The causes of neuropathy can vary greatly among the individuals who are in search of nerve pain treatment. There are many different forms of neuropathy, the most common being either peripheral neuropathy or foot neuropathy. By definition neuropathy affects the nerves (damages them) that control the motor and sensory nerves. Depending on which nerves are damaged will depend on the type of neuropathy as well as the symptoms that will be present as a result.
Categories of Neuropathy
There are three broad categories of neuropathy and they are based primarily on the number of nerves that are affected by the damage:
- Mononeuropathy – occurs when there is only a single nerve that is affected. Mononeuropathy most often occurs as the result of a local cause such as trauma, compression, or entrapment. Examples of Mononeuropathy would be carpal tunnel syndrome or radial nerve palsy.
- Multiple Mononeuropathy – occurs when two are more nerves are affected individually.
- Polyneuropathy – occurs when there is generalized nerve damage affecting many peripheral nerves. Some examples would be either diabetic neuropathy or Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Types of Neuropathy
- Peripheral Neuropathy is probably the most common type of neuropathy and occurs when the nerve damage has occurred outside of the brain and spinal cord. More specifically peripheral neuropathy affects the nerves of the body’s extremities such as the toes, feet, legs, fingers, hands, and/or arms. Peripheral neuropathy can often be interchanged with peripheral diabetic nerve pain or distal polyneuropathy.
- Proximal Neuropathy is a term that has been categorized for nerve damage that has taken place specifically to the thighs, hips or buttocks. One example of proximal neuropathy includes Sciatica where pain shoots from the low back and down the leg.
- Cranial Neuropathy takes place when any of the twelve cranial nerves become damaged. There are two separate types of cranial neuropathy both (1) optic neuropathy and (2) auditory neuropathy. Optic neuropathy refers to damage of the optic nerve whereas auditory neuropathy refers to the nerve that carries signals from the inner ear to the brain and is responsible for hearing.
- Autonomic Neuropathy takes place when the nerves of the involuntary nervous system (also called the autonomic nervous system), such as the heart, circulation, digestion, bowel and/or bladder, sexual organs, and nerves that pertain to perspiration are damaged.
- Focal Neuropathy takes place when nerve damage is restricted to one specific nerve or a group of nerves, or a certain area of the body. Symptoms that take place with focal neuropathy often appear very suddenly without any warning and often affect the nerves in the head (especially the nerves that go the eyes), torso or legs.
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