Mononeuropathy is most often caused by injury, although body-wide (systemic) disorders may cause isolated nerve damage.
Long-term pressure on a nerve due to swelling or injury can result in mononeuropathy. The covering of the nerve (myelin sheath) or part of the nerve cell (the axon) may be damaged. This damage slows or prevents signals from traveling through the damaged nerves.
Mononeuropathy may involve any part of the body. Some of the common forms of mononeuropathy include:
A detailed medical history is needed to determine the possible cause of the disorder. An examination and nerve and muscle testing may show a loss of feeling, movement, or other problems with a specific nerve. Reflexes may be abnormal.
The goal of treatment is to allow you to use the affected body part as much as possible.
The cause of the mononeuropathy should be identified and treated as appropriate. Sometimes, no treatment is needed and you will get better on your own.
High blood pressure and diabetes can injure an artery, which can often affect a single nerve. The underlying condition should be treated.
Corticosteroids injected into the area may reduce swelling and pressure on the nerve if it is being pinched or trapped against another part of the body, such as a bone. Surgery may be recommended if symptoms are caused by entrapment of the nerve. Surgery to relieve the pressure on the nerve may help in some cases.
Over-the-counter or prescription pain medicine may be needed to control pain (neuralgia).
Prescription medications such as gabapentin, pregabalin, phenytoin, carbamazepine, or antidepressants such as amitriptyline, nortriptyline, or duloxetine may be used to reduce stabbing pains. Whenever possible, avoid or minimize the use of these drugs to reduce the risk of medication side effects.
Physical therapy exercises to maintain muscle strength
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.