Painful sensory neuropathy is a group of medical conditions that affect sensory nerves. It usually affects sensory nerves in the feet and legs. However, it may also affect nerves in the hands or arms. In neuropathy the disease commonly causes changes on the longest nerves. This is why the patients first complain about symptoms connected to the feet. After certain period of time the symptoms further affect the lower leg.
All neuropathies are classified into sensory and motor neuropathies. In sensory neuropathy the disease affects sensory nerves which are in charge with many sensations such as pain, pressure, temperature etc. On the other hand, in case the condition affects motor nerves there is obvious problem with function of the muscles since they are under control of motor neurons. In many cases, the two neuropathies combine. Still, there are several neuropathies which predominantly affect sensory nerves.
Symptoms of Sensory Neuropathy
There are many symptoms which occur in sensory neuropathy and they can be classified as symptoms that cause a lack of sensory perception and those which lead to discomfort. A lack of sensory perception features with reduction is senses such as inappropriate detection of cold or hot sensations, pain etc. On the other hand, discomfort is basically caused by the sensations which normally do not occur. For example one may feel a burning sensation even though he/ she is not actually in a contact with something hot. Discomfort may be also in a form of tingling or stabbing sensations etc. Increased sensitivity and painful sensations are also two additional characteristics of sensory neuropathy.
Diagnosing Sensory Neuropathy
The doctor may assume one is suffering from painful sensory neuropathy according to reported symptoms. The specific diagnosis can be confirmed after neurological examination which points to reduction in certain sensations such as touch or pain. Similarly patients may complain about intensive pain even though they have been slightly touched.
Causes of Painful Sensory Neuropathy
In many cases this medical condition is classified as idiopathic since the underlying cause simply cannot be identified. However, this medical conditional may occur due to other diseases including many infectious disease, neoplastic disorders, auto-immune disorders, metabolic disorders, vitamin or mineral deficiencies etc. It may also occur as a side effect of certain medications or be a consequence of poisoning.
Treatment for Painful Sensory Neuropathy
Depending on the cause some of the sensory neuropathies may be stopped with specific treatment. Still, many sensory neuropathies are rarely treatable. The goal of the therapy is to reduce the pain, discomfort and all the unpleasant sensations caused by the disease. There are several medications used in treatment of painful sensory neuropathies and they include gabapentin and pregabalin. Patients may also benefit from certain antidepressants (amitriptyline, imipramine and duloxitine).