The peripheral nervous system (PNS) is the part of your body that allows you to breathe, digest food and move your arms and legs. It is the communicator that connects the central nervous system (your brain and spinal cord) to your limbs and organs.
“When your PNS is working correctly, your body functions as a cohesive whole,” says Andrew Godbey, MD, MSPH, neurologist, Saint Francis Medical Partner.
Divided into three main parts, the PNS includes the somatic nervous system controlling voluntary movements such as arms and legs; sensory nervous systems controlling senses such as touch and the autonomic nervous system controlling functions over which you have little control.
“There are hundreds of nerves throughout your PNS,” says Godbey. “When one of those nerves is damaged or compressed, it can affect the system as a whole. My job is to identify and treat nerve dysfunction.”