Neuropathy


Neuropathy is damage to a nerve. Depending on which nerve or nerves are affected, neuropathy can have very different symptoms. Sensory neuropathy may present as numbness, tingling, burning, stabbing, or electrical pain. Motor neuropathy usually presents with weakness, muscle cramping, muscle atrophy, or fasciculations.

What is peripheral neuropathy?


Peripheral neuropathy refers to damage of smaller nerves in the extremities and often presents with pain, numbness, and burning in the feet and hands.

What causes peripheral neuropathy?


It is commonly caused by diabetes, but may be caused by a variety of other diseases, as well as by certain medications (especially chemotherapy) or by excessive alcohol consumption. It also may be idiopathic, meaning that no specific cause can be identified.

What is ilioinguinal neuropathy?


Ilioinguinal neuropathy causes pain in the groin area that may radiate to the abdomen, pelvis, or thigh. It is commonly injured as a result of a hernia or hernia repair surgery.

What is intercostal neuropathy?


Intercostal neuropathy causes pain that tracks along the course of a rib. It is commonly injured as a result of trauma to a rib (especially rib fractures) or during lung surgery (thoracotomy).

What is radiculopathy?


Radiculopathy is injury of a nerve root in the spine. It often happens as the result of a spine injury (disc herniation) or spondylosis (degenerative arthritis of the spine). When it occurs in the lumbar spine, it often causes sciatic pain down the leg. In the cervical spine, it causes pain into the shoulder and down the arm.

What is neuritis?


Neuritis indicates inflammation rather than damage to a nerve. Symptoms of neuritis are very similar to neuropathy, but because the nerves are only inflamed and not injured, it is far easier to treat.

What are shingles?


Shingles is a common form of neuritis that is caused by the Varicella Zoster virus (the virus that causes Chicken Pox). It commonly presents with a skin rash in a small area of the body called a dermatome. If not treated aggressively, the patient may develop post-herpetic neuralgia, a very painful, chronic pain in the area of the shingles rash.

What are the symptoms of neuropathy?


The symptoms of neuropathy or neuritis can be divided into sensory and motor functions and “negative” or “positive” symptoms. Sensory “negative” symptoms are related to loss of nerve function and include numbness, tremors, balance problems, or gait problems. “Positive” symptoms are related to abnormal firing of nerve signals and include pain, tingling, itching, burning, or stinging sensations.