Neuropathy is the term used to describe a problem with the nerves, usually the ‘peripheral nerves’ as opposed to the ‘central nervous system’ (the brain and spinal cord).
The nerves of your peripheral nervous system transmit messages between your central nervous system and the rest of your body.
Neuropathy can affect any of the three types of peripheral nerves:
- Sensory nerves, which carry messages from your sensory organs (eyes, nose, etc.) to your brain
- Motor nerves, which monitor the conscious movement of your muscles
- Autonomic nerves, which regulate the involuntary functions of your body
Sometimes, neuropathy will only affect a single nerve. This is called mononeuropathy and examples include:
- Ulnar neuropathy (elbow)
- Radial neuropathy (arm)
- Peroneal neuropathy (knee)
- Femoral neuropathy (thigh)
- Cervical neuropathy (neck)
Unfortunately, neuropathic pain often responds poorly to standard pain treatments and occasionally may get worse instead of better over time. For some people, it can lead to serious disability. A multidisciplinary approach that combines therapies, however, can be a very effective way to provide relief from neuropathic pain.