(noo-rī′tĭs, nū-)

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[neuro- + -itis]
Inflammation of a nerve, usually associated with a degenerative process.
SEE: Guillain-Barré syndrome; SEE: polyneuritis

There are many forms of neuritis, which produce a variety of symptoms, including neuralgia in the part affected, hyperesthesia, paresthesia, dysesthesia, hypesthesia, anesthesia, muscular atrophy of the body part supplied by the affected nerve, paralysis, and lack of reflexes.

Neuritis may be caused by mechanical factors, e.g., compression or contusion of the nerve, or localized infection involving direct infection of a nerve. It may accompany diseases such as leprosy, tetanus, tuberculosis, malaria, or measles. Toxins, esp. poisoning by heavy metals (arsenic, lead, mercury), alcohol, or carbon tetrachloride, may also be a cause. Neuritis may accompany thiamine deficiency, gastrointestinal dysfunction, diabetes, toxemias of pregnancy, or peripheral vascular disease.

Changes in motor and sensory function are monitored. Correct positioning and prescribed analgesic drugs are used to relieve pain. Rest is provided, and affected extremities are rested by limiting their use and by using supportive appliances. Passive range-of-motion exercises are performed to help prevent contracture formation. Skin care is provided, and proper nutrition and dietary therapy are prescribed for metabolic disorders. Health care providers remove causative factors or counsel the patient about their avoidance. After pain subsides, prescribed activities are performed, e.g., massage, electrostimulation, and exercise.

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