Nerve damage or disease affecting the nerves is called neuropathy. For some the discomfort from neuropathy is mild and barely noticeable, but for others it can be a debilitating nightmare. It can affect any part of the body, and with treatment, any one of the four main types of neuropathy can be rooted out or dramatically reduced.

1. Peripheral Neuropathy

It’s a valid question to ask, “What is neuropathy?” And an even more targeted question to ask, “How can neuropathy improve my health?” If you’re a diabetic suffering from one of the more common types of neuropathy, diabetic neuropathy, then you’re on to the right line of questioning. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can wreak havoc on peripheral nerves, like those in the toes and feet. Peripheral neuropathy symptoms include numbness, pins and needles or burning sensation, pain, and coordination loss. It may accompany chronic disease like kidney disease, cancer, and AIDS, certain medications, alcoholism and malnutrition.

2. Autonomic Neuropathy

Sometimes damage occurs to the nerves that control bodily functions, and this is autonomic neuropathy. When someone doesn’t have full control over their urination, bowel movements, heart rate or blood pressure, there is constant thought and energy that goes into regulating those systems. Some of the more common symptoms associated with autonomic neuropathy include excessive sweating, bloating, incontinence, diarrhea or constipation, sexual dysfunction, and lightheadedness. Those with Parkinson’s Disease, Guillain Barre syndrome and multiple sclerosis or those who have suffered spinal cord injuries are more likely to suffer with autonomic neuropathy.

3. Focal Neuropathy

Focal neuropathy occurs when a single nerve is compressed, usually by surrounding tissue that is inflamed. It could be from a herniated disc, a bone spur, or other nerve damage. It’s characterized by pain, numbness, weakness, and tingling. Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common types of focal neuropathy. The torso, legs, feet, and hands are common places for focal neuropathy to show up.

4. Cranial Neuropathy

This type of neuropathy affects the brain and those that come from the brainstem. These are the nerves that help control body movement, eyesight and facial expressions. Hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes patients may experience microvascular cranial nerve palsy that affects the nerves of the eyes, resulting in double vision and other problems. Bell’s palsy, typically caused by a virus, affects the seventh cranial nerve which is linked to facial movements and expressions. The result is one side of the face drooping. Which nerve is entrapped or compressed will dictate the symptoms that will be experienced.


There are some treatments available to those who suffer from neuropathy in any form. And because the symptoms tend to overlap, an experienced neurologist can help to pinpoint exactly which nerves are affected and how to best navigate improving the symptoms. Advancements in technology allow doctors to uncover the cause of your nerve pain and formulate an individualized treatment plan. Some treatment options include injections, medications, physical therapy, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).

Neuropathy can present itself in many different forms, so talk to your medical professional about your option. There’s no good reason to suffer from nerve pain when there’s plenty of things that can be done to ease or eliminate your discomfort.