There are more than 100 types of peripheral nerve disorders. These complex conditions affect the nerves that deliver signals from your brain and spinal cord to the rest of your body — and they can be difficult to treat. In the Sutter Health network, highly skilled neurologists provide experience and expertise in treating peripheral nerve disorders. Together, we help you manage pain and other symptoms so you can regain the quality of life you enjoy.
Peripheral nerve disorders can result from diabetes, injury, nerve compression, exposure to toxic chemicals, taking certain medications, infection and other causes. In some cases, people are born with peripheral nerve disorders. The most common forms of these disorders include:
- Diabetic neuropathies — Complications of diabetes usually caused by damage to small blood vessels.
- Peripheral neuropathy — A numbing and painful tingling, mostly in the legs and feet.
- Postherpetic neuralgia — Persistent pain from nerve fibers damaged by an outbreak of shingles.
- Sciatica — A painful numbing or tingling in the leg caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome — Numbness, tingling and weakness of hand caused by compression of nerve in the wrist.
Your doctor will conduct a neurological and physical exam to determine the cause of your peripheral nerve disorder. Additional tests may be conducted to help determine the nature and extent of the neuropathy, such as an electromyography, nerve conduction velocity test or nerve biopsy.
Treatments may include medications, nerve blocks, splinting the affected limb, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and other treatments, depending on the underlying cause of the nerve disorder. Medications typically used to control chronic neuropathic pain include antidepressants, antiseizure medications, antiarrythmic medications and narcotics. Holistic and integrative medicine options such as acupuncture and massage may also be helpful. For carpal tunnel syndrome, treatment involves surgery to decompress the nerve.
Sutter’s network of more than 130 neurologists can work with you to find the best treatment options for your type of peripheral nerve disorder.