Peripheral Neuropathy is a disorder of the peripheral nerves-the motor, sensory and autonomic nerves that connect the
spinal cord to muscles, skin and internal organs. It usually affects the feet but can also affect the hands and balance (gait)
causing weakness, numbness, tingling and sometimes severe chronic pain. Peripheral Neuropathy's course is variable; it can
come and go, slowly progressing over many years, or it can become severe and debilitating. However, if diagnosed early, can sometimes
be slowed and/or controlled.
MY PERSONAL SYMPTOMS Advanced Axonal Sensory & Autonomic polyneuropathy.
(DVA Accepted disorder) Cause - Nutritional deficiency (alcohol). Mine started in my left foot and toes, pins
& needles then after I ceased alcohol progressed to my right side and into
both arms, hands, fingers and then internally into the heart (irregular heart rate) . Last year aged 65, my GP took
my driver's licence off me, as I can't feel anything from my knees down nor from my shoulders down, and poor
coordination. Go to the top of page 3 of this website for those wishing to view Australia's Driving Standards and their medical
I use a walking aide for balance, and a Mobility Scooter when eventually supplied by
the Dept of Veterans Affairs.
There are symptoms of autonomic neuropathy affecting absence of foot odour (sweating), dry cracked and ulcerated skin
under my feet, loss of sexual function, dry mouth and Eyes, low blood pressure, urination hesitancy, and irregular rapid
heart rate, to name just a few! I have extreme muscle weakness in lower & upper limbs, I MUST have rail supports
when using entering or exiting steps or stairs, as its unsafe without rails due to the fact
I can't lift my feet high enough, they drag, catch and I fall. I possess moderate loss of digital dexterity,
"unable to grip objects with my hands, intermittently", lift objects above the level of my waist due to lack of strength/
permanent nerve damage or have any power to thrown any objects. (Rail supports are necessary in the toilet and shower)
I am Romberg Positive, that is, if I close my eyes or bend down/forward I loose my balance and fall over.
My Sensory neuropathic symptoms are very severe, my feet and legs have "constant pins & needles and tightness" (Glove/sock,
constant feeling around my feet, you don't know whether or not you are wearing socks/shoes). Pain NOT fully relieved
by any medication, at best 40-60% on some days on other days no pain relief is possible, pure agony, which makes my Anxiety/depression/mood
swings more acute. I have difficulty walking more than 20 meters without stoping, and when laying flat the
pain is always exacerbated. I prefer to sit, even standing aggravates the soles of my feet and causes them
to burn. I ALWAYS NEED a bed cradle to keep the sheets off my feet and legs, or sleep with the sheets/blankets
off my lower limbs so NOT to exacerbated the pain by touch, without a cradle I can't sleep! I generally get at best
even with a cradle only 3-6 hours sleep per night, I have great difficulty getting to sleep or awake about 3am on most
mornings during summer without air conditioning. I have to take Serepax 30mg to sedate myself, the neuropathic
feet pain is so severe that I constantly experienced suicidal ideation, I have attempted that twice, maybe third time lucky? It
has now progressed to my upper arms & hands, fingers, symptoms of pins & needles and numbess and sensitivity 24/7 there
is also major weakness on the Right side of my body
(possible caused by infrequent mini TIA's/ strokes)
following some atrial fibrillation (autonomic neuropathy) attacks mainly precipitated by Stress or chronic anxiety, I
can't pronounce words or form sentences, a sign of having had a mini stroke, generally it only last 24 hours and my speech
returns to normal, a MRI recently, revealed scaring on my brain.
The disease itself causes ataxia (loss
of balance) however my medication 'Lyrica' Pfizer, also causes loss of balance, and excessive weight gain (increased
appetite) and when depressed I comfort eat, or don't feel like eating, The weight gain affects other organs and can't
be reduced by diet and as I can't walk any great distance or use an exercise bike (because of my Heart condition)
I can't reduce the excessive weight, and then there's the loss of feet sense, loss of Position Sense (my brain
doesn't communicate with my feet) in that, they don't step high enough and I trip then, loose my balance and incur infrequent
The constant pain generated from my lower extermities (feet & legs) 'pins &
needles/intermittent electric shocks' severely exacerbates my diagnosed military related PTSD (Chronic Anxiety) & Depression.
Thus causing frequent suicidal ideation made worse by the fact I can't be safely prescribe any psychiatric medications.
Meditation/Relaxation/Tia Chi have NOT totally relieved my
neuropathic pain in the short or long term, but it does reduced my (PTSD) Anxiety & depression symptoms.
Please be mindful though,
NOT all sufferers have this degree of discomfort & disability!
My medications are Lyrica (pregabalin) 375mg daily (225mg mane (morning) and 150mg
at bedtime), plus Endone (oxycodone) 15mg, (5mg morning/10mg bedtime),
some days must top up on extra
5mg prn (as required). (I have increased my Lyrica to 600mg daily however it never deceased my lower limb/feet pain, I find
425mg is my therapeutic medium daily dosage).
I can't be treated for PTSD/Major depression/mood swings due
to the fact that all Psychiatric medications have and can cause Irregular Heart Rate/Palpitations, and in my case I already
have Arrhythmia/Atrial Fibrillation (Autonomic internal nerve damage), to take these psychiatric drugs would more than
probably cause at least a partial or fatal Stroke. Suicide is a real possibly due to the fact that when I get severe
major depression and can't be medicated I can't see any light at the end of the tunnel only continuous suffering and want
to end my suffering, I need a place of safety to recover and sedation.
What triggers the PTSD? Any
forms of 'Betrayal', 'Smells of Asian Cooking', 'Talking about my overseas service and Islamic religion', at all costs I try
to avoid these triggers.
I Have NEVER had family social support, my brother (younger by 4 years) has
never seen military service and has never attempted to understand my mental torment, his response is, Dept. of Veterans
Affairs pays your pension get them to support you, the department have sent him numerous brochures on PTSD and depression
to no response. Although he is professionally educated (Accountant/Senior Queensland Public Servant) he lacks any
integrity, especially empathy, he has an Autocratic personality, he won't assist or communicate, its do as I say he doesn't
I don't want negativity in my life, only positive people. I have my own friends, especially
ex-servicemen but they all live kilometres away from me, I have NO local social supports.
I hope your family
is more understanding and supportive?
Can Peripheral Neuropathy Be Cured?
of peripheral neuropathy can be cured, however most can not, having said that, many can be helped
with pain management with one or more medications. Therapy is directed at treating the underlying disease and at
improving the symptoms with the right medications. An experienced Neurologist, Psychiatrist and/or Pain Specialist can
help sufferer's understand and manage their disease, whereby giving them greater quality of life. Pain
control varies between 40-65% per individual.
What causes neuropathy?
There are many causes of neuropathy: Diabetes,Cancer tumours, Chemotherapy, Alcohol, Autoimmune disorders HIV/AIDs, Spinal
injury, or a result of spinal surgery, prescription Medications, Toxins, and Nutritional imbalances to name just a few.
The following webpages, details the various illnesses and certain prescription medications that can cause this insidious