What Is Mononeuritis Multiplex?
Mononeuritis multiplex (MNM) is a disorder of the nervous system. It can result in severe pain, loss of motor ability, and loss of sensation in at least two separate areas of the body. The areas affected by MNM depend on the underlying cause of the condition.
The nervous system consists of two parts: the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The central nervous system includes the brain and the spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system includes the nerves connecting the CNS to every other part of the body.
MNM is a condition of the peripheral nervous system. This means it’s a group of symptoms associated with damaged peripheral nerves. The peripheral nerves lie outside the brand and spinal cord.
Several diseases can cause MNM. These include:
Less common causes of MNM include:
- Sjogren syndrome
- Wegener’s syndrome
- Lyme disease
- Hansen’s disease (leprosy)
Your symptoms will vary depending on the type of nerves that are damaged. Symptoms may include:
- weakness in one or more limbs
- loss of feeling in one or more areas of your body
- paralysis of part of your body
- tingling or discomfort in one or more areas of your body
To determine the cause of your MNM, your doctor will ask you for a detailed medical history. They’ll also perform examinations and tests on your neuromuscular system and your reflexes. Two unrelated nerve areas must be affected for a diagnosis of MNM. Your doctor may recommend the following tests:
- nerve biopsy: a microscopic examination of a nerve
- electromyogram: an evaluation the electrical activity of your muscles
- nerve conduction tests: a measurement of the speed of your nerve impulses
Additional tests may include:
- blood chemistry tests
- imaging scans
- rheumatoid factor test
- thyroid tests
- sedimentation rate
Treatment of MNM depends on the disorder that’s causing your condition. First, your doctor must determine the underlying condition.
A neuromuscular neurologist will develop your treatment plan. You’ll also have a consultation with a rheumatologist if you have any diseases that involve connective tissue. An example of this type of disease is arthritis.
The aims of the treatment are to:
- address the illness that is the cause of the problem
- control symptoms with medication or nutritional supplementation
- provide care and support to increase your independence
Your doctor may suggest occupational therapy (OT) to help increase your mobility and independence. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), the goal of OT is to help people with a disability or people recovering from an injury to regain the skills needed for their daily activities or occupations.
Your OT therapist will visit your home or work environment and suggest ways to accomplish activities safely. They may provide a plan of exercises to help you regain motor skills and strengthen muscles. Also, they may suggest using adaptive equipment to help you move through your house and keep you from falling. These items may include:
- a railing on steps
- a bath or shower seat
- adequate lighting
- a stair lift
You may benefit from orthopedic aids if you’re having difficulty moving around in or outside your home. These include:
- a wheelchair
- corrective shoes
Your doctor may recommend physical therapy as part of your treatment plan. This involves stretching and strengthening exercises and low-impact aerobics to strengthen your muscles, increase flexibility, and improve balance.
Vocational therapy (VT) is a valuable part of a structured treatment program. The aim of VT is to help you resume employment. It can help you cope with the changes in your physical and mental functioning. It can also help you find an occupation that’s productive and matches your abilities.
Your doctor may prescribe medication to help manage your pain, including:
- antidepressants (for relief from stabbing pains)
A full recovery from MNM may be possible if the underlying cause can be diagnosed and treated successfully, and if damage is limited.
The extent of disability can range from none to a complete loss of movement or feeling.
Nerve pain can cause a great deal of discomfort and may be prolonged. You should see a pain specialist to discuss available treatment options if this is the case.
You may have injuries that go unnoticed if you experience decreased sensation in your feet or other parts of your body. This is because the nerves in the affected area are not sending pain signals to your brain. Injured areas may become severely infected if this happens. Inspect these areas regularly for bruises or cuts to prevent this from happening.
A number of complications are related to MNM, including:
- loss of muscle mass or tissue
- kidney disease
- gastrointestinal disease
- pulmonary disease
- corticosteroid-induced diabetes