Peripheral neuropathies: supportive measures and rehabilitation

Yi Pan MD PhD (

Dr. Pan of St. Louis University has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Florian P Thomas MD MA PhD MS (

Dr. Thomas of Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, received consulting fees from Pharnext and Acceleron.

Louis H Weimer MD, editor. (

Dr. Weimer of Columbia University has received consulting fees from Roche.

Originally released September 21, 2001; last updated July 9, 2019; expires July 9, 2022


Physical and occupational therapies can improve functional capacity in patients with peripheral nerve disorder. Therapeutic exercises, orthoses, devices, and other therapies are discussed in this article as the basis for rehabilitation in peripheral neuropathy. Patients should refer to physical and occupational therapists for evaluation and treatment. New orthoses and devices may be available with time to provide more comfort and mobility for patients with peripheral nerve disease.

Key points


• Refer to physical and occupational therapies for peripheral nerve disorders.


• Order orthoses and devices to adapt functional impairment and disability.


• Neuromuscular electrical stimulation may be beneficial in pain control or prevention of muscle atrophy.

Historical note and terminology

The beneficial effects of various physical agents and exercise can be traced back to ancient human history. Electrical stimulation, heat, massage, and exercise were used therapeutically during and after World War I (Coulter 1947). Physical and occupational therapies play an important role in the improvement of function in acute or chronic nerve disease.

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