I. The normal function of peripheral nerves is
frequently interrupted by pressure, produced by
some action or posture of the patient.
II. The condition usually passes off rapidly, and
it is only the more persistent types, which
come to the notice of the practitioner.
III. The longer and more exposed peripheral nerves
are those most commonly affected. It is also
to be noted that the nerves, compression of
which causes little pain, are those most frequently
affected by pressure neuritis, due no
doubt to pain reaching consciousness, as a warning
signal, sooner than paraesthesia.
IV. The patient seldom connects his action or
posture and his neuritic manifestations as cause
V. Establishment of the diagnosis as well as the
treatment depends upon the discovery of the
action or posture responsible. To achieve this
great care must be exercised in taking the history,
with possibly occasional resort to leading
VI. The condition appears more frequently in thin
than in fat subjects, and in men more often than
in women. Cold and damp appear to play a part
in increasing the incidence of the condition.
VII. The pathological changes,occurring in the
nerve,depend upon the severity and duration of
the compression. They range from temporary
ischaemia and a localized area of degeneration,
with or without solution of continuity of the
axon,to intraneural fibrosis and complete nerve
VIII. A favourable diagnosis can usually be given,
spontaneous recovery occurring in every case
once the cause has been recognised and its recurrence
IX. Treatment, apart from the safeguarding of the
nerve against further injury, is directed chiefly
towards maintaining the tone and nutrition
of the structures, which have been temporarily
deprived of their nerve supply.