Peripheral Neuropathy: A Practical Approach to Diagnosis and Symptom Management

Mayo Clin Proc. 2015 Jul;90(7):940-51. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2015.05.004.


Peripheral neuropathy is one of the most prevalent neurologic conditions encountered by physicians of all specialties. Physicians are faced with 3 distinct challenges in caring for patients with peripheral neuropathy: (1) how to efficiently and effectively screen (in less than 2 minutes) an asymptomatic patient for peripheral neuropathy when they have a disorder in which peripheral neuropathy is highly prevalent (eg, diabetes mellitus), (2) how to clinically stratify patients presenting with symptoms of neuropathy to determine who would benefit from specialty consultation and what testing is appropriate for those who do not need consultation, and (3) how to treat the symptoms of painful peripheral neuropathy. In this concise review, we address these 3 common clinical scenarios. Easily defined clinical patterns of involvement are used to identify patients in need of neurologic consultation, the yield of laboratory and other diagnostic testing is reviewed for the evaluation of length-dependent, sensorimotor peripheral neuropathies (the most common form of neuropathy), and an algorithmic approach with dosing recommendations is provided for the treatment of neuropathic pain associated with peripheral neuropathy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disease Management*
  • Humans
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / therapy*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*