You wake up after a good night’s rest, ready to start the day. What’s the first thing you do? Your answer might be to put on your robe, or perhaps open the blinds to let the rays of the sun shine in, but there is something everyone does that you probably take for granted: you open your eyes, focus and expect to see a single image, like the digits on the clock beside your bed.
But one day, that seemingly automatic process that most of us don’t give a second thought to, doesn’t work so well. Instead of seeing a single image, you see double. And, that’s just one of the signs you might have focal neuropathy, a condition in which a nerve that controls a single muscle can lose its function.
Diabetes is the condition most commonly associated with neuropathy. Unlike other types of diabetic nerve pain, focal neuropathy comes on suddenly. It can be unpredictable, painful and, frankly, rather frightening. The better news is that it does tend to be fleeting, improving on its own over weeks, or months, and doesn’t cause long-term damage.
If you aren’t sure whether or not focal neuropathy is affecting your quality of life, these four signs will provide a good clue.
As mentioned, vision problems can be a sign that you have focal neuropathy. In addition to double vision, you might experience aching behind your eye or difficulty focusing. This occurs when one of your cranial nerves are affected. The cranial nerves, which are the 12 nerves that go directly from the brain to parts of your head and neck, carry sensation from your face, head, and neck to the brain. They also control the muscles in the face and throat, allowing you to see, hear, smell and taste, as well as to connect the balance center of your inner ear to the brain.
While many people believe the sudden paralysis on one side of the face, which causes it to droop, sometimes making it hard for you to close your eye on that side, is a sign of a stroke, in reality, there is no association. It can be a sign of focal neuropathy, however, as well as a number of other conditions. If you experience this, be sure to see your doctor right away so more serious causes can be ruled out.
Leg muscle pain
Focal neuropathy can also affect the legs, causing pain in very specific locations, such as in the front of your thigh, the outside of your shin or the inside of your foot. The soreness and pain may develop gradually, over a few weeks or months.
Weakness and pain in the back, chest or abdomen
Weakness and pain in the lower back that often extends to the thigh, and sometimes even causes paralysis, can be a sign of focal neuropathy. It can also cause pain in the band-shaped area around your chest or abdomen.
Just like it is highly important to know the signs of insulin resistance, it is important to know if you are suffering from focal neuropathy. Be sure to make an appointment with a health professional if you begin to experience any of the symptoms listed above.