What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy is a painful condition that is known to affect the nerves of the extremities. There is a big network of nerves that are not part of the brain and spinal cord system, which are known as peripheral nerves. If they become damaged through certain health problems, surgery or accident then they can cause some symptoms including pain that ranges from tingling and numbness to stabbing and shooting. This can affect a person’s day to day life and even affect their sleep. The condition can cause symptoms that come and go, however over time, the gap between attacks tends to get closer and closer if the underlying cause cannot be resolved until the pain is pretty much constant.
Must Read: What are the Cause peripheral neuropathy
Lack of distraction
Many people that have been diagnosed with Peripheral Neuropathy find that their pain worsens in the evening, but are unsure as to why. There are many theories on this subject with the first being that there is less to distract you. Just as when something is playing on your mind, it does so more when you are trying to sleep pain can manifest in the same way. When the room is quiet, and you are not moving around you will be more likely to feel the pain of peripheral neuropathy. As you are trying to get to sleep and may already be tired from having a day of pain, it can become more and more frustrating causing your muscles to tense and your brain to focus on the pain more. This is because there is nothing else taking up your mind space.
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Studies to eliminate other factors
To validity, the reports of peripheral neuropathy worsening for patients further studies were taken to find out whether there were other factors that could explain the night time pain including age, gender, and co-existing conditions. After studying a range of people with different backgrounds, the results showed that the majority found their condition worsened in the evening causing them problems with their sleep.
Muscular pain is something that most people find is at its worst when they wake up, whereas peripheral neuropathy pain is at its most extreme at night. This is one way that specialists can differentiate between the types of pain a patient is experiencing. It is though that the circadian rhythms can reduce pain threshold in the peripheral nerves which makes it more painful for those suffering from the condition.
Circadian rhythm changes
The character of pain may also be helpful. Neuropathic pain is much more likely to be described a shooting, stabbing, burning, or searing, and it’s often worse at night (a potential distinction from most muscular pain). This is also distinct from inflammatory pain, which tends to be worse first thing in the morning, and during activity. The reason that neuropathic pain is often worse at night may relate to the lack of normal input to the nervous system as well as circadian rhythms in pain thresholds. The circadian rhythms at night are different from those during the day which could explain why so many people with peripheral neuropathic pains suffer from sleep problems as a result.
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