April 18, 2016

Burning Pain, Tingling, Numbness, Weakness in Hands and Feet?

Do you experience burning pain, tingling, numbness, and/or weakness in your hands, feet, arms, and/or legs? You may have neuropathy.
Click here to learn about neuropathy symptoms.

Newly diagnosed? Think you have neuropathy but can’t get a proper diagnosis? Read our educational booklet we distribute to neurologists for their new patients with neuropathy.(Click here).

To access the handout for this video, please click here.

Neuropathy might be the most common disease that you’ve never heard of. An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of neuropathy*. That’s an astounding 1 in 15 people- we estimate that over 1.8 million Texans have neuropathy.

In the US, neuropathy affects more people than all these better-known diseases combined*:

Alzheimer’s Disease 5,700,000
Epilepsy 3,400,000
Rheumatoid Arthritis 1,300,000
HIV 1,100,000
Parkinson’s Disease 1,000,000
Multiple Sclerosis 1,000,000
Total 13,500,000

Diabetic Neuropathy, Chemo-Induced Neuropathy, HIV/ AIDS… What’s Causing My Numbness, Tingling, and Burning Pain?

Click here to learn about causes of neuropathy.


Diagnosing and Treating Your Numbness, Tingling, and Pain in your Hands and Feet

Click here for diagnosis information and treatment options.


Peripheral Neuropathy: What does it mean?

Peripheral Neuropathy means “sickness” of the peripheral nerves, a disorder of the peripheral nervous system that impairs its ability to communicate between the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body (arms, legs and face). When the peripheral nervous system is damaged, these messages are not transmitted properly. For example, if you feel like you have numbness, tingling, burning pain, or weakness in your hands and/or feet, your brain thinks you are experiencing these symptoms, when really there is nothing wrong with your hands or feet.

Peripheral Nerves and Central Nervous System

There are many different types of neuropathy, and symptoms and treatment options vary case-by-case.  The different neuropathies can be classified by the type of nerve cell affected (motor, sensory and/or autonomic), the type of nerve damage (axonal or demyelinating), and the cause.

Motor nerves = from spinal cord to muscles
Sensory nerves = from sensory organelle (ie, skin) to spinal cord

  • Large fiber sensory neuropathy (symptoms experienced = position sense and balance)
  • Small fiber sensory neuropathy (symptoms experienced = pain and temperature)

Autonomic nerves = control blood pressure, sweating, bladder function, heart rate, digestion, etc.

Diagram of a sensory nerve (above) and a motor nerve (below):

Why is neuropathy not better known?

  • Because it is often misdiagnosed.
  • Because it is often the side effect of another disease like diabetes.
  • Because patients are often told their symptoms are “in their heads.”
  • Because people with neuropathy often look “normal.”

*Sources:  The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy (2018), Alzheimer’s Association (2018), Epilepsy Foundation (2018), American College of Rheumatology (2018), Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (2018), National Multiple Sclerosis Society (2018).


For more information, please feel free to visit our partner organization’s website, The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy.