Peripheral Nerve Disorders

Neurological Associates of West Los Angeles

Neurology Specialists located in Santa Monica, CA

Although nerve damage is associated with pain, tingling, and numbness, peripheral nerve disorders lead to many other varied symptoms, depending on the type of nerve affected. Edward J. O’Connor, MD, FAAN, and Russ Shimizu, MD, at Neurological Associates of West Los Angeles have extensive experience determining the cause of peripheral nerve disorders and providing innovative treatments that effectively relieve symptoms and help nerves heal. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Santa Monica, California, or use the online booking feature.

Peripheral Nerve Disorders Q & A

What causes peripheral nerve disorders?

Peripheral nerve disorders, also called peripheral neuropathy, occur when nerves can’t function because they’re damaged. Your peripheral nerves include motor nerves that run from the brain to your body and control movement, sensory nerves that deliver messages about sensations to your brain, and autonomic nerves that control essential functions like your heart and digestion.

Peripheral neuropathies are often caused by:

  • Diabetes (diabetic neuropathy is the most common type of nerve disorder)
  • Physical trauma
  • Blood vessel conditions
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Viral and bacterial infections
  • Kidney and liver disease
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Environmental toxins

Another type of peripheral nerve disorder, called entrapment neuropathy, causes pain and loss of function due to chronic compression of the nerves.

What symptoms might I develop from peripheral nerve disorders?

Your symptoms depend on if its a motor, sensory, or autonomic nerve that’s damaged.

  • Motor nerve damage: Muscle weakness, cramps or twitching, and shrinking muscles
  • Sensory nerve damage: Pain, tingling, numbness, sensitivity to touch, and a burning sensation
  • Autonomic nerve damage: Heat intolerance (excessive sweating), gastrointestinal problems, an irregular heartbeat, and dizziness

Keep in mind there are more symptoms than those reflected on this list. Additionally, symptoms aren’t always straightforward. For example, sensory nerve damage and motor nerve damage can both cause a loss of reflexes.

What are cranial nerve abnormalities?

You have 12 cranial nerves and all but one, the optic nerve, are peripheral nerves. Cranial nerves go from the brain to your head, neck, and trunk. Some control senses such as seeing, hearing, and taste, while others control facial muscles or regulate glands.

Cranial nerve abnormalities develop when one or more of the nerves are damaged by injuries, tumors, inflammation, or vascular disease leading to an insufficient blood supply. Certain drugs and toxins can also affect your cranial nerves.

Some of the most common cranial nerve abnormalities cause:

  • Loss of the sense of smell
  • Loss of eye movement or abnormal eye movement
  • Blindness
  • Hearing problems
  • Vertigo
  • Weakened facial muscles
  • Trigeminal neuralgia (chronic, severe facial pain)

Diagnosing cranial nerve abnormalities often requires brain imaging such as an MRI.

How are peripheral nerve disorders treated?

Your treatment begins by diagnosing and treating any underlying conditions causing your nerve disorder. The doctors at Neurological Associates of West Los Angeles offer innovative interventional procedures to treat peripheral nerve disorders, such as:

  • Epidural injections: steroids and anesthetics are injected to relieve pain
  • Nerve blocks: anesthetics are injected to block nerve signals
  • Spinal cord stimulation: uses mild electrical current to block or mask nerve signals
  • Infrared photon stimulation: uses infrared light to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and promote healing
  • Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG): treats neuropathies associated with immune system disorders

To get expert treatment for peripheral nerve disorders, call Neurological Associates of West Los Angeles or book an appointment online.