Signs and Symptoms of Nerve Damage

Symptoms of neuropathy depend on the type of nerve(s) affected (e.g., motor, sensory, autonomic) and where the nerve is located in the body. One or more types of nerve may be damaged.

Muscle weakness, cramps and spasms are associated with motor nerve damage. In some cases, neuropathy can cause a loss of balance and coordination.

Sensory nerve damage can produce tingling, numbness and pain. Pain associated with sensory nerve damage is variously described as:

  • Sensation of wearing an invisible "glove" or "sock"
  • Burning, freezing, or electric-like
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch

If the autonomic nerves are damaged, involuntary functions may be affected. Symptoms that can result from this type of damage include:

Some neuropathies develop suddenly; others progress slowly, even over a number of years. Severity varies among individuals and may vary in the same individual throughout the day. Symptoms of neuropathy generally are more severe at night.

Publication Review By: Sandeep K. Aggarwal, M.D., Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 31 Dec 1999

Last Modified: 13 Dec 2011