Polyneuropathy is a disease of the peripheral nervous system. It is characterised by paralysis, vascular, trophic, and impaired sensitivity. There are different types of polyneuropathy - alcoholic, toxic, and diabetic. Usually, doctors prescribe symptomatic treatment (medications), but rehabilitation measures play an equally important role.
A polyneuropathy is a group of diseases when peripheral nerves, roots, and plexuses are subject to injury. It is worth noting that neuropathy is damage and malfunction of the nerve, and polyneuropathy is damage to multiple nerves.
Usually, this is a complication of other problems, even those that do not concern the central nervous system. Among the most common reasons are:
- Guillain-Barre syndrome (and similar to it Miller Fisher syndrome) and other autoimmune processes (Morvan disease, Nelaton syndrome);
- Poisoning with alcoholic liquids, heavy metals (Alcoholic polyneuropathy);
- Effect of certain medicines;
- Hereditary predisposition: Peroneal muscular atrophy (Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease), progressive hypertrophic polyneuropathy (Dejerine-Sottas disease), Roussy-Levy syndrome, Refsum disease;
- Diabetes (diabetic neuropathy);
- Internal diseases (Autonomic neuropathy);
- Irradiation (radiation-induced polyneuropathy);
- Infections and viruses (sensory neuropathy, inflammatory polyneuropathy);
- Malignant and benign tumours;
- Idiopathic progressive neuropathy.
Clinical manifestations of the disease are divided into three types: motor, sensitive and vegetative.
- Muscle tone decreases, and there is a development of muscle weakness and atrophy. The leading site of damage is the lower limbs. However, the progression of the condition can spread to the respiratory and cranial muscles.
- The nerve fibre is damaged, so patients often experience severe neuropathic pain. Such pain is persistent. It burns and itches, shoots and pierces the whole body. Usually, the disease is accompanied by instability when walking or standing and pathological temperature sensitivity.
- Vegetative manifestations are symptoms associated with trophic and vascular disorders: the skin on the feet (it becomes purple-blue in colour and swells, and many microtraumas appear), brittleness and dullness of the toenails.
Only a neurologist and other doctors (endocrinologists or therapists) can diagnose polyneuropathy. Diagnostics include electrophysiological examination, blood analysis, and assessment of neurological status. If necessary, magnetic resonance imaging and nerve biopsy are performed.
In all cases, drugs are used for polyneuropathy that provides symptomatic treatment (anaesthetics, analgesics, anticonvulsants, antidepressants). Along with medical treatment, magneto-laser therapy, electromagnetic fields of different frequencies, electrostimulation, ultrasound therapy, electrophoresis of drugs, massage, and acupuncture reflexology are widely used.
After completing the therapy, a recovery course is usually required. It includes massage, which helps to improve the state of muscle tone and restore the motor functions of the hands and feet. Physiotherapy (improves microcirculation) and occupational therapy (algorithm of actions for daily movements) also help. Another group of rehabilitation methods includes vitamin and diet therapy, as well as work with a psychologist.