Peripheral Neuropathy — damage to the nerves of the peripheral nervous system (nerves outside the brain and spinal cord) — occurs as a result of many different issues, from inherited disorders and diseases to acute and chronic traumas. Because it manifests secondary to so many discrete types of medical problems, its symptoms are extremely varied and often similar to the symptoms of other medical conditions. Some neuropathy patients, for example, have tremors. But how can you know if your shaking hand is actually a neuropathic tremor and not a tremor associated with another kind of medical problem? Here’s what you need to know:
What is a Neuropathic Tremor?
There are many different kinds of tremors. There are tremors that occur only when a person is at rest, and there are tremors that are present only when someone makes an intentional action (such as moving a fork to the mouth) or moves a body part against gravity. In many instances (except for idiopathic essential tremors, which have no known cause), tremors are a symptom of a specific medical condition. Patients with Parkinson’s disease, for instance, frequently have resting and re-emergent tremors (but no tremors when they move).
A neuropathic tremor is a specific type of tremor that occurs alongside peripheral nerve damage but in the absence of any other neurological disorder. It typically presents in the distal upper extremities, and, in many ways, acts like an essential tremor or action tremor; it becomes obvious when patients try to do a certain action. However, unlike essential tremors (which, as mentioned above, have no attributed cause) and other action tremors (like those experienced by people with multiple sclerosis), neuropathic tremors are not present in patients with any type of neurological disease other than peripheral neuropathy.
Diagnosing Neuropathy Tremors
The best way to determine if you or a loved one has a neuropathic tremor is to see a peripheral neuropathy specialist. Specifically trained to recognize and treat neuropathic issues, a peripheral neuropathy specialist will be able to help ascertain whether or not a patient’s tremor could be part of a larger problem or is an isolated effect of nerve damage only.
The Central Iowa Neuropathy Advantage
Experiencing any type of tremor can be extremely inconvenient, as well as worrisome. While neuropathic tremors are relatively slight and don’t often profoundly impact daily living (at least in the beginning and not as much as some other types of tremors), neuropathic tremors can be annoying and scary. At Central Iowa Neuropathy, we offer a variety of treatments that have been shown to increase blood flow to nerves in the extremities, rejuvenating them so that nerve damage is mitigated and more normal function returns to the hands and feet. Indeed, many of our patients experience noticeable relief from their tremors after receiving treatment with us. Please contact our office to learn more about the options that are available for treating neuropathic tremors.