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Peripheral nerve disorders

2-minute read

The peripheral nerves include the nerves outside your brain and spinal cord such as nerves of the face, arms, legs and torso. These peripheral nerves communicate between the brain and muscles, skin, and internal organs with electrical signals.

When damaged, peripheral nerves can't communicate properly. There are many diseases that can damage the peripheral nerves.  Examples include:

Peripheral nerves can also be damaged by physical injury including trauma (such as an accident), damage during surgery, or repetitive stress. Some people are born with peripheral nerve disorders.

If you have peripheral nerve damage you may experience symptoms including:

  • muscle problems, including weakness, cramps, twitching and wasting
  • sensory changes, including tingling, numbness, burning, or sharp pain, or shock
  • sensitivity to touch
  • low blood pressure

Depending on which nerves are affected, you might also experience bowel changes (such as diarrhoea or constipation), intolerance to heat, and other changes in your blood pressure that can make you feel light-headed.

Last reviewed: June 2018

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