What types of neuropathy are there?
Neuropathies are classified according to the clinical syndrome, pathological features, or etiology. Neuropathy may be diffuse, affecting many parts of the body, or focal, affecting a single, specific nerve and part of the body. Different doctors classify neuropathy differently. But there are a few well-known types of neuropathy.
Sensory neuropathy (or peripheral neuropathy, usually just called neuropathy) affects the nerves that carry information to the brain about sensations from various parts of the body - how hot or cold something is, what the texture of something feels like, the pain caused by a sharp object or heat, etc. This is the most common form of diabetic neuropathy.
Peripheral neuropathy is not a specific, separate disease. It is a manifestation of many conditions that can cause damage to the peripheral nerves. The peripheral nervous system includes all nerves not in the central nervous system (CNS), which includes the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system is the nerve system used by the CNS to communicate with the rest of the body, including the cranial nerves and the nerves supplying the internal organs, muscles, skin, and other areas. Damage to the nerves of the peripheral nervous system impairs communication between the CNS and the rest of the body.
Distal symmetric polyneuropathy. Distal symmetric polyneuropathy is the most common form of neuropathy. It strikes both sides of the body. The legs and feet are usually affected, although the hands may be also. People with this form of neuropathy have numbness and prickling sensations or tingling. Some people feel pain in the toes or feet. The feet can sometimes be so tender that walking on a rough surface hurts. Doctors often find that people with this form of neuropathy have lost part of their ability to feel a pinprick or a vibration. For example, they are less able to feel a tuning fork vibrating against the toe. This type of neuropathy tends to develop only after many years of poor blood glucose control. Tight glucose control can prevent most cases.
Charcot's joint. Charcot's joint, also called neuropathic arthropathy, occurs when a joint breaks down because of a problem with the nerves. It most often occurs in the foot. In a typical case of Charcot's joint, the foot has lost most sensation. The person no longer can feel pain in the foot and loses the ability to sense the position of the joint. Also, the muscles lose their ability to support the joint properly. The foot then becomes unstable, and walking just makes it worse. An injury, such as a twisted ankle, may make things even worse. Joints grind on bone. The result is inflammation, which leads to further instability and then dislocation. Finally, the bone structure of the foot collapses. Eventually, the foot heals on its own, but because of the breakdown of the bone, it heals into a deformed foot. People at risk of Charcot's joint are those who already have neuropathy. They should be aware of symptoms such as swelling, redness, heat, strong pulse, and insensitivity of the foot. Early treatment can stop bone destruction and aid healing.
Cranial neuropathy. Cranial neuropathy affects the 12 pairs of nerves that are connected with the brain and control sight, eye movement, hearing, and taste. Most often, cranial neuropathy affects the nerves that control the eye muscles. It begins with pain on one side of the face near the affected eye. Later, the eye muscle becomes paralyzed. Double vision results. Symptoms usually get better or go away within two to three months.
Autonomic neuropathy. Autonomic neuropathy affects the autonomic nerves, which control the bladder, intestinal tract, and genitals, among other organs. You may not want to even think about this disease, because it can cause problems with urination, digestion, or erection. But unfortunately, it's common. Some types of autonomic neuropathy affect more than one-quarter of people with diabetes. Paralysis of the bladder is a common symptom. When this happens, the nerves of the bladder no longer respond normally to pressure as the bladder fills with urine. As a result, urine stays in the bladder, leading to urinary tract infections. Autonomic neuropathy can also cause impotence when it affects the nerves that control erection with sexual arousal. However, sexual desire does not usually decrease. Diarrhea can occur when the nerves that control the small intestine are damaged. The diarrhea occurs most often at night. Constipation is another common result of damage to nerves in the intestines. Sometimes, the stomach is affected. It loses the ability to move food through the digestive system, causing vomiting and bloating. This condition, called gastroparesis, can change how fast the body absorbs food. It can make it hard to match insulin doses to food portions. Scientists do not know the precise cause of autonomic neuropathy and are looking for better treatments.
Compression mononeuropathy. Compression mononeuropathy occurs when a single nerve is damaged. It is fairly common. There seem to be two kinds of damage. In the first, nerves are squashed at places where they must pass through a tight tunnel or over a lump of bone. Nerves of people with diabetes are more prone to compression injury. The second kind of damage arises when blood vessel disease caused by diabetes restricts blood flow to a part of the nerve. Carpal tunnel syndrome is probably the most common compression mononeuropathy. It occurs when the median nerve of the forearm is compressed at the wrist. Symptoms include numbness, swelling, or prickling in the fingers with or without pain when driving a car, knitting, or resting at night. Simply hanging the arms by one's sides usually stops the pain within a few minutes. If the symptoms are severe, an operation can give complete relief from pain.
Other neuropathies. Femoral neuropathy is also common. It occurs most often in people with non-insulin-dependent (type II) diabetes. A pain may develop in the front of one thigh. Muscle weakness follows, and the affected muscles waste away.
A different kind of neuropathy that also affects the legs is called diabetic amyotrophy. In this case, weakness occurs on both sides of the body, but there is no pain. Doctors do not understand why it occurs, but blood vessel disease may be the cause.
Another common mononeuropathy is thoracic or lumbar radiculopathy. It is like femoral neuropathy, except it occurs in the torso. It affects a band of the chest or abdominal wall on one or both sides. It seems to occur more often in people with type II diabetes. Again, people with this neuropathy get better with time.
Unilateral foot drop is when the foot can't be picked up. It occurs from damage to the peroneal nerve of the leg by compression or vessel disease. Foot drop can improve.
More information on neuropathy (peripheral neuropathy, autonomic neuropathy, mononeuropathy, diabetic neuropathy, polyneuropathy, lower back pain)
What is neuropathy? - Neuropathy is disease or disorder affecting the cranial nerves or the peripheral or autonomic nervous systems. Neuropathy is a disturbance in the function of a nerve or particular group of nerves.
What types of neuropathy are there? - Types of neuropathies include peripheral neuropathy, polyneuropathy, neuropathic arthropathy, cranial neuropathy, autonomic neuropathy, compression mononeuropathy.
What causes neuropathy? - Diabetes is a frequent cause of neuropathy, the other causes of neuropathy are herpes zoster infection, chronic or acute trauma (including surgery) and various neurotoxins.
What're the symptoms of neuropathy? - Symptoms of neuropathy include loss of sensation, paresthesias and dysesthesias, pain, postural hypotension, impotence, abnormal sweating, and sensory ataxia.
How is neuropathy diagnosed? - Neuropathy may be diagnosed by variety of tests, including electromyography and nerve conduction studies. Nerve and muscle biopsy is useful for autoimmune or vasculitic neuropathies.
What's the treatment for neuropathy? - Treatment of neuropathy is often directed at the symptoms or the underlying cause of the neuropathy. Symptomatic treatments include medical therapy, physical and occupational therapy.
What medications relieve neuropathic pain? - A major goal of treatment for neuropathy is relieving neuropathic pain. Three major of medication are used in the treatment of neuropathic pain.
What is peripheral neuropathy? - Peripheral neuropathy is a common neurological disorder characterized by sensory loss, pain, muscle weakness and wasting of muscle in the hands or legs and feet.
What types of peripheral neuropathies are there? - To aid in diagnosis and treatment, the symptoms are classified into principal neuropathic syndromes based on the type of affected nerves.
What causes peripheral neuropathy? - Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage caused by a systemic illness such as diabetes. Neuropathy involves damage to the axon of the nerve cell or the myelin sheath.
What're the risk factors for peripheral neuropathy? - Diabetes is the biggest risk factors for peripheral neuropathy. Other risk factors including include nutritional deficiencies, medications and chemical exposures.
What're the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy? - Symptoms of a peripheral neuropathy include sensory loss, pain, muscle weakness and wasting of muscle in the hands or legs and feet.
How is peripheral neuropathy diagnosed? - Diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy is based on clinical syndrome. Exact diagnosis requires a combination of medical history, medical tests, and process of exclusion.
What're the treatments for peripheral neuropathy? - Treatment goals for peripheral neuropathy may be to determine underlying cause and treat it, cure of the disorder, and control of symptoms.
Is peripheral neuropathy preventable? - Steps that a person can take to prevent peripheral neuropathy include vaccines against diseases that cause neuropathy.
What's the prognosis of peripheral neuropathy? - Prognosis for neuropathy depends on the underlying cause. The outcome for peripheral neuropathy depends heavily on the cause.
What is mononeuropathy? - Mononeuropathy is disorder of a single nerve or nerve trunk. Mononeuropathy involves damage or destruction of an isolated nerve or nerve group.
What're some of the specific mononeuropathies? - Some of the other common forms of mononeuropathy include sciatic nerve dysfunction, radial nerve dysfunction, cranial mononeuropathy, carpal tunnel syndrome.
What causes mononeuropathy? - Mononeuropathy is most often caused by damage to a local area resulting from direct trauma, prolonged pressure on the nerve and compression.
What's the treatment for mononeuropathy? - Treatment of mononeuropathy is aimed at maximizing the ability to use the affected body part. Physical therapy exercises may be useful.
What's common peroneal nerve dysfunction? - Common peroneal nerve dysfunction is a disorder caused by damage to the peroneal nerve, characterized by loss of movement of or sensation in the foot and leg.
What is radial nerve dysfunction? - Radial nerve dysfunction is a form of peripheral neuropathy involves impaired movement or sensation of the back of the arm and hand.
What is ulnar nerve dysfunction? - Ulnar nerve dysfunction involves impaired movement or sensation in the wrist and hand caused by damage to the ulnar nerve.
What is cranial mononeuropathy VI? - Cranial mononeuropathy VI is a disorder that causes double vision, associated with dysfunction of cranial nerve VI.
What is cranial mononeuropathy VII? - Cranial mononeuropathy VII is a mononeuropathy that involves the seventh cranial nerve, the nerve that controls movement of the muscles of the face.
What is cranial mononeuropathy III (compression type)? - Cranial mononeuropathy III is a disorder associated with dysfunction in the third cranial nerve, which causes double vision and eyelid drooping.
What is cranial mononeuropathy III (diabetic type)? - Cranial mononeuropathy III is a complication of diabetes caused by damage to the third cranial nerve.
What is axillary nerve dysfunction? - Axillary nerve dysfunction is a condition involving impaired movement or sensation of the shoulder because of damage to the axillary nerve.
What is distal median nerve dysfunction? - Distal median nerve dysfunction is a form of peripheral neuropathy affecting movement of or sensation in the hand, caused by damage to the distal median nerve.
What is femoral nerve dysfunction? - Femoral nerve dysfunction is a condition involving impaired movement or sensations in the leg, caused by damage to the femoral nerve.
What is tibial nerve dysfunction? - Tibial nerve dysfunction is a condition involving impaired movement or sensation in the leg, caused by damage to the tibial nerve.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome? - Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful disorder in the hand caused by compression of a nerve in the carpal tunnel, characterized by discomfort and weakness in the hand.
What causes carpal tunnel syndrome? - Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by the swelling of the nerve that runs through the carpal tunnel in the wrist due to repetitive and forceful movements of the wrist.
What're the risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome? - Risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome include diseases, some drugs, direct injury, activities that require repeated motions, and even pregnancy.
What're the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome? - Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include burning, tingling or numbness of the fingers, difficulty gripping tools or other implements, and problems making a fist.
How is carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosed - An accurate medical history and the clinical examination will establish the diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome.
What's the treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome? - Carpal tunnel syndrome is initially treated with splints. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be used to relieve pain.
How to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome? - Prevention of carpal tunnel syndrome is aimed at becoming aware of the repetitive motions. Early use of a splint is helpful.
What is polyneuropathy? - Polyneuropathy refers to any illness that attacks numerous nerves in the body. Polyneuropathy affects the nerves of the autonomic nervous system.
What is chronic inflammatory polyneuropathy? - Chronic inflammatory polyneuropathy is a disorder involving slowly progressive or repeated episodes of loss of movement or sensation.
What is diabetic neuropathy? - Diabetic neuropathies are neuropathic disorders that are associated with diabetes mellitus. Diabetic neuropathies occur in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
What types of diabetic neuropathy are there? - There are three types of neuropathy that occur in people with diabetes. They're peripheral neuropathy, autonomic neuropathy, focal neuropathy.
What causes diabetic neuropathy? - The exact causes of diabetic neuropathy are unknown, several factors may contribute to diabetic neuropathy.
What're the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy? - Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy depend on the types of neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathies are classified as peripheral, autonomic, proximal, and focal.
How is diabetic neuropathy diagnosed? - A diagnosis of diabetic neuropathy is based mostly on your medical history and physical examination.
What's the treatment for diabetic neuropathy? - The goal of treating diabetic neuropathy is to relieve discomfort and prevent further tissue damage. Analgesics may be prescribed for relief of pain.
What is autonomic neuropathy? - Autonomic neuropathy is a disease of the non-voluntary, non-sensory nervous system caused by damage to nerves supplying the internal body structures.
What causes autonomic neuropathy? - Autonomic neuropathy is a form of peripheral neuropathy affecting the autonomic portion of the peripheral nervous system. The causes are multiple.
What're the symptoms of autonomic neuropathy? - The symptoms of autonomic neuropathy depend upon what organs are affected and may include abdominal swelling, heat intolerance, nausea, vomiting.
How is autonomic neuropathy diagnosed? - Diagnosis of autonomic neuropathy can be made by eye examination and other tests guided by the suspected cause of the disorder.
What's the treatment for autonomic neuropathy? - Treatment for autonomic neuropathy is supportive and may need to be long-term. Several treatments may be attempted before a successful therapy.
What is lower back pain? - Lower back pain is pain in the low lumbar accompanied by pain radiating down one or both buttocks or legs in the distribution of the sciatic nerve (sciatica).
What causes lower back pain? - There is no single identifiable cause for an episode of back pain. Most back pain comes from the soft tissues of the spine.
What're the risk factors for lower back pain? - Lower back pain is often triggered by some combination of overuse, muscle strain, or injury to the muscles and ligaments that support the spine.
What're signs and symptoms of lower back pain? - Symptoms of the back pain will depend on the condition that's causing the pain. Pain can be constant or intermittent.
How is lower back pain diagnosed? - The diagnosis of low back pain can be complicated. Most cases are initially evaluated by primary care physicians rather than by specialists.
What're the treatments for lower back pain? - Treatment of low back pain is aimed at symptom relief or preventing interference with the processes of healing. Acute back pain is treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
How to relieve acute lower back pain? - Acute back pain is treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Applications of heat or cold compresses help to relieve lower back pain.
How to relieve chronic low back pain? - Patients with chronic low back pain are treated witha combination of medications, physical therapy, andoccupational or lifestyle modification.
What's the physical therapy for low back pain relief? - Types of treatment used by the physical therapist will depend on the nature of low back pain being treated.
What's lower back pain exercise? - Low-stress aerobic exercise can prevent debilitation due to inactivity during the first month of symptoms and thereafter may help patients relieve lower back pain.
How to prevent low back pain? - Low back pain due to muscle strain can be prevented by lifestyle choices, including regular physical exercise and weight control, avoiding smoking.
What is sciatica? - Sciatica is pain, tingling, or numbness produced by an irritation of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve supplies the back of the leg and buttocks.
What causes sciatica? - Sciatica is a form of peripheral neuropathy. Of the identifiable causes of sciatic pain, lumbosacral radiculopathy and back strain are the most frequently suspected.
What're the symptoms of sciatica? - The symptoms of sciatica vary widely, the most common symptom is pain that radiates through one buttock and down the back of that leg.
How is sciatica diagnosed? - Diagnosis of sciatica involves a straight-leg-raising test, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography scans (CT scans).
What's the treatment for sciatica? - Most cases of sciatica can be effectively treated by physical therapy and appropriate changes in environment. Initial treatment for sciatica focuses on pain relief.
How to prevent sciatica? - Once the pain of sciatica passes, there are exercises, stretches and other measures that may prevent it from returning.
What is brachial plexus injury? - brachial plexus injury is an injury to the nerves that travel from the neck and down the arm. These peripheral nerves are called the brachial plexus nerves.
What causes brachial plexus injury? - A brachial plexus injury is caused when the head and neck are forcibly moved or hit to one side, stretching the brachial plexus on the opposite side.
What're the symptoms of brachial plexus injury? - A brachial plexus injury usually causes intense pain from the neck down to the arm. Loss of strength in the affected arm or hand is a common symptom
How is brachial plexus injury diagnosed? - To diagnose a brachial plexus injury, a doctor may ask the patient about his or her symptoms and examine the head, neck, shoulder, arm and hand.
What's the treatment for brachial plexus injury? - The goal of treatment for brachial plexus injury is to enable the patient to return to sport or activity as soon as possible while not worsening the injury.
What's postherpetic neuralgia? - Postherpetic neuralgia is pain that persists after an episode of shingles (herpes zoster) has resolved. Postherpetic neuralgia causes pain after shingles heals.
What causes postherpetic neuralgia? - Postherpetic neuralgia results when nerve fibers are damaged. The condition is caused by damage to and then regrowth of nerves affected by shingles.
What're the symptoms of postherpetic neuralgia? - The symptoms of postherpetic neuralgia are generally limited to the area of your skin where the shingles outbreak first occurred.
What's the treatment for postherpetic neuralgia? - Treatment for postherpetic neuralgia also depends on the type of pain the patient experience. Tricyclic antidepressant medications relieve pain.
What is the thoracic outlet syndrome? - Thoracic outlet syndrome is a condition in which the nerves or vessels behind the collar bone (clavicle) become compressed or stretched.
What causes thoracic outlet syndrome? - The common underlying cause of the thoracic outlet syndrome is compression of the nerves and arteries of the arm in the Thoracic Outlet.
What're the symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome? - Symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome include pain, numbness and tingling, weakness and fatigue or swelling and coldness in the arm and hand.
How is thoracic outlet syndrome diagnosed? - There are no specific diagnostic tests for thoracic outlet syndromes. The diagnosis is made by ruling out other diseases.
What's the treatment for thoracic outlet syndrome? - Treatment of thoracic outlet syndrome focuses on relief of the symptoms caused by compression of the nerves and blood vessels.