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Sensorimotor polyneuropathy

Contents of this page:


Central nervous system
Central nervous system

Alternative Names    Return to top

Polyneuropathy - sensorimotor

Definition    Return to top

Sensorimotor polyneuropathy is a decrease in movement or ability to feel (sensation).

Causes    Return to top

Polyneuropathy means disease of nerves. Sensorimotor polyneuropathy is damage to nerves other than the brain or spinal cord. Such nerve damage is called peripheral neuropathy.

Sensorimotor polyneuropathy is a body-wide (systemic) process that damages nerve cells, nerve fibers (axons), and nerve coverings (myelin sheath). Damage to the covering of the nerve cell causes nerve signals to slow down. Damage to the nerve fiber or entire nerve cell can make the nerve stop working.

Nerve damage can be caused by:

Possible causes of sensorimotor polyneuropathy include:

Symptoms    Return to top

Symptoms may develop slowly over weeks to years and usually occur on both sides of the body.

Exams and Tests    Return to top

An exam may show:

Tests may include:

Treatment    Return to top

The goals of treatment include:

Treatment may include:



Safety is an important consideration for people with neuropathy. Lack of muscle control and decreased sensation may increase the risk of falls or other injuries.

If you have movement difficulties, consider the following safety measures:

Other tips include:

Medications used to treat this condition:

Avoid pain medication whenever possible, or use it only when necessary. Keeping your body in the proper position or keeping bed linens off a tender body part may help control pain.

Outlook (Prognosis)    Return to top

You can fully recover from peripheral neuropathy if your health care provider can find the cause and successfully treat it, and if the damage does not affect the entire nerve cell.

The amount of disability varies. Some people have no disability, while others have a partial or complete loss of movement, function, or feeling. Nerve pain may be uncomfortable and may last for a long time.

Occasionally sensorimotor polyneuropathy causes severe, life-threatening symptoms.

Possible Complications    Return to top

When to Contact a Medical Professional    Return to top

Call your health care provider if you have loss of movement or feeling in a part of your body. Early diagnosis and treatment increase the chance of controlling the symptoms.

Update Date: 2/13/2008

Updated by: Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Departments of Anatomy & Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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