10 Causes of Neuropathic Pain


Peripheral neuropathy is a condition caused by nerve damage. Symptoms include pain, numbness, weakness and tingling. Neuropathic pain has a number of causes including the following:


High levels of sugar in the blood can damage the nerves. Diabetes is a common cause of neuropathy.

Autoimmune diseases

Autoimmune diseases induce the immune system to mistakenly attack the nervous system damaging tissues and nerves. Sjögren’s syndrome, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis are examples of autoimmune diseases.


Any kind of injury can cause nerve damage resulting in neuropathy. Muscle or tissue damage can cause swelling in the tissues leading to nerve damage. Similarly, a broken bone can cause neuropathy.


Exposure to harmful chemicals, such as pesticides and insecticides, for extended periods can lead to neuropathy. Exposure to mercury, arsenic, thallium, and lead can also cause neuropathy.

Kidney and Liver Disorders

Kidney and liver disorders are also a common cause of neuropathy. When the kidneys and/or liver are unable to remove waste, toxins build up in the body and damage nerve tissue.

Infections and Viruses

Infections and viruses can harm nerve tissues and lead to neuropathy. Examples include: chicken pox, shingles, West Nile virus, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex, Lyme disease, and HIV.

Vitamin and/or hormone imbalances

Lack of the proper levels of vitamin B12 in the body can produce symptoms, such as muscle aches, dizziness and heart palpitations. Vitamin B12 deficiency damages the protective layer around the nerves. Excess vitamin B6 is also a known cause of neuropathy. Also, hormone imbalances in the body may inflame tissues which can put pressure on nerves causing neuropathy.


Cancer is one of the major causes of neuropathic pain, especially cancers that attack the nervous system. Tumors that grow in or close to the brain and spinal cord damage neighboring nerves resulting in neuropathy.

Cancer Treatments

Radiation and chemotherapy can damage nerves resulting in neuropathy.


Neuropathy does not always have a known cause; this type of neuropathy is referred to as idiopathic neuropathy.