Neuritis is an umbrella term used to describe various diseases involving inflammation of the nerves. Neuritis can affect one nerve or a group of nerves, and is most commonly seen in adults 55 years of age and over. The most common types of neuritis is peripheral neuritis and optic neuritis, however many forms exist.

Symptoms of Neuritis

The symptoms associated with Neuritis can vary on a case by case basis. However, in most cases neuritis is associated with the following symptoms:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Pain, such as stabbing or pricking
  • Changes in sensations, such as tingling or burning
  • Numbness
  • Paralysis
  • Muscle wasting
  • Visual disturbances (optic neuritis)


Types of Neuritis

Although peripheral neuritis and optic neuritis are the most common forms, there is a large number of less common forms of neuritis, such as the ones below. Less common types of neuritis include:

  • Arsenic neuritis
  • Brachial neuritis
  • Cranial neuritis
  • Granulomatous neuritis of leprosy
  • Intercostal neuritis
  • Occipital neuritis
  • Lumbosacral neuritis
  • Polyneuritis multiplex
  • Sensory motor polyneuropathy
  • Vestibular neuritis
  • Ulnar neuritis


Causes of Neuritis

In many cases the cause of neuritis is uncertain. However, it is thought that risk factors can contribute to the development of neuritis. These risk factors include:

  • Physical injury or trauma
  • Chemical injury
  • Vascular conditions
  • Genetics
  • Exposure to certain toxins and medications
  • Radiation injury
  • Nutritional deficiencies and/or metabolic conditions
  • Various infections
    • Cat scratch fever
    • Chickenpox
    • Diphtheria
    • Herpes simplex infection
    • Leprosy
    • Lyme disease
    • Syphilis
  • Existing diseases
    • Autoimmune diseases
    • Beriberi
    • Chronic acidosis
    • Certain types of cancers
    • Diabetes mellitus
    • Hypothyroidism
    • Pernicious anemia
    • Porphyria


Diagnosing Neuritis

In order to diagnose neuritis, your doctor will perform a neurological examination in addition to a physical examination to pinpoint the location of the pain and to determine the nerve that is causing your pain. During the exam, your doctor will ask questions such as where your pain is located and how long you have been experiencing the pain. Be sure to share any medical information with your doctor, such as pre-existing conditions and any medications you may be taking.

If necessary, your doctor may request additional tests such as a blood test or a test of your muscle strength. An MRI, nerve biopsy, skin biopsy, electromyography (EMG), or nerve conduction velocity (NCV) tests may be needed. Your doctor will discuss the test and the reasoning behind the test with you in detail at your appointment.


Treatment of Neuritis

The first step in neuritis treatment is to address any contributing or underlying conditions, such as autoimmune disorders of infections. Many times, once the underlying condition is resolved, the neuritis will resolve on its own. Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, such as eliminating alcohol use and exercising to help reduce symptoms. If medication is necessary for pain, your doctor will discuss options with you. In certain situations, surgery may be recommended.


Learn More

If you are suffering from neuritis, contact The Physicians today to schedule an appoint with one of our experts. Our doctors will work to identify and treat the underlying cause of your neuritis. Our experts are here to help.