Peripheral nerve disease

Synonyms: Peripheral neuropathy

Medical Specialties: Internal medicine, Neurology

Clinical Definition

Peripheral nerve disease is any one of a group of disorders that causes peripheral neuropathy and interferes with proper nerve cell functioning. Various nerves, such as the sensory, motor and autonomic nerves, may also be involved depending on the disease and the underlying cause. Sensation and muscle functioning may be impacted to varying degrees, depending on the specific kind of peripheral neuropathy.

In Our Own Words

The peripheral nerves are the nerves outside the spinal cord and brain. They send signals or messages from the spinal cord to other regions of the body, such as to make muscles contract. They also carry information from the outside (e.g., sensation, pain, and other sensory information) back to the brain.


Peripheral nerve disease is not one disease. A variety of disorders can interfere with normal function and the ability to send and receive signals. Since the nerves don’t function as they should, movement, feeling or sensation is affected. 

Common Types
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Demyelinating polyneuropathy
Side Effects
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness
  • Muscle pain
Share this article
  • Columbia University Medical Center. “Peripheral Nerve Disorders.” Accessed September 2013.
  • The University of Chicago Center for Peripheral Neuropathy. “About Peripheral Neuropathy.” Accessed September 2013.
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