Neuropathy can manifest itself in a variety of symptoms. The symptoms may be isolated or in combination, constant or intermittent, and mild to severe. Common symptoms include:
Peripheral neuropathy can cause a sensation of tingling or pins and needles in the affected areas, similar to the sensation of when a limb is "asleep."
Peripheral neuropathy is often characterized by a loss of sensation, up to complete numbness. This may begin in a finger or toe and then spread progressively up the limb.
Sufferers may feel like their limbs are on fire or freezing cold, though the skin is a normal temperature. These symptoms can cause extreme pain and discomfort.
Those with neuropathy may experience sudden, sharp, intense pain that feels like an electrical shock. They may also experience buzzing sensations.
There can be a variety of other pain sensations related to peripheral neuropathy. There may be sudden shooting pains, sharp jabbing or stabbing, a feeling like one is walking on rocks, glass, or tacks, and even a general aching. Some symptoms may feel electrical in nature like ittle lightning strikes.
It's a little ironic that even while the limbs can feel numb or tingling or have other loss of sensation, there can simultaneously be a heightened sensitivity to pressure or touch. Shoes or even socks or stockings can cause increased pain. Bedclothes can become intolerable. Even someone or something brushing across the affected area can be painful.
This is the feeling one might have of having on a sock or stocking on the foot or a glove on the hand, when they are actually bare.
Balance and coordination can be impaired for several reasons. The loss of ability to feel one's feet can cause a PN sufferer to compensate with abnormal ways of walking in an attempt to create stability. Muscles can atrophy, lose control, or have impaired dexterity. There can be general weakness and an inability to grasp objects. Tripping and falls may be common. A person with neuropathy may not be able to properly determine his/her position in space without a reference. If a person walks by sight they may not be able to walk in the dark.
Though neuropathy usually occurs in the limbs, it can also affect the autonomic nerves, which control involuntary or semi-voluntary functions. Damage to these nerves can cause blurred vision, dizziness, heat intolerance, gastrointestinal problems, and impotence.