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Category: Diseases of The Nervous System
This means that a single nerve of a group of adjacent
nerve trunks is affected. If a number of nerves are affected at the same
time it is called Multiple Neuritis or Polyneuritis.
Causes. (a) Exposure to cold. This is a very frequent cause, as for
example, in the facial (face) nerve. (b) Traumatism,--that is, wounds,
blows, injuries caused by fractures and dislocations; pressure from
tumors, sleeping with the head resting on the arms. Pressure from
crutches, "crutch paralysis." (c) Diseases involving the nerves due to
extension of inflammation from nearby structures, as in neuritis of the
facial nerve due to decay of the temporal bone.
Symptoms. The constitutional or general symptoms are usually slight. The
pain is the most important symptom, being of a boring in the parts to
which it is distributed. This pain may be very distressing, or of a
stabbing character, and is usually felt in the course of the nerve; or it
may cause little inconvenience. Sometimes the skin is red and swollen over
the affected parts. There is impaired nerve function and as a result of
this the muscles supplied by these nerves become weak, and occasionally
paralyzed. In severe cases they may become atrophied and an eruption often
appears along the course of the nerve. Sometimes the hair and nails are
not properly nourished, causing falling out or grayness of the hair and
loss of the nails. This neuritis may extend from the peripheral (external)
nerves and involve the larger nerve trunks or even reach the spinal cord.
This rarely occurs in neuritis from cold, or in that which follows fevers;
but it occurs most frequently in neuritis caused by blows, wounds, etc.,
Duration. This varies from a few days to weeks or months. If the primary
cause can be remedied it usually ends in full recovery. Sometimes it is
followed by the chronic form.
PHYSICIANS' TREATMENT for Neuritis. The first thing to do is to try to
remove the cause. Then absolute and continued rest of the affected part.
If one has a sore hand it will be rested, if possible; so it must be with
the sore and inflamed nerve.
For the Attack. After having placed the part in absolute rest, moist heat
applied to it frequently brings great relief. Sometimes a mustard plaster
applied along the sore part does good. This produces a counter irritation
and thus draws some of the congestion from the congested, inflamed nerve.
Ice is more effective in some cases than heat. The bowels should be kept
open daily with salts. Build up the general health with tonics; no alcohol
can be used. If it shows a tendency to become chronic, use massage,
electricity or change of climate. Atrophy (shrinking) of the muscles is
likely to follow if the disease continues long and for this massage and
electricity must be given.
Treatment. Preventive. A person who has once had neuritis must exercise
all care to keep from taking cold or exposing themselves to severe cold
winds and storms. Wet clothing will be apt to cause its return. Damp
houses are bad. The climate should be dry and not changeable. There should
be enough and proper kind of clothing to keep the body heat at the normal
point. Plenty of rest and sleep are required. These cautions also apply to
rheumatism and neuralgias.
Next: Multiple Neuritis
Previous: Inflammation of the Bundles of Nerve Fibres)