Burning/Neuropathic Pain

The term “neuropathy” is used to describe a range of conditions and diagnoses that ultimately have a negative effect on the body’s nervous system.

There are three different types of nerves in the body, and each has a designated function. Sensory nerves receive sensations like vibration, touch, heat and pain from the skin that is touching something. Autonomic nerves control functions like blood pressure, heart rate, and digestion. Motor nerves control muscle movement. Depending on which kind of nerves are being affected by neuropathy, the symptoms may vary in severity/frequency, or affect certain parts of the body, while leaving others unaffected.

Predispositions

There is no single cause of peripheral neuropathy, as it can stem from many independently existing health conditions. Some illnesses that may put one at risk for neuropathic complications include:

  • Alcoholism
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Infections
  • Genetic disorders
  • Tumors
  • Kidney, liver or thyroid disorders
  • Bone marrow disorders
  • Undergoing chemotherapy
  • And others

If you have been diagnosed with any of these illnesses, and are experiencing a burning or tingling sensation in your feet (or hands), contact a doctor immediately.

Additionally, if any of the following apply, you could be at a considerably higher risk of being diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy.

  • Vitamin B deficiency
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Repetitive motion for an extended amount of time
  • Family history of neuropathy
  • Diabetes

Symptoms

Typically, this diagnosis manifests itself in the form of tingling, burning, or stabbing sensations. Additionally, the following symptoms may be experienced to varying degrees:

  • Gradually increasing numbness or tingling
  • Jabbing, stabbing, throbbing or burning pain
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Pain during relaxing activities
  • Lack of coordination
  • Weakness in muscles
  • The sensation of “wearing gloves or socks” when you are not

In severe cases of peripheral neuropathy, the following may be experienced:

  • Heat intolerance
  • Excessive sweat
  • An inability to sweat
  • Bowel, bladder or digestive problems
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Paralysis

As previously mentioned, the type and quantity of nerves affected can and will affect the severity, frequency, and areas of the body where symptoms are experienced.

Treatment

In severe cases of peripheral neuropathy, the following may be advised:

  • Taking vitamins like B Complex, calcium and other supplements
  • Diet changes- eliminating alcohol and increasing the intake of antioxidant-rich foods
  • NSAIDs
  • Topical treatments
  • Oral medications