What is neuropathy?

Neuropathies are processes affecting nerves, either single nerves or a generalised disorder. Damage occurs to the nerves that travel between the brain and the spinal cord to the muscles, skin and other parts of the body, causing pain or weakness.

What causes neuropathy?

Diabetes, Type 1 and 2, are the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy. But it can also be caused by other circumstances such as injury, infection or as a side effect to certain medications or drinking too much alcohol.

What are the symptoms of neuropathy?

The site and cause of the neuropathic pain varies according to the type of neuropathy.
There are many neuropathies, the most common are:

  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Sensory neuropathy
  • Post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN)
  • Chronic relapsing inflammatory optic neuropathy (CRION)

In the UK it’s estimated almost 1 in 10 people aged 55 or over are affected by peripheral neuropathy.

Source: NHS

Are you affected by neuropathy?

Treatment is affected by the specific symptoms and underlying conditions the patient has. For instance if it was caused by diabetes, it may help to gain better control of your blood sugar level, stop smoking and cut down on alcohol.

Some usual painkillers may not have as much effect, so GP’s will prescribe a specific medication to help ease the pain. Physiotherapy can be introduced also to increase comfort.

If you’re affected by neuropathy, The Brain Charity can support you.

We are the only charity in the UK to be here for every one of the more than 600 different neurological conditions in existence. Individually, many are rare, but combined, they affect 1 in 6 people.

We provide practical help on all aspects of living with neuropathy, emotional support such as counselling, phone befriending and group therapy and social activities to people with neuropathy from all over the UK from our centre in Liverpool.

Looking to talk to someone?

Woman smiling, making eye contact and holding the hand of another woman to comfort her

Phone us

Contact The Brain Charity now

Our friendly Information & Advice Officers are here to help. We endeavour to respond to all enquiries within 10 working days.

0151 298 2999

Looking to talk to someone?

  • Please tell us which neurological condition you are affected by and what you need support with.

Caring for someone with neuropathy

The disease will make it difficult for your loved one to be mobile, so helping with access to items, ie. moving things closer, will help keep their independence. By joining in their exercises will help show a united front and make them feel less alone.

Make sure you look after yourself as much as you look after them. If you need any assistance, or just need a friendly chat, we have lovely counsellors who can take your call.

We support carers, friends and family too

Are you a carer for or relative of someone with neuropathy? It’s just as important for you to look after your own physical and mental wellbeing too.

The Brain Charity provides free support for carers, friends and family of people with any form of neurological condition, including neuropathy, from anywhere in the UK.

We also run an additional carers advocacy service for all carers in Liverpool, regardless of which type of condition the person they care for has.

You don’t need to be a formal or registered carer

We can help you even if you don’t view yourself as a formal carer or claim Carer’s Allowance. Find out some of the ways we support carers below.

Other resources

The Brain Charity's library

The library at The Brain Charity has a range of resources on neuropathy and on a wide range of disability-related issues.

Support groups

GAIN (Guillain-Barré and Associated Inflammatory Neuropathies)

Support groups at The Brain Charity

Are you interested in setting up a neuropathy support group, or do you already run one? Email to let us know.

Alternatively, you can check out our list of related support groups here.

Other charities

GAIN (Guillain-Barré and Associated Inflammatory Neuropathies)

Diabetes UK

The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy (U.S.A.)