Inflammatory neuropathies can be caused by infections or an autoimmune process. There are several specific causes of this neuropathy. However, in most cases the immune system begins attacking the nerves, which causes neuropathy. Patients can complain of sensory symptoms like burning, tingling or numbness. They may also have motor symptoms like muscle weakness. It may be contained in the arms or legs or more widespread.
Your health care provider may order many tests to look for causes of this neuropathy. This may include several blood studies looking for infectious causes and evidence of inflammation. They may also order a lumbar puncture or spinal tap. This test evaluates the fluid around your spinal cord for infections and inflammation. Finally, they may order a nerve conduction study/electromyography and if necessary a nerve biopsy to detect inflammation of the nerve.
First your provider may treat your symptoms. If you have burning or tingling pain there are several medications that can lessen these sensations so they are more tolerable. Second your provider will treat the immune system attack. There are several oral (pill) medications that can be used to slow or reverse the progression of the neuropathy.
There are also intravenous medications that can be given as an outpatient in our infusion clinic. The infusion clinic is located in the same area where you see your health care provider. Intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIG) or plasmapheresis may be prescribed.
For more information and/or to make an appointment with the Maryland Peripheral Neuropathy Center, please call 410-328-3100.