Peripheral nerves are those outside the brain or spinal cord and include most of the cranial nerves, the spinal nerve roots, the dorsal root ganglia, the peripheral nerve trunks and their terminal branches, and the peripheral autonomic nervous system.
Peripheral neuropathy (PN) results from damage to these peripheral nerves that may be due to several different causes. PN may affect persons of all ages, including children.
The time course of a neuropathy varies, based on its underlying cause. With trauma or circulatory problems, the onset of symptoms will be acute, or sudden, with the most severe symptoms at the onset. Inflammatory and some metabolic neuropathies have a subacute course extending over days to weeks. A chronic course over weeks to months usually indicates a toxic or metabolic neuropathy. A chronic, slowly progressive neuropathy over many years occurs with most hereditary neuropathies or with a condition called chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP). Neuropathies with symptoms that relapse and remit include the Guillain-Barre syndrome.
There is no one treatment to adequately, predictably and specifically control established neuropathic pain. However, there are a variety of medications available to help control the pain.
The overall aim of treatment is maximization of comfort and function and to help the individual cope by means of various therapies and support.
The Medifocus Guide on Peripheral Neuropathy provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:
What are the most common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy?
Are there any recognized risk factors for developing peripheral neuropathy?
What kinds of medical tests are used to establish the diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy?
What is the current standard of care for the treatment of peripheral neuropathy?
What treatment options are available for the management of peripheral neuropathy?
Are there any promising new developments or potential breakthroughs in treatment?
Who are the most notable medical authorities who specialize in peripheral neuropathy?
Where are the leading hospitals and centers of research for peripheral neuropathy?
What are the most important questions to ask my doctor about peripheral neuropathy?
What Your Doctor Reads:
This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:
Role of neurophysiologic evaluation in diagnosis. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. 2000
Systemic lidocaine for neuropathic pain relief. Pain. 2000
Assessment of peripheral neuropathy in the diabetic foot. Journal of Tissue Viability. 2000
Aldose reductase inhibitors for the prevention and treatment of diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews [computer file]. 2000
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