Nerve Inflammation

The Complicated Truth About Nerve Inflammation

Nerve inflammation, or neuropathy, is a complicated topic.  There is a great deal of variation between the symptoms and the causes of nerve inflammation.  Neuropathy is basically the malfunction of a set of nerves.  This malfunction can be localized or very widespread; some people will experience neuropathy in just their foot, while others may experience it throughout their bodies.

Regardless of how you experience it, nerve inflammation can be really scary.

Symptoms:

Sensory Symptoms: Neuropathy can lead to a series of different symptoms. In terms of sensation, nerve inflammation manifests itself in a wide variety of ways.  A person’s foot, for example, may lose all sensation—as if the person had no foot all.  This can be so severe that the person can’t even feel extremes of pain. Often this sensation is described by the person as the feeling of wearing very thick gloves or socks around the effected area.

On the other hand, the person might become hypersensitive to any stimulation. Sometimes when a person experiences neuropathy the area affected will actually overreact to any touch.  The person’s hand, for example, might suddenly feel like it is crawling with electric shocks when it is touched.

The sufferer may also feel tingling or burning sensations in the effected area.  Sometimes the feeling is of cold or just out right pain.

Movement/Paralysis: Neuropathy also manifests in the motor function of the individual.  Sometimes the person will lose all ability to control the effected area.  The arm will hang limp or the person will wake up finding she can’t move her body or facial muscles. 

Sometimes the paralysis is only partial.  The sufferer can move his arm but lacks coordination or strength.  They can move their arms but not grasp coffee cups or catch balls.

Sometimes muscles will feel like they are twitching or actually begin twitching of their own accord.

Nerve inflammation might even result in the inability to control bowel movements or urinary functions.  Individuals might uncontrollably wet or soil themselves.

Even more disturbingly, the individual might find it difficult to swallow or breath.  The facial muscles and the throat muscles might malfunction so badly the sufferer has difficulty forming words or communicating.

Causes of Neuropathy

Neuropathy has several causes though often the physician will not be able to find the actual cause.  It is, of course, possible to injure your nerves with external trauma, but generally, the most common cause of neuropathy is not trauma.  More often than not, the physician will not find one cause for the condition.

However, the medical and scientific community believes that most neuropathies indicate a problem with the immune system.  So, often when a patient presents with the symptoms of neuropathy, the medical professional will begin by looking at problems of the immune system.

Guillian Barre Syndrome: One of the most common causes of neuropathy is Guillian Barre Syndrome.  GBS is brought on by extreme immune response to a foreign body, like the flu virus.  In a person suffering from Guillian Barre Syndrome, however, the body’s response is so extreme the person’s feet and legs become weak and then paralyzed.  The weakness and paralysis continue to spread upwards until the sufferer’s entire body is affected.  In some cases, complications related to this paralysis have lead to death.

HIV: The AIDS virus or the medicines used to treat AIDS may also cause nerve inflammation. Typically, the AIDS patient will experience sensory discomfort in the extremities.  The patient will experience a burning or tingling on the fingers or toes in most cases.  Sometimes the neuropathy can have more severe manifestations as well.

Lupus: This is another disease that is sometimes characterized by neuropathy.  In one out of ten lupus sufferers, the person’s hands and feet will become numb, tingly or painful when their conditions are at their height.

There is also a whole host of other direct and indirect causes of nerve inflammation.  So if you experience some of the symptoms listed above immediately make an appointment with your doctor so that you can get yourself checked out and treated as soon as possible.