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What is Inflammatory Neuropathy?

Angela Johnson
Angela Johnson

Inflammatory neuropathy is a condition in which nerve fibers cause abnormal sensory symptoms such as burning, numbness, or tingling to be present in the hands or feet. Patients who suffer from this condition sometimes report symptoms such as weakness of the muscles. Inflammatory neuropathy can be caused by an infection or an autoimmune reaction in the body.

Blood tests that check for inflammation can help to detect and diagnose inflammatory neuropathy. A spinal tap or lumbar puncture can be performed to examine the fluid around the spinal cord for presence of infection or inflammation. If a more in depth diagnostic is needed, a doctor can perform an electromyography to study the activity. As a last resort, a biopsy can be performed on the nerve to detect inflammation.


Once a diagnosis is established, a patient can begin to receive treatment for this condition. Inflammatory neuropathy is treatable and sometimes curable. Treatment may include medication to reduce sensory disturbances, to reverse the immune system attack, and to slow or possibly reduce the progression of the neuropathy.

It is important to seek treatment early in order to avoid permanent and irreversible nerve damage. Depending on the severity of the damage, most nerves can be repaired, though significant damage may be irreversible. In these cases, management of the symptoms becomes the objective.

One radical treatment option for inflammatory neuropathy is a blood cleansing called plasmapheresis. In this process, the toxins that are damaging the nerves are removed from the blood through filtering, and then clean blood is returned back to the body. Another treatment which has proven successful in recent years is the use of intravenous immunoglobulins. The immuniglobulins are prepared from thousands of blood donors and can be effective in treating several conditions including neuropathy.

Managing other conditions such as diabetes or an autoimmune disorder can help to prevent inflammatory neuropathy. By treating infections and autoimmune conditions effectively and in a timely manner, a person may be able to avoid inflammatory neuropathy altogether. If any sensory or motor disturbances are experienced and the patient has diabetes or an autoimmune disorder, he or she should make an appointment and discuss these issues with a doctor.

Specialists such as neurologists typically treat patients with this condition. These specialists are experienced and have the knowledge to diagnose and treat the disorder effectively. A family doctor or general practitioner will more than likely refer patients to a neurologist for accurate diagnosis before a treatment plan is established.

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