Peripheral Neuropathy is damage to or disease affecting nerves, which may impair sensation, movement, gland or organ function, or other aspects of health, depending on the type of nerve affected. Common causes include systemic diseases (such as diabetes or leprosy), vitamin deficiency, medication (e.g., chemotherapy), traumatic injury, radiation therapy, excessive alcohol consumption, immune system disease or viral infection. It can also be genetic (present from birth) or idiopathic (no known cause).
Neuropathy may cause painful cramps, fasciculations (fine muscle twitching), muscle loss, bone degeneration, and changes in the skin, hair, and nails. Additionally, motor neuropathy may cause impaired balance and coordination or, most commonly, muscle weakness; sensory neuropathy may cause numbness to touch and vibration, reduced position sense causing poorer coordination and balance, reduced sensitivity to temperature change and pain, spontaneous tingling or burning pain, or skin allodynia (severe pain from normally nonpainful stimuli, such as light touch).
Neurophysiotherapy aims to reduce hypersensitivity/sensory disruption via sensory bombardment, mobilisation and the control of secondary inhibitors, such as swelling. Exercises can address deteriorations in balance and strength, while active mobilisation addresses secondary stiffness, muscle and neural tightness and pain.