small fiber peripheral neuropathy symptoms

Small Fiber Neuropathy Symptoms

Small fiber neuropathy (SFN), a specific type of peripheral neuropathy treated at The Nerve & Disc Institute, primarily affects the small sensory and autonomic nerve fibers. These fibers are crucial for transmitting pain, temperature sensations, and regulating autonomic functions like heart rate and digestion. Unlike broader neuropathies that may involve larger motor nerves, small fiber neuropathy specifically impacts these smaller fibers, leading to distinct symptoms such as intense pain, temperature sensitivity, and autonomic dysfunctions.

Symptoms Specific to SFN

At The Nerve & Disc Institute, patients with small fiber neuropathy often report severe, localized pain that can be burning, tingling, or sharp, especially in the extremities. This pain often worsens during rest or at night. Other symptoms include abnormal reactions to temperature changes and, due to affected autonomic fibers, issues like gastrointestinal disturbances and abnormal sweating, which are less common in other neuropathies.

Diagnosis and Differentiation from Peripheral Neuropathy

Diagnosing small fiber neuropathy involves differentiating it from other peripheral neuropathies, a process emphasized at The Nerve & Disc Institute. This involves conducting skin biopsies to measure nerve fiber density and employing Quantitative Sensory Testing (QST) to evaluate the nerve’s response to changes in temperature and vibration. These diagnostic tools help confirm small fiber neuropathy by highlighting the involvement of small sensory and autonomic fibers, distinguishing it from conditions affecting larger nerve fibers.

Managing Small Fiber Neuropathy

The Nerve & Disc Institute’s approach to managing small fiber neuropathy includes tailored treatments that address the unique symptoms and underlying causes of this condition. Pain management strategies may involve the use of anticonvulsants, antidepressants, and topical treatments like capsaicin cream. Managing the autonomic symptoms of small fiber neuropathy requires specific treatments such as cardiovascular medications or digestive aids, depending on the patient’s particular symptoms. Lifestyle modifications, including dietary changes and physical therapy, are also integral to the treatment plan, focusing on enhancing overall nerve health and alleviating the sensory and autonomic disruptions characteristic of small fiber neuropathy.

By employing these specialized strategies, The Nerve & Disc Institute aims to alleviate the symptoms of small fiber neuropathy and improve the quality of life for those affected, providing a comprehensive and effective approach to nerve care that addresses both the symptoms and their root causes.