An article published in 2011 in the prestigious Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine Journal points out an important, yet often overlooked, aspect of peripheral neuropathy.
In the article they follow the case of a young boy who develops neuropathy after undergoing hip surgery.
Usually neuropathy that develops after surgery is attributed to things like anesthesia toxicity, mechanical trauma, or ischemic nerve damage.
In this case study the doctors ruled out all of these causes but the boys neuropathy continued to progress.
Why Is This Important?
A thorough neurological evaluation was performed and he was diagnosed with post-surgical inflammatory neuropathy.
This is important because we know that inflammation is an important component of neuropathy. In fact there is usually an inflammation component in most of the cases of neuropathy we treat in our office.
The problem is most neuropathy patients have never had a doctor that has really investigated and treated the inflammation.
In the case study presented in the journal article the cause of the inflammation was apparent, it was caused by surgery.
But in other neuropathy patients the inflammation can be secondary to diabetes, chemotherapy, food sensitivities … and a number of other causes. In other words the source of the inflammation is not always obvious and is therefore commonly overlooked.
The important thing is to know that inflammation is an important component of neuropathy and make sure that the initial evaluation includes an investigation of various inflammation sources.
Once inflammation is ruled in as a contributing factor we must then provide treatments that can help lower the inflammation.
This type of approach deals with root causes and ensures that a long lasting reduction in symptoms can occur.
Reg Anesth Pain Med. 2011 Jul-Aug;36(4):403-5. doi: 10.1097/AAP.0b013e31821e6503