Stress is common in many health conditions. One is neuropathy, a nerve disorder that can cause numbness, tingling, and pain in the hands and feet. Neuropathy is often caused by physical factors such as injury or disease. But stress can also play a significant role in its development and progression. When the body is under stress, it releases hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. They can damage nerves and lead to inflammation and cell damage. Over time, this can contribute to developing neuropathy and other nerve-related disorders. Besides physical changes, stress can also affect mental health. It leads to neurological symptoms of stress, such as anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances. All of them can contribute to nerve damage and neuropathy. But many strategies exist for managing stress and reducing its impact on the body. They include mindfulness practices, exercise, and relaxation techniques. By taking these steps to manage stress, you can help protect your nerves. After reading this article, you will be able to maintain burning sensation anxiety.
Can Stress Cause Neuropathy?
Stress is not a direct cause of neuropathy, but it can exacerbate existing nerve damage. It also contributes to the development of nerve damage. Chronic stress can affect nerve function, such as:
- decreased blood flow;
- increased oxidative stress.
Also, stress can lead to poor lifestyle choices contributing to nerve damage. For example, stress can cause people to:
- eat unhealthy foods;
- drink alcohol;
- smoke cigarettes;
- engage in other unhealthy behaviors that can damage the nerves over time.
Furthermore, stress can cause or exacerbate conditions leading to anxiety and peripheral neuropathy. As a rule, it can be diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and other chronic illnesses. For example, stress can raise blood sugar levels. As it damages the nerves over time and leads to diabetic neuropathy.
It’s important to note that stress may contribute to neuropathy, but it is not the only factor. Various underlying conditions, including diabetes or autoimmune disorders, can cause neuropathy.
Neurological Symptoms of Stress
The most common symptoms of nervousness are fever, headache, and body shivering. This malaise results from stress, whether a fight with a loved one or a deadline at work. It is not uncommon for strange, unexplained symptoms to appear after stress. And you cannot resolve this by going to a therapist. The following neurological symptoms of stress can be:
- Your body gives the first signals when the symptoms of nervous stress are not yet noticeable. You become more irritable and distracted;
- If you do not give your body a rest and do not put your nervous system in order, apathy will appear;
- The next stage is insomnia, which worsens your general condition;
- Then you may experience headaches and weight fluctuations. It can be strong gain due to stress overeating or vice versa, significant weight loss due to lack of appetite.
And the problem is that by getting rid of certain symptoms, we ignore the cause of the stress itself. That’s why it’s important to listen to your body. You should not ignore the symptoms of an emotional cause of neuropathy. It is important not to forget that self-treatment does not lead to anything good. So you should contact specialized doctors to understand the root causes of symptoms.
Stress can cause tension headaches, the most common type of headache. Tension headaches are usually mild to moderate in intensity. They are often described as a band squeezing around the head. Headaches can be due to muscle tension in the neck and shoulders.
Chronic stress can lead to exhaustion and fatigue, even if you get enough sleep. Stress can disrupt the normal functioning of the adrenal glands. They produce hormones that regulate energy levels. This can result in feelings of fatigue, burning sensation, anxiety, and a lack of motivation.
Stress can trigger feelings of anxiety, worry, and nervousness. They can affect your behavior and thinking. Anxiety can cause physical symptoms such as:
- a racing heartbeat;
- shortness of breath.
It can also cause you to avoid certain situations that trigger anxiety and peripheral neuropathy.
Chronic stress can lead to feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and helplessness. They can contribute to depression. Study shows that stress can cause a decrease in the production of serotonin. It is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood. This can lead to depression and a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed.
Stress can interfere with your ability to focus and remember things. It makes concentrating difficult. This can cause you to forget important details or tasks. Memory problems can affect your work or school performance.
Neurological symptoms of stress can lead to digestive problems like stomach pain, bloating, and constipation. Stress can cause the release of hormones that affect the digestive system. So it leads to inflammation and discomfort.
Numbness or tingling
Chronic stress can cause a pins-and-needles sensation in your extremities. They are possibly related to nerve problems. Burning sensations and anxiety can cause the release of hormones that affect nerve function. It will lead to numbness or tingling sensations in the hands, feet, or other parts of the body.
Types of nerve pain caused by anxiety
Anxiety can cause different types of nerve pain, including:
- Generalized pain. Anxiety can cause generalized nerve pain, a dull, aching, or burning pain. You may feel it throughout the body. This type of pain is often described as a “pins-and-needles” sensation. It can be accompanied by tingling or numbness.
- Muscle pain. Anxiety and peripheral neuropathy can cause muscle tension, which can lead to muscle pain. This type of pain can be felt in the neck, shoulders, back, and other body parts. Muscle pain can be dull or sharp, making it difficult to move or perform normal activities.
- Neuropathic pain. Emotional causes of neuropathy can cause neuropathic pain. This type of pain can be sharp, shooting, or burning and can be in the hands, feet, or other body parts. Neuropathic pain can also cause numbness, tingling, or weakness in the affected area.
- Gastrointestinal pain. Anxiety can cause gastrointestinal (GI) pain. It is due to nerve dysfunction in the digestive system. This can cause abdominal pain, bloating, and discomfort. GI pain can also cause changes in bowel movements, such as diarrhea or constipation.
Anxiety and Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that affects:
- the nerves outside of the brain;
- spinal cord.
Anxiety is not a direct cause of peripheral neuropathy. But anxiety and stress can exacerbate neurological symptoms of stress and worsen the condition.
People with anxiety tend to have neuropathic pain more than those without anxiety. This may be because anxiety can cause health problems, such as:
- increased sensitivity to pain;
- decreased blood flow to the nerves.
Also, anxiety can make it harder to cope with the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. For example, anxiety can cause muscle tension and pain, exacerbating neuropathic pain. Burning sensation anxiety can also interfere with sleep. So it makes pain management and other symptoms of peripheral neuropathy harder.
Stress management techniques to improve neurological condition
When stressed and anxious, it is difficult to manage emotions. But breathing exercises help to relax and cope. There are various breathing techniques, such as:
- deep breaths;
- slow exhalation.
They can quickly affect the person’s mental state. Also, you can try breathing exercises in different positions or relax in bed or a chair. Breathing exercises can be used for a short break or to go to sleep. People who exercise regularly can easily maintain neurological symptoms of stress. They have better stamina, and are more stress-resistant and enduring. Lack of sleep is a major cause of stress and health problems, which leads to poor mood and well-being. Even positive thinking helps the mind to be in a better mood. You have to focus on your mental and physical health and learn to listen to yourself and your body. And you can read about other techniques to deal with anxiety and peripheral neuropathy below.
Mindfulness meditation is a technique that involves focusing on the present moment. So you need to accept thoughts and feelings without judgment. This can help reduce stress and anxiety and improve well-being.
Breathing exercises involve taking slow, deep breaths to promote relaxation and reduce stress. One example is diaphragmatic breathing. It involves breathing deeply from the diaphragm rather than from the chest.
Yoga combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation to promote relaxation and reduce stress. It has been shown to effectively reduce pain and improve physical function in people with neuropathy.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
CBT is a type of therapy for the emotional cause of neuropathy. It can help change negative thought patterns and behaviors that may contribute to stress and anxiety. It can also help improve coping skills and promote relaxation.
If you have peripheral neuropathy and anxiety, working with a healthcare provider is important. A neurologist can develop a treatment plan that takes both conditions into account. It may include medications to relieve anxiety and pain. Neurology consultations from Lone Star Neurology can also help improve your pain-coping skills.
- Why does stress make neuropathy worse?
Stress can make neuropathy worse by increasing inflammation, reducing blood flow to the nerves, and causing changes in the nervous system that can contribute to neuropathic pain and other symptoms.
- What helps calm neuropathy?
Some things that may help calm neuropathy include medications, stress management techniques such as mindfulness meditation or yoga, regular exercise, and a healthy diet rich in nutrients like vitamin B12, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Can stress mimic neuropathy?
Stress and anxiety can contribute to neuropathy symptoms. But stress itself does not typically mimic neuropathy. However, stress can cause symptoms similar to neuropathy, such as numbness, tingling, and pain in the hands and feet.
- Can I prevent stress-induced neuropathy?
Yes, some stress management techniques may help reduce the risk of developing neuropathic symptoms. It can be reducing stress through regular exercise or mindfulness meditation. It’s also important to manage underlying medical conditions contributing to neuropathy, such as diabetes and autoimmune disorders.
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