Sensory Neuropathy – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments!

Sensory Neuropathy – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments  Everyone Should Know. Also,  sensory neuropathy is damage that has occurred in a sensory neuron, which leads to very painful sensitivity such as heat or cold. Neuropathy means that there has been nerve damage, so the communications network that carries information between the central nervous system and all other damaged parts of the body, produces what is known as Sensory Neuropathy .

There are over 100 types of peripheral neuropathies, each with its own symptoms and course. Generally they classified by the type of nerve damage. If it only affects one it is called mononeuropathy, and if it affects two or more it is called polyneuropathy. The latter usually occurs much more frequently.

They can also be classified according to the affected nerves, motor or autonomic system. Therefore, if the damage affects the nerves that the information brings sensitivity, we are talking about a sensory neuropathy.

If the nerve that is damaged is hindering movement, it would be motor neuropathy , and if the nerve injured is the autonomic nerve, it would be neuropathy. Thus, under the concept of sensory neuropathy , they are grouped all diseases that affect one or more peripheral sensory nerves.

Features of Sensory  Neuropathy: Painful sensory neuropathy is a heterogeneous group of entities that, in many cases, diagnosis is difficult because too few clinical and neurophysiological objectives manifest.

In sensory neuropathies they are: vasculitis-associated neuropathy, Sjogren’s disease, acquired amyloid neuropathy, toxic paraneoplastic (arsenic), infectious neuropathy (AIDS), MAGUS-associated polyneuropathy, and hereditary polyneuropathy (hereditary sensory-autonomic neuropathy, amyloid family polyneuropathy, Fabry disease and Tangier disease, among others).

Main Symptoms of Sensory Neuropathy:  There are not many different causes of sensory neuropathies , but the symptoms are often similar. Including tinnitus, numbness (paraesthesia), painful burning or electric shock-like sensations are common.

Pain is usually the first symptom. It starts in the feet and is gradually extended to the surrounding areas of the limbs, hands and reach arms. Burning pain has been attributed to small myelinated and unmyelinated fibers in conditions such as amyloidosis, Tangier and Fabry disease, and some cases of hereditary and autonomic neuropathies.

The pain can be very intense, resulting in gait disturbances, as contact with the ground itself increases the pain. Obviously, symptoms vary depending on which nerves – whether motor, sensory or autonomic – are damaged. Some neuropathies affect one type of nerve while others can affect all.

In case it is a sensory nerve injury, the symptoms are varied as the sensory nerves have a wide range of functions. If damage is caused to large sensory fibers, deterioration occurs in touch, which results in an overall decrease in sensation.

Because they generally feel more on hands and feet, the person may feel as if they are wearing gloves or socks. This damage can also help the lost reflexes. Another symptom that can cause sensory nerve damage is the inability to coordinate complex movements, such as walking or buttoning a button.

If it were small fibers that are damaged, this damage could lead to the inability to feel pain or temperature changes. This would be a problem because that person would not be able to perceive a wound to be infected.

Neuropathic pain can also be sensory nerve damage. This becomes so difficult to control, which can seriously affect the person’s emotional well-being and overall quality of life.

Neuropathic pain is often associated with a hypersensitivity to pain receptors in the skin, causing people to feel pain to stimuli that do not cause any pain. A serious example, feeling pain, simply rubbing some leaves.

In short, the main symptoms of sensory neuropathy are:

  • Gradual onset of numbness or tingling in the feet and hands that may extend up the legs and arms.
  • Sharp throbbing pain or freezing pain.
  • Extreme touch sensitivity
  • Muscle weakness or paralysis if motor nerves are affected.
  • Pain, burning, tingling, abnormal sensation in any area of ​​the body (called neuralgia)

Main Causes of Sensory Neuropathy:  Finefiber sensory neuropathy can occur in patients with diabetes mellitus, HIV infection , amyloidosis, Tangier disease, Sjögren syndrome, etc. Nerve damage can be caused by several factors:

  • immune diseases
  • Affection putting pressure on the nerves
  • Decreased nerve blood flow
  • Swelling or inflammation of nerves
  • diseases that are destroying the connective tissue that holds cells and tissues together.
  • Exposure to poisons, toxic substances such as heavy metals or chemicals.
  • Drugs can cause peripheral neuropathies like some of those used to treat cancer.
  • Disorders such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth, which is a type of hereditary neuropathy.
  • Trauma or pressure on the nerve such as accidents, falls or sports injuries can break peripheral nerves.
  • Bone marrow disorders. This includes abnormal blood proteins, lymphoma and amyloidosis.
  • Vitamin B12, B1 and E deficiency.
  • Kidney , liver , thyroid problems, or connective tissue disease . 

Diagnosis of Sensory Neuropathy:  The main problem of diagnosis is that the only symptom is pain, which is difficult to decide if the pain is caused by a neuropathy or due to other causes. Explorations required for diagnosis include:

Skin Biopsy:  In this technique intradermal nerve fibers are discussed. May reveal damage present in smaller fibers, in contrast to conventional nerve biopsy. It is also less invasive and carries fewer side effects.

Nerve Biopsy: This technique should be used only when amyolidosis, vasculitis, etc. are suspected. Nerve biopsy involves removing and testing a sample of nerve tissue, especially from the lower leg. Although this test can provide valuable information, it is a difficult to perform invasive procedure and itself can cause neuropathic side effects.

Neurophysiological Studies: These studies help to assess the anatomical distribution of the lesion. But it also focuses on the pathophysiology without the use of invasive techniques.

Quantitative Sensitive Test: This type of test assesses the threshold of perception of different sensory modalities. But it has two disadvantages, a) they are subjective and b) they remain altered after the lesion improves.

Nerve Conduction Velocity (NCV):  These are tests that measure the degree of damage to large nerve fibers, revealing whether symptoms are caused by degeneration of the myelin sheath or the axon.

Assessment of the Autonomic Nervous System:  We can help in the differential diagnosis of painful sensory neuropathy, as some are associated with diabetes or regional sensory neuropathies. Examples of neuropathies are:

  • Peripheral Polyneuropathy: burning pain, stitch, worse when walking, reduced sensitivity in feet.
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia: Pain, sharp upper lip and nose aggravated by chewing or simply brushing teeth.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: sharp pain, tingling, decreased sensation in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd finger and palm.
  • Post-herpetic neuralgia: Pain with a burning sensation in the chest region.

Treatment for Sensory Neuropathy:  The goals of treatment would first be to find the underlying cause of the pain, control symptoms and provide the necessary care so that the person has greater autonomy and independence.

It is available only symptomatic treatment. According to studies, tricyclic antidepressants, antiepileptics and antiarrhythmics are used. Topical capsaicin may also help in some cases of sensory neuropathy.

Therefore, and according to the cause, treatment may include:

  • Control blood sugar levels
  • not drink alcohol
  • take nutritional supplements
  • Exercises and train damaged nerves to maximize your performance.
  • professional therapy
  • Orthopedic treatments
  • Physiotherapy
  • Orthopedic wheelchair or braces.

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