Peripheral neuropathy is a set of painful and uncomfortable symptoms that result from nerve damage. There are dozens of different types of peripheral nerve disorders.
At Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Neuroscience Institute, we offer expert diagnosis and treatment for the wide range of peripheral nerve disorders. Peripheral nerves are the nerves that connect the brain and spinal cord to the rest of your body.
Peripheral neuropathy symptoms
The type of symptoms you experience depend on the nerves that are damaged.
- Autonomic nerve damage symptoms:
- Problems with urination or bowel movements
- Digestion problems
- Excessive sweating
- Fainting when standing up
- Trouble with sexual function
- Motor nerve damage symptoms:
- Muscle cramps
- Decreased muscle function
- Motor nerve damage symptoms:
- Tingling or pins and needles sensation
Diagnosing peripheral neuropathy
At AHN Neuroscience Institute, our expert physicians specialize in diagnosing the various peripheral nerve disorders. A complete neurological examination is the first step to an accurate diagnosis. Your physician will also talk to you about your symptoms as well as your medical and family history.
Your physician may order one or more tests to provide a precise diagnosis, including:
- Computed tomography scan: This advanced imaging technology shows clear images of specific body parts, such as bones and internal organs.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This scan produces detailed images of internal organs and structures. Physicians may use this test to look for other potential causes of your symptoms.
- Electromyogram (EMG): This test measures the electrical activity of muscles.
- Nerve conduction studies: A nerve conduction velocity test measures the nerves’ ability to send electrical signals. We often perform it along with an EMG to help determine whether symptoms are related to your nerves or muscles.
Get expert peripheral neuropathy treatment at Allegheny Health Network
While there is no cure for peripheral nerve disorders, our highly skilled specialists use the latest therapies to help you manage your symptoms while addressing the underlying cause of nerve damage. We use a collaborative approach to provide you with personalized treatment recommendations.
We use a combination of medications and rehabilitative therapies, including:
- Medication: Your physician will help determine which medications would most benefit you.
- Plasmapheresis: This therapy, also called plasma exchange, filters your blood through a machine that removes harmful antibodies (similar to dialysis).
- Immunoglobulin therapy: You receive an injection of high doses of good antibodies from healthy donor blood. These new antibodies help block the antibodies that may be attacking your nervous system.
- Physical therapy: Certain exercises or activities may strengthen muscles and help you complete daily activities more easily. Our knowledgeable, caring physical therapists customize a physical therapy plan for your needs.
- Occupational therapy: Our specially trained occupational therapists can help you relearn how to complete daily activities that have become difficult, enhancing your independence at home or work.
- Orthopaedic devices: Devices such as braces support you in everyday movements and help prevent injuries.