-immune diseases (e.g. Guillain-Barre Syndrome)
Nutritional imbalance (e.g. Vitamin B12 deficiency and excess B6)
When peripheral nerves are affected, this can affect one’s bodily functions, balance, walking and safety, by having an impaired nervous system. Treatment often includes medication prescribed by your doctor, as well as rehabilitation to help restore function and achieve your personal goals. In the clinic, we regularly work with those who have peripheral neuropathy and have found significant improvements in their balance, strength, pain and sensation.