Causes and Risk Factors for Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy can be caused by disease; nerve compression, entrapment or laceration; exposure to toxins; or inflammation. In many cases, especially in people over the age of 60, no cause can be determined.

Conditions associated with peripheral nerve damage include the following:

Radiculopathy is the term for neuropathy that affects nerve roots. The nerve roots are extensions of spinal nerves. They exit the spinal canal through a space between vertebrae, called the neural foramen. Degeneration of vertebral bone, herniation of the pulpy disc between vertebrae, narrowing of the spinal column (spinal stenosis), or trauma can compress or cut nerve roots and cause neuropathy.

Publication Review By: Sandeep K. Aggarwal, M.D., Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 01 Jan 2000

Last Modified: 13 Dec 2011