ZocdocAnswersWhat (other than diabetes) causes severe neuropathy and pain .

Question

What (other than diabetes) causes severe neuropathy and pain .

I have numbness and very bad burning and pain in my feet hands and legs. My doctor said it is neuropathy. It started in only two of my toes. That is when I first noticed it and over the last 25 years has now engulfed both my feet and gone up into my legs. the pain and burning has kept me up in pain most nights and is unbearable at times. It is a burning like my feet are stuck in ice water yet are burning like on fire and a deep ache inside my foot. I also get sharp pains like pin pains in my feet and hands. I have also had episodes where my head started going numb too. I do not have diabetes. My question is... What other then diabetes causes severe neuropathy and pain?

Answer

First of all, let me say that I am very sorry that you are having these symptoms and that they have gone on for so long. I think you definitely merit evaluation by a neurologist to try to get to the bottom of this problem. Other than diabetes there are many other causes of neuropathy. Some of the most common include neuropathy related to chronic alcohol use or other drugs (including certain prescription drugs), exposure to toxic levels of heavy metals such as mercury, problems with the thyroid gland, and multiple vitamin deficiencies. Additionally there are several genetic causes of neuropathy, including Charcot Marie Tooth, which is probably the most common form of hereditary neuropathy. Additionally, neuropathy can develop subsequent to multiple infectious conditions,such as Lyme disease. After a referral from your primary care doctor, a neurologist should be able to help. In addition to a good physical examination, they may order additional specialist tests such as nerve conduction studies to better help define what type of nerve problem you have. Also, there are multiple prescription medications that can be used to help cut down on the pain and other unpleasant hot and cold and pins and needles sensations associated with the neuropathy.

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