Extremity pain can have several causes. Repetitive motion injuries that result in excessive wear and tear on the joints are a common cause of extremity pain, especially of the hands when a person types or writes all day. Another common pain is nerve pain, otherwise known as neuropathy. Neuropathy in itself has several causes. It is commonly a sign of diabetes and is caused by poor circulation or a lack of oxygenated blood flow to the area over a long period of time. Extremity pain may also be the result of nerve damage near the spinal cord due to conditions like spinal stenosis or a pinched nerve in the neck.
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that affects the nerves that travel away from the spinal column. The peripheral nerves extend away from the spine and travel throughout the body to the extremities. Neuropathy occurs when those nerves are damaged either by an injury or an illness. Peripheral neuropathy is normally characterized by numbness and tingling. Patients often report muscle weakness and stabbing or searing pain in the extremities. The extent of the damage will determine the severity of the symptoms presented. If the damage actually penetrates through the myelin sheath coating and begins to affect the nerve directly, the pain may become quite severe.
There is no cure for peripheral neuropathy or nerve damage. When extremity pain does occur, the doctor will begin to treat the cause of the pain and then they will focus on the symptoms. If the neuropathy is caused by poor circulation that is related to diabetes, the doctor will make an attempt to improve circulation and maintain normal blood sugar levels. When extremity pain is the result of repetitive motion activities such as playing tennis, typing or swinging a golf club, the doctor will begin to offer physical therapy as well as other types of exercises that will help strengthen the joint so that it functions more efficiently and the blood circulates freely through the area.