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Peripheral Neuropathy


Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that affects how your nerves work. Nerves carry information from your brain to your body. The information does not transfer along your nerves correctly when you have neuropathy. When you have peripheral neuropathy, the nerves in your legs, arms, feet, or hands are affected. It also may affect your organs, such as your lungs, stomach, bladder, or genitals. This condition may go away on its own or you may always have it.



  • Pain medicine: You may be given medicine to take away or decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine.
  • Antidepressants: This medicine helps to decrease or stop the symptoms of depression. It also used to help decrease pain. Take this medicine as directed.
  • Antiseizure medicine: This medicine is usually given to control seizures, but it also helps with nerve pain.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or neurologist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Physical therapy:

Physical and occupational therapists may help you exercise your arms, legs, and hands. They may teach you new ways to do things at home.

Brace or splint:

You may need a device that supports or holds a body part still. For example, if you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you may need to wear a wrist brace.

Manage your peripheral neuropathy:

  • Avoid falls: Move with care and stand up slowly. Wear shoes that support your feet, and do not go barefoot. Ask about walking aids, such as a cane or walker. You may want to install railings or nonslip pads in your home, especially in the bathroom. Ask for more information on how to avoid falls.

  • Check your skin daily: Sores can form where your skin makes contact with chairs, beds, or other body parts. They also can form under splints. Keep your skin clean, and check your skin daily for sores.
  • Exercise: Ask about the best exercise plan for you. Physical activity may increase your balance and strength and may decrease your pain. It is best to start exercising slowly and do more as you get stronger.

Contact your healthcare provider or neurologist if:

  • Your pain is severe.
  • You cannot control your bladder.
  • You have trouble having sex.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You fall.
  • You cannot walk at all.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.