Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy

There are many causes of neuropathy.

Chronic neuropathy can begin when your nerves undergo a state of anoxia. This is a condition in which the nerve is deprived of oxygen. Nerves can also become damaged when they are poisoned by continual exposure to toxic chemicals, which accumulate in the body. There are a variety of reasons why this might happen and, quite commonly, we see a combination of reasons, occurring.

 

Some of the most common causes are:

1.  Medications

Research has revealed that a great deal of medications cause peripheral neuropathy as a side effect. Ironically, even medications prescribed to help with the pain of neuropathy, such as Neurontin and Lyrica, have been shown to worsen the damage to the peripheral nerves over time.

2.  Diabetes

60 to 70 percent of all diabetics will develop peripheral neuropathy. Researchers have long been studying the effects of elevated blood glucose on peripheral nerves. Chronically elevated glucose levels can damage blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the nerves. This can lead to anoxia—a lack of oxygen to the nerve cells and blood vessels—which can result in poor circulation and nerve damage. This is why most neuropathy sufferers (resulting from diabetes) have not only pain but also abnormal changes in the skin on their legs. These changes can include purple discolorations, extremely dry, flaky skin, and extremely taut skin. All of these things are signs that the skin has lost proper circulation and thus oxygenation and nutrients; it also signifies that the skin is beginning to die.

3.  Surgeries

We don’t normally think of surgery as a bodily trauma or injury, but it is. Any time the tissues of your body are disrupted, whether intentionally or accidentally, the body processes the mechanism as an assault on the tissue. As such, the body will go through the same cascade of healing. It’s not uncommon for neuropathy to develop as a side effect of surgery.

 

During the course of surgery, nerves might be damaged, either directly (i.e., the nerve is severed or nicked) or indirectly (i.e., the nerve is bruised or the tissue surrounding the nerve is inflamed, leading to nerve compression). For example, the way in which a patient is positioned during a surgical procedure can indirectly cause neuropathy. Maintaining a patient in a prolonged position can hamper circulation and deprive the nerve of oxygen and necessary nutrients. These prolonged periods of positioning can also create an abnormal stretch or compression on the nerve. Any of these situations can lead to nerve damage.

 

Symptoms of surgical nerve injury can include numbness and tingling or a burning pain, which can be moderate to severe. The symptoms might occur at the surgical site or in the standard areas where one typically observes peripheral neuropathy (i.e., feet, legs, hands, and arms). Sometimes, a person will notice that the symptoms worsen with specific motions or movements, or while he or she is sleeping at night.

4.  Chemotherapy / Radiation (CIPN)

Chemotherapy drugs are poisons that attack rapidly dividing cells (fast growing cells). They do not differentiate between healthy or diseased cells when they attack, so even healthy cells are destroyed by ‘chemo’ drugs. The theory behind using these toxins is that it will destroy the fast growing cancer cells before it does too much damage to normal cells.

 

Unfortunately, Chemotherapy is hardest on the nervous system. Nerve cells are more sensitive than most other cells to these toxins. It is reported that neuropathy is a common and expected part of treatment with the following chemotherapy drugs: platins (cisplatin, oxaliplatin), vincristine, taxols (paclitaxel and docetaxel) and more recently with bortezomib. After exposure to chemotherapy, damage can occur to the myelin producing cells (fatty sheath that helps insulate and protect nerve). Nerve damage is a common occurrence, thus, paving the way for the peripheral neuropathy as a side effect of chemotherapy treatment.

5.  Physical Injuries

Physical injuries or any form of trauma—such as car accidents, falls, or sport injuries—can damage a nerve by creating a stretch, compression, or crushing injury. Nerves can also be severed or forcibly detached from the spinal cord, either partially or completely. Less severe traumas, such as fractured or dislocated bones, can cause serious nerve damage by exerting pressure on neighboring nerves. Other forms of nerve injuries can result from disc herniations, protrusion, and bulges resulting in compressed nerve fibers, thereby damaging the nerve and creating neuropathic pain. These are only a few types of injuries that might induce neuropathy.

6.  Malnutrition

When we think of malnutrition, we typically think of third-world countries, where hunger and starvation run rampant. We don’t commonly think of America, the land of abundance, as being a country stricken with malnutrition, but it is. In fact, most obese people are malnourished.

 

Malnutrition can result from an inadequate caloric intake, as in the case of starvation; but what you might not realize is that nutrient deficiencies (vitamins, minerals, and enzymes found in whole foods) can lead to a state of malnutrition. This is what is referred to as “Modern Malnutrition”— or what should more appropriately be called dysnutrition, for dysfunctional nutrition. It’s caused by the excessive caloric intake of nutrient deficient foods (processed foods, junk foods and fast foods). These are what I like to call ‘dead foods’.

 

Malnutrition can occur in the following ways:

  1. Lack of nutrients in food and/or processed food
  2. Inability of digestive tract to absorb nutrients eaten due to conditions like: Acid Relux, Gluten Intolerance, Celiac disease, IBS, Inflammatory Bowel Disorders (IBD)- Crohns, Colitis, Diverticulitis, etc.

 

Note:
To learn more about causes and effective treatment of peripheral neuropathy, please see our book: Defeat Neuropathy Now…In Spite of Your Doctor

1.  Medications

Research has revealed that a great deal of medications cause peripheral neuropathy as a side effect. Ironically, even medications prescribed to help with the pain of neuropathy, such as Neurontin and Lyrica, have been shown to worsen the damage to the peripheral nerves over time.

2.  Diabetes

60 to 70 percent of all diabetics will develop peripheral neuropathy. Researchers have long been studying the effects of elevated blood glucose on peripheral nerves. Chronically elevated glucose levels can damage blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the nerves. This can lead to anoxia—a lack of oxygen to the nerve cells and blood vessels—which can result in poor circulation and nerve damage. This is why most neuropathy sufferers (resulting from diabetes) have not only pain but also abnormal changes in the skin on their legs. These changes can include purple discolorations, extremely dry, flaky skin, and extremely taut skin. All of these things are signs that the skin has lost proper circulation and thus oxygenation and nutrients; it also signifies that the skin is beginning to die.

3.  Surgeries

We don’t normally think of surgery as a bodily trauma or injury, but it is. Any time the tissues of your body are disrupted, whether intentionally or accidentally, the body processes the mechanism as an assault on the tissue. As such, the body will go through the same cascade of healing. It’s not uncommon for neuropathy to develop as a side effect of surgery.

 

During the course of surgery, nerves might be damaged, either directly (i.e., the nerve is severed or nicked) or indirectly (i.e., the nerve is bruised or the tissue surrounding the nerve is inflamed, leading to nerve compression). For example, the way in which a patient is positioned during a surgical procedure can indirectly cause neuropathy. Maintaining a patient in a prolonged position can hamper circulation and deprive the nerve of oxygen and necessary nutrients. These prolonged periods of positioning can also create an abnormal stretch or compression on the nerve. Any of these situations can lead to nerve damage.

 

Symptoms of surgical nerve injury can include numbness and tingling or a burning pain, which can be moderate to severe. The symptoms might occur at the surgical site or in the standard areas where one typically observes peripheral neuropathy (i.e., feet, legs, hands, and arms). Sometimes, a person will notice that the symptoms worsen with specific motions or movements, or while he or she is sleeping at night.

4.  Chemotherapy / Radiation (CIPN)

Chemotherapy drugs are poisons that attack rapidly dividing cells (fast growing cells). They do not differentiate between healthy or diseased cells when they attack, so even healthy cells are destroyed by ‘chemo’ drugs. The theory behind using these toxins is that it will destroy the fast growing cancer cells before it does too much damage to normal cells.

 

Unfortunately, Chemotherapy is hardest on the nervous system. Nerve cells are more sensitive than most other cells to these toxins. It is reported that neuropathy is a common and expected part of treatment with the following chemotherapy drugs: platins (cisplatin, oxaliplatin), vincristine, taxols (paclitaxel and docetaxel) and more recently with bortezomib. After exposure to chemotherapy, damage can occur to the myelin producing cells (fatty sheath that helps insulate and protect nerve). Nerve damage is a common occurrence, thus, paving the way for the peripheral neuropathy as a side effect of chemotherapy treatment.

5.  Physical Injuries

Physical injuries or any form of trauma—such as car accidents, falls, or sport injuries—can damage a nerve by creating a stretch, compression, or crushing injury. Nerves can also be severed or forcibly detached from the spinal cord, either partially or completely. Less severe traumas, such as fractured or dislocated bones, can cause serious nerve damage by exerting pressure on neighboring nerves. Other forms of nerve injuries can result from disc herniations, protrusion, and bulges resulting in compressed nerve fibers, thereby damaging the nerve and creating neuropathic pain. These are only a few types of injuries that might induce neuropathy.

6.  Malnutrition

When we think of malnutrition, we typically think of third-world countries, where hunger and starvation run rampant. We don’t commonly think of America, the land of abundance, as being a country stricken with malnutrition, but it is. In fact, most obese people are malnourished.

 

Malnutrition can result from an inadequate caloric intake, as in the case of starvation; but what you might not realize is that nutrient deficiencies (vitamins, minerals, and enzymes found in whole foods) can lead to a state of malnutrition. This is what is referred to as “Modern Malnutrition”— or what should more appropriately be called dysnutrition, for dysfunctional nutrition. It’s caused by the excessive caloric intake of nutrient deficient foods (processed foods, junk foods and fast foods). These are what I like to call ‘dead foods’.

 

Malnutrition can occur in the following ways:

  1. Lack of nutrients in food and/or processed food
  2. Inability of digestive tract to absorb nutrients eaten due to conditions like: Acid Relux, Gluten Intolerance, Celiac disease, IBS, Inflammatory Bowel Disorders (IBD)- Crohns, Colitis, Diverticulitis, etc.

 

Note:
To learn more about causes and effective treatment of peripheral neuropathy, please see our book: Defeat Neuropathy Now…In Spite of Your Doctor

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