Did you know that there are more than 100 different types of peripheral neuropathy? Neuropathy itself is an umbrella term that means “nerve damage or defect.” Chronic conditions and diseases can cause you to have neuropathy symptoms. However, even something as small as your posture throughout your day can be causing your symptoms as well. Patients with peripheral neuropathy can find relief through many different types of therapies. However, around 30% of neuropathy cases are idiopathic, meaning that they have no known cause. Find out if your neuropathy is treatable and if you can actually be cured from your symptoms!
As we have mentioned before, neuropathy means “nerve damage or dysfunction”. You can have one single nerve that is pinched or compressed that causes you a range of symptoms. You could also have several nerves that are causing you problems all in one area of the body, or in two separate areas. Polyneuropathy is the term for when a number of your nerves are damaged or malfunctioning. Mononeuropathy is when one single nerve is damaged. Multiple mononeuropathy is the term for when you have more than one damaged nerve, but they occur in different areas of the body. There are many patients that fall under every single one of these categories.
Even though there are few categories to describe the number of nerves affected, there are many more terms to describe where a nerve is damaged and why. For example, diabetes is only one condition out of thousands that a person can have. There are 4 types of diabetic neuropathy that include peripheral, proximal, autonomic and focal neuropathy. These vary depending on their location and the symptoms they cause, but doctors know that diabetes complications cause the overall symptoms. People also describe neuropathy in the area of the body that it occurs such as:
Symptoms can come on suddenly as a result of injury or can come on over time. Sudden onset is known as “acute neuropathy”. Slow onset overtime is known as “chronic neuropathy”. However, no matter if the onset is fast or slow, get started as soon as possible with therapies and treatments so you don’t develop severe symptoms.
It’s estimated that neuropathy affects about 8% of people over the age of 55. If we include people of all ages, then neuropathy affects about 2.5% of people. However, it generally occurs in older people instead of young children, as the body has gone through more wear and tear over time. Neuropathy can occur in any part of the body where peripheral nerves lie. Your peripheral nervous system is comprised of any nerve outside of the central nervous system, which is your brain and spinal cord. You literally have billions of nerves throughout your body, meaning that the possibilities for neuropathy are endless. It’s amazing that more people don’t have neuropathy with how many nerves the human body has.
Because there is such a high volume of people that struggle with neuropathy, there have been many treatments developed to help those people with their symptoms. Medical professionals see enough pinched or compressed nerves in the neck, back, legs, arms, feet and more, that they can fairly accurately pinpoint the exact location of a nerve that is damaged. However, there are times when no medical professional can find the cause of a patient’s neuropathy, which leads them to a idiopathic diagnosis.
We mentioned that some neuropathies are idiopathic. This means that medical professionals can find no specific cause of your neuropathy symptoms, even though you have them. In about 70% of cases, the cause is found and then proper treatment can begin. However, some people (that other 30%) have neuropathy and never know why it happens. An idiopathic diagnosis comes after all tests have been conducted with no conclusive results. Examinations and diagnosis often include blood tests, nerve testing and imaging tests as well as experimentation with different therapies to see if one benefits a patient.
There is no cure for idiopathic neuropathy. Medical professionals might know in the future why there is idiopathic neuropathy and what causes it. However, at this time, patients with an idiopathic diagnosis can still find some sort of relief from natural neuropathy treatments and therapies. There is no guarantee that these therapies can work for idiopathic patients, but there are always benefits in some way. No matter if you have peripheral neuropathy that can be treated, or if you have idiopathic neuropathy, we recommend continuing to receive treatment and therapy for your symptoms. You never know if one day, you will suddenly start to see results.