The nervous system is structured much like a tree and its branches. The main nerves in our bodies run from the brain down the spine and then branch out to the arms, hands, legs and feet. Acting as messengers throughout our body, nerves are essential to movement and feeling. When these very sensitive fibers are damaged or interrupted, a person can experience varying degrees of pain, numbness or weakness in the arms, hands, legs, feet and even the face. Injury, such as a pinched nerve, swelling from autoimmune disorders, or damaging illnesses including shingles, Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, and herpes simplex viruses can all cause peripheral nerve pain, numbness or weakness. Triggers for the onset of peripheral nerve pain can be as simple as just moving around, brushing up against a surface or putting on clothes.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, there are over 100 different peripheral nerve disorders.
Common peripheral nerve conditions include:
- Carpal tunnel
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Cervical rediculopathy
- Injury to the brachial plexus (Erb’s Palsy)
- Occipital neuralgia
- Traumatic nerve entrapment
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Demyelinating polyneuropathy
- Ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow (Cubital Tunnel Syndrome)
- Pinched nerve
Diagnosis is typically done after a nerve exam done by a physician and imaging studies, and is the first step in managing and treating peripheral nerve disorders.
Advanced diagnostics, like those found at our community locations, can include:
Treatment or management of peripheral nerve disorders may include:
- Medication to treat the underlying cause and the nerves
- Surgery to correct the damaged nerves
- Nerve blocks to reduce the sensation of pain or weakness
Akron General’s Neurological and Neurosurgical experts offer comprehensive management of these disorders to help reduce discomfort and restore quality of life. For more information about care for peripheral nerve conditions, please call 330.344.3100.