Peripheral neuritis

Peripheral Neuritis

Peripheral neuritis is an inflammation of the peripheral nerves that can cause pain, numbness, and weakness. It’s usually linked to an infection or autoimmune condition. It can also be caused by physical trauma or a toxic substance. Peripheral neuritis can affect any nerve, but it most often affects the feet, hands, and arms.

Symptoms of Peripheral Neuritis

Symptoms of peripheral neuritis vary, depending on the location of the affected nerve. Symptoms may include:

  • Tingling, burning, and itching sensations
  • Pain in the affected area
  • Numbness or muscle weakness
  • Difficulty controlling muscle movement

Causes of Peripheral Neuritis

The most common cause of peripheral neuritis is an infection. Viruses and bacteria can cause inflammation of the peripheral nerves, which can trigger neuritis. In some cases, the cause of peripheral neuritis is autoimmune. In these cases, your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues, leading to inflammation and nerve damage.

Peripheral neuritis can also be caused by physical trauma or as a result of exposure to certain drugs or toxins. Examples include the antibiotic agent called chloramphenicol, chemotherapy medications, and the herb comfrey.

Diagnosis of Peripheral Neuritis

Your doctor will perform a physical exam and take a medical history. Certain genetic tests may be ordered to help determine the cause of the neuritis. Imaging tests, such as an MRI or a CT scan, may also be ordered to look for signs of nerve damage. An electrophysiological test, such as an electromyography (EMG), may also be ordered to measure the electrical signals generated by your nerves.

Treatment of Peripheral Neuritis

Treatment of peripheral neuritis depends on the underlying cause. If the cause is an infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or antiviral medications to treat it. If it’s caused by a physical trauma, physical therapy may be used to help with pain and to reduce inflammation. In some cases, surgery may be necessary.

If the cause of peripheral neuritis is unknown, your doctor may prescribe medications to reduce pain and inflammation. Steroid and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are often used. In severe cases, some people may require surgery to repair the affected nerves.