Peripheral neuropathy usually starts in the hands or feet as numbness or tingling. Over time, these symptoms can progress to pain. Patients most often describe the pain as a burning type of pain.
The most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes. It is then commonly referred to as diabetic neuropathy. Other causes can be kidney disease, HIV, or alcohol dependence. It can also occur for unknown reasons. In the latter case, it is called idiopathic peripheral neuropathy.
Is there a cure?
Conventional wisdom is that, if the primary disease that causes the neuropathy is cured or controlled early, the neuropathy can be reversed. So, if the neuropathy is due to diabetes, kidney disease, HIV, or alcohol dependence, rigorous treatment of these conditions is necessary. However, neuropathy is often permanent.
Once it becomes chronic, treatment is focused on managing the symptoms, rather than attempting to cure it.
Therapies & Procedures
Common symptom management therapies include antidepressant medications, anticonvulsant medications, opioid medications, mild aerobic exercise, cognitive behavioral therapy, and chronic pain rehabilitation programs.
Date of publication: April 27, 2012
Date of last modification: October 23, 2015