More than 20 million Americans have peripheral neuropathy, which can cause chronic pain, weakness, tingling, numbness and balance issues. Peripheral Neuropathy – a disorder of the peripheral nerves that affects the hands and feet – can be helped, and in some cases cured.
For the best outcome, experience is key. The specialists of the Department of Neurology's Peripheral Neuropathy Center, at the University of Michigan Health System, have the experience, the newest treatments, and a multidisciplinary team to provide comprehensive, coordinated care. Our referral only Peripheral Neuropathy Center is a designated center of the Neuropathy Association – one of only several in the country. Our physicians are all board-certified subspecialists who are often called in for second opinions.
We treat the full spectrum of peripheral nerve disorders and neuropathy, including:
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Hereditary neuropathy
- Metabolic neuropathy – deficiencies in certain nutrients or vitamins
- Neuropathy associated with autoimmune disease – such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Neuropathy associated with infectious diseases
- Toxic neuropathy – including chemotherapy and exposure to heavy metals
- Traumatic neuropathy – including car accident or other injury
The peripheral nervous system consists of all the motor and sensory nerves that connect the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. Symptoms and physical findings associated with peripheral neuropathies vary from person to person, and often can be extremely complex.
To diagnose a specific neuropathy, we start with a comprehensive history, along with a standard panel of tests. Depending on your conditions, we may order a skin biopsy, a nerve biopsy, MRI, electromyography to measure the electrical activity of your muscles, and autonomic testing to check your autonomic nervous system.
We collaborate with a multidisciplinary team, including an endocrine specialist, physiatrist and neuropathologist with particular interest and training in peripheral nerve disorders, who assist in evaluation and treatment.
Treatment will depend on the type of neuropathy. While hereditary neuropathy has no cure, there are pain treatments, orthotics and rehabilitation options available to improve symptoms. For diabetic neuropathy, symptoms can be lessened with lifestyle counseling and pain control. Autoimmune disease neuropathy can be treated with immunosuppressant medications. For toxic neuropathy, we identify and discontinue the source. Patients undergoing chemotherapy may benefit from oral medications that can limit the extent of the neuropathy. And for traumatic neuropathy, options include rehabilitation or surgery.
We support and are actively involved in a number of research trials, for which you may be eligible to participate in, aimed at therapeutic and symptomatic treatment of neuropathy.
Schedule an appointment by calling 734-936-9020