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What is Neuritis?

Shannon Kietzman
Shannon Kietzman

Neuritis is a medical condition characterized by inflammation in a nerve or a portion of the nervous system. There are two primary types: optic and peripheral.

Optic neuritis, which is also referred to as retrobulbar neuritis, is generally caused by viral or bacterial infections. As the name implies, it's an inflammation of the optic nerve. It can cause an individual to experience partial or complete loss of vision. This is usually either because the inflammation destroys the myelin sheath, the insulating layer that covers the nerve, or because the axons of the nerve are damaged from the swelling.

A person afflicted with this condition often feels pain when attempting to move the eye. In addition, he or she often has difficulty identifying colors with the affected eye, though he or she may not realize it until covering the healthy eye.

An illustration of the human nervous system, with the nerves shown in green.
An illustration of the human nervous system, with the nerves shown in green.

Most patients with optic neuritis experience a return of normal vision after the infection causing the disorder has cleared up, but this often takes eight to ten weeks to occur. In some cases, the condition leads to permanent damage and loss of vision. To reduce the chances of the damage being permanent, it is important for the person experiencing this form of neuritis to receive prompt medical attention.

Alcoholism is a common cause of peripheral neuritis.
Alcoholism is a common cause of peripheral neuritis.

With peripheral neuritis, also referred to as peripheral neuropathy, damage occurs to a nerve within the peripheral nervous system. Ot can be caused by disease or illness, but is not typically caused directly by bacteria or viruses. Instead, afflictions such as AIDS, diabetes, seizures, alcoholism, and nutritional deficiencies are common causes. A person may also experience inflammation from pressure placed on the nerve due to remaining in one position for too long.

Ocular neuritis occurs when the optic nerve, the nerve which transmits the signals of the eye to the brain, becomes inflamed.
Ocular neuritis occurs when the optic nerve, the nerve which transmits the signals of the eye to the brain, becomes inflamed.

Individuals with peripheral neuritis commonly experience tremors, numbness, and an unsteadiness when walking. The sufferer might also feel tired and weak, experience cramps, or have a general feeling of heaviness. In addition, he or she may feel itching, tingling, and pain in the affected nerves. In some cases, the pain can become so severe that the patient needs to use potent drugs to relieve it.

Discussion Comments


Have any of you looked into Vitamin B12 injections? I stumbled upon this site, but have been really sick this last year. First w/ stomach problems, fatigue, headaches, tingling in my toes and hands, can't sleep, etc. I've only given myself two injections, three total, but think it's helping. Good luck!


Anyone experiencing any symptoms whatsoever concerning the nervous system should try taking at least a double dose of an extra strong multi-B complex vitamin tablet each day. It is important to take a multi-B complex tablet so all the B vitamins are in the correct ratio to one another.

A lack of vitamin B is very common in modern diets due to refined foods, white bread, white sugar, alcohol etc.

At the same time, one should take a good multivitamin to boost the immune system and ensure that there are no other vitamin and mineral deficiencies.


I have a horrible burning, searing, hot pain in one leg and knee, and numbness in my upper thigh. Two diagnoses say its neuritis and I have to wait it out to see if it gets better.

I have no insurance so no possibility of meds. The pain is so unbearable. I will try massage and Chiro to see if that helps and that is affordable. Medical care is not affordable. Does anyone have suggestions for working with this type of pain naturally or when it goes away? It's only been a month but I am exhausted and losing weight, and have no appetite due to the pain level. It's affecting my entire life.


@Plzhelpme: My sister, 20, has the same pain and purple toes, she has no idea what it is either. She has never had surgery, but it sounds like you have similar things wrong with you. She has back pain all the time, and constantly complains about being in pain. Sometimes she says it hurts to even move. We think it might fibromyalgia, or ms? or something? Can you let me know if you found anything out about yourself?


I'm so sorry to hear of this awful pain that I have just read about. I am just beginning to get nerve pain. The doctors just say it's neural pain which is not really helpful.

I will be looking further into holistic treatments such as shiatsu, comfrey, flower essences and body psychotherapy. I particularly feel for the person who mentioned abuse and I know that this is common. Our symptoms can be a guide and gateway to healing. I recommend trusting the body. It has its own wisdom. Good luck to all. --J


Maybe I can be of some help. I too, awoke one morning with left leg and hip numb to the toes. Then came the burning. I had my total thyroid checked and am taking synthroid for hypothyroidism and neurontin for the pain in my leg. I may have MS but am denying it.

I also can recommend Elaine Delack and prokarin (a compound drug for MS) Oranges are good for the neuritis as well.

Most people would do themselves some good by purchasing a book called "Back to Eden." Tons and tons of great advice to heal the body naturally.


to anon29961: My pain in mouth also began as yours as Burning Mouth Syndrome. I don't want to depress you, but two years later, it developed into a form of neuralgia or so I think, as I was referred to a neurologist, who put me on Lyrica several months ago, which hasn't helped.

I have had the mouth pain now approximately one year, with no pain relief in sight. I'm not saying yours will be the same, in fact, I pray to God that it won't be. Amen.


Well, as irritating as this is, I feel better that I'm not alone. I started with right foot numb and tingling about three years ago, then left foot. Now my arms first right, and now left hurting, not so much tingling.

I'm not sure if they're related, but I just can't sleep at night. I find yoga helps during the day, but I wake up each night with my body tingling or cramping.

My doctor just said, well things like that happen to lots of people, some people wake up almost paralyzed but it gradually goes away.

Anyhow, I'm headed to the physiotherapist today to see if he can offer suggestions.


To those of you who have itching and burning all over and your docs can't find anything. Have the doc get you a detailed liver check. A malfunctioning liver can release enzymes into your blood and cause all kinds of discomfort.


This is going to be very long.

I'm a 29 year old woman who woke up after a hysterectomy never the same! In March 2008 this began immediately after the operation.

I had extreme pain in my legs and my feet burned and turned purple especially when standing. I found out I had multiple (15) herniations, one broke from neck to spine that was a result of child abuse 22 years prior but never affected me until surgery. Now I'm disabled and can barely do much at all. I worked the day before as a prison guard as i had done for nine years. I was very healthy.

I have been transferred from doctor to doctor with multiple diagnosis ( CRSD, Raynaud's, neuritis, arthritis, carpal tunnel) probably more that I have forgotten. It's hard to believe all this, considering I could run two miles with no problem prior to waking up from surgery. I was so healthy.

Doctors are "impressed that I'm not paralyzed" and I've seen 17 different doctors in the last two years, traveling up to eight hours to see some of them with no help and no answers.

I'm on 450mg lyrica for neuropathy, 60mg of cymbalta for neuropathy and hydrocodone for pain. All of this helps maybe 20 percent of my pain and burning. I have numbness in my legs, extreme hand pains and my back is horrible, including a divot sinkage in my thoracic area that happened out of nowhere last year.

I know in my heart that something else is causing all these pains and problems and keep getting tossed from doctor to doctor to doctor, with no help.

Someone, lead me to a doctor who can help or something, please!


I have lots of medical problems. I have Gardners syndrome. (and no, i don't have plants growing out of my head! ) I have an ileostomy and abdominal tumors. Apart from that, i have problems with my hands and feet burning all the time! My arms and legs get very, very painful. I sometimes get numbness in my limbs, too. And now, to top it all off, my gums tingle and pain me 24/7! When i eat anything, my mouth feels like it's on fire! Please, somebody help. I know i can feel all this. But, sometimes, i feel like i'm going mad. My name is Tuz.


I've searching web for help with Tarsal Tunnel, which I've just had an op for, and found this site. started with tingling in left foot, then numbness, some slight tremors at night, bad twitching almost like an electric shoock, itching, sores on round my nose and mouth, unable to get to sleep, bad mouth ulcers, droping things, unsteady, lost my balance many times, feeling very tired all the time, unwell but not ill, swollen painful ankles eventually went to see neurologist, he said could be my swollen ankle had compressed my nerves in my foot, so he would try to free them, after op he said that my nerves were a mess, and he had tried to sort them out, this means 8 weeks off work, but could take up to a year to fully recover, after reading some of the posts I feel for them, seems we are alone sometimes, with our plea for help unheard.


Chiropratics can also help with Neuritis- Look it up on the web... Third Cervical Vertebrae

Areas of the body it affects:

Face, outer ear, teeth, trifacial (fifth cranial) nerve

Symptoms to watch for:

Neuralgia, acne/pimples, eczema, neuritis


A year ago, I had my 20 teeth veneered and crowned. Thereafter, I felt the unbearable pain but my dentist said it's a common reaction so I took several types of pain relievers until 2 months time. I feel it's never going away and I became dependent on painkillers. Since we can't opt for RCT for all my teeth/gums appeared in pain, my dentist suggested to see a Neurologist. I was prescribed Lyrica and continued with it for more than 7 months. 4 months after discontinue, here I am again, in terrible pain. Is my Neuritis possibly caused by my dentist's negligence in fixing my veneers and crowns? Pls help! - eDzBoN


Yes, I have the mouth burning, tingling, no taste in mouth now for 2 months. I have been to 4 doctors. It drives me up the wall. I wish this would go away. I have been treated for thrush and now my ear, nose and throat dr. says it is neuritis. Is there a cure or treatment for this? I have taken valtrex.


to anon1640: you can try some medication containing "pegalin" after consulting your doctor.


My doctor gave me Lyrica for a burning in my feet. I don't have anymore problems with the tingling and hurting but still need to get to a neurologist to find out if we can identify the cause. I hope this helps.


Several years ago a doctor advised me to take calcium which I have done and it has always helped. It usually takes a few days, 4 to 5 to get it under control.


I have the same problems as posted by anon1640. Burning, itching, tingling and also prickling all over my body. No one has been able to help with these problems. It is very hard to go to sleep at night because when you lay still the symptoms seem to be magnified. Please if anyone can let me know what to do for this I would be so grateful. Some days I just want to scream.


Does anyone suffer from Neuritis in their mouth, mostly the gums?

This started out nearly 2 years ago as Burning Mouth Syndrome, but has increasingly become worse, dentist, doctor and hospital professor cannot find anything to relieve it. It is getting beyond unbearable now.


Can someone please tell me an effective treatment for the burning, tingling, itching, uncomfortable-to-the-point-I-could-scream nerve pain that I have over every inch of my skin? I'm begging...

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    • An illustration of the human nervous system, with the nerves shown in green.
      By: Matthew Cole
      An illustration of the human nervous system, with the nerves shown in green.
    • Alcoholism is a common cause of peripheral neuritis.
      By: kmiragaya
      Alcoholism is a common cause of peripheral neuritis.
    • Ocular neuritis occurs when the optic nerve, the nerve which transmits the signals of the eye to the brain, becomes inflamed.
      By: kocakayaali
      Ocular neuritis occurs when the optic nerve, the nerve which transmits the signals of the eye to the brain, becomes inflamed.
    • Excessive drinking can inflame nerves within the peripheral nervous system.
      By: yellowj
      Excessive drinking can inflame nerves within the peripheral nervous system.
    • Inflamed optic nerves can result in vision loss that ranges from mild to severe.
      By: fred goldstein
      Inflamed optic nerves can result in vision loss that ranges from mild to severe.