Neuropathic pain is most often caused by damaged nerve fibers, and to those suffering from it, often seems to have no obvious cause or origin. Some of the most common causes of neuropathic pain and damaged nerve fibers include.
Alcohol: Excess alcohol consumption can cause damage to your nerve fibers, usually as a result of nutritional deficiencies such as thiamine and other B vitamins that result from prolonged periods of excess alcohol intake.
Autoimmune diseases: Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, and systemic lupus erythematosus can cause inflammation to tissues, that over time, can damage nerve fibers.
Diabetes: High blood sugar levels can damage small blood vessels and nerve fibers, and due to the elevated levels of blood sugar usually found in diabetics, it is not surprising that it is the leading cause of neuropathic pain.
Cancer: Many cancers, especially lymphoma and multiple myeloma contribute to neuropathy. Toxins from cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation treatment can also cause peripheral neuropathy.
Connective Tissue Diseases: Diseases that affect your connective tissues such as rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, and systemic lupus erythematosus can lead to neuropathy due to inflammation and the body’s attacking its own tissues.
Endocrine disorders: Endocrine disorders can lead to hormonal imbalances that often disturb normal metabolic processes and cause neuropathy. For example, low thyroid hormones can cause fluid retention and swelling in the tissues, that puts pressure on peripheral nerves and damages them.
HIV or AIDS: People with HIV and AIDS who get neuropathy, usually suffer distal symmetrical polyneuropathy, which is a type of neuropathy that starts in the extremities, affects both sides of the body, and involves multiple nerves. It can also be caused by anti-HIV medications, in which case it’s called antiretroviral toxic neuropathy.
Infections: Many bacteria and viruses can attack and damage nerves, causing neuropathy.
Idopathic (unknown): Neuropathic pain is often very complex, and in many cases, the exact cause of neuropathy cannot be determined.
Injury (trauma): Injuries from automobile accidents, sports, falls, and even surgery, can damage nerves, leading to peripheral neuropathy.
Kidney Disorders: Kidney disorders can lead to high levels of toxins in the blood, causing nerve damage.
Medications: Certain drugs used to treat cancer, HIV, anticonvulsant agents, and some heart and blood pressure medications can cause peripheral neuropathy.
Metabolic disorders: Metabolic disorders can impair your body’s ability to turn nutrients into energy, and to get rid of waste products, which can lead to nerve damage.
Multiple Sclerosis: While multiple sclerosis does appear to cause neuropathy in many people with the disease, the exact reasons are not fully understood, and more research is needed.
Repetitive Stress: Repetitive or forceful activities that can cause irritation and inflammation in the ligaments, tendons, and muscles, which can constrict the narrow passages that many nerves pass through, causing them to become compressed, and leading to neuropathic pain.
Toxins: Exposure to toxins such as lead, mercury, arsenic, insecticides, and solvents can cause peripheral neuropathy.