Neuropathy does not exactly refer to a single disease, but in general it’s used to describe the problem that affects the nerves outside the central nervous system or peripheral neuropathy. It is described as a burning, electrical, shooting, pins-and-needles type of pain in the extremities. In some other cases, however, it may actually be RLS, or restless leg syndrome. RLS is also defined as pain in the extremities, especially during relaxation. According to The Clinical Advisor, “What can make a diagnosis difficult is when a patient has neuropathy and RLS, as the two can occur together.”
Those with neuropathy in Paramus, NJ would describe the pain as a burning or tingling sensation. What type of nerves are affected depends on the individual, but most of the time it starts in the longest nerves which are those that reach the toes. Three main types of nerve can be affected: the autonomic nerves, the motor nerves or the sensory nerves.
On the other hand, RLS is described as an urge to move the legs which are most often followed by uncomfortable sensations in the legs. This can begin during rest and worsen during those times as well or when there is inactivity involved such as sitting or lying down. The urges or the sensations can be relieved partially when the person moves, for example when they take a walk or if they stretch.
A notable difference between neuropathy and RLS is that the pain of the former does not change depending on the time of day while the latter happens and/or worsens in the evening or night. When it comes to determining whether it is neuropathy or RLS, the key is to find out when the pain occurs and if movement gives it relief.
Neuropathy can be treated by targeting the underlying cause, whether single or multiple are affected. RLS, meanwhile, can be treated in similar fashion. By finding the medical condition associated with them, the symptoms can be controlled.
Those who may be experiencing symptoms of either neuropathy or RLS should get in touch with a Paramus, NJ neuropathy doctor such as one from MedWell Spine, OsteoArthritis & Neuropathy Center. Such a doctor can do an evaluation and design and formulate proper diagnosis and a treatment plan.
Is it restless leg syndrome or neuropathy? The Clinical Advisor, March 11, 2015
Restless Legs Syndrome Fact Sheet, NIH