Compression Neuropathies are pathological conditions which affect peripheral nerves.

But which are the nerves most commonly involved?

They are the nerves of the lower limbs and those ones of the upper limbs. For example:

  • lombosciatalgia
  • lombicruralgia
  • tarsal tunnel syndrome.

And furthermore:

  • cervicobrachialgia
  • cubital tunnel syndrome
  • carpal tunnel syndrome.

All these conditions may be due to an acute compression or to a chronic one.

In both cases, neuropathies are characterized by suffering nerves. This means that all the neurons which nerves are made up of, suffer.
In particular, we can often note a damage on the axon, which is the distal portion of a neuron and which is responsible for the transmission of the nerve impulse.

What happens in an acute compression neuropathy?

The suffering nerve causes a macrophage infiltration in the axon. Macrophages activate pro-inflammatory cytokines which, in turn, trigger inflammation- or phlogosis- and pain. So phlogosis and pain are the typical features of a chronic compression neuropathy.

But what happens, instead, in a chronic compression neuropathy?

Here we have already had all those events of an cute compresison and they persist overtime causing a damage in the myelin sheath.
There is a myelin sheath degeneration mainly due to Schwann cells death by apoptosis. This event is called “demyelination”. As a consequence, the axon is no longer able to propagate the nerve impulse in a proper way and sensory deficits and motor impairment occur.
Summarizing, phlogosis, pain and demyelination are the typical features of a compression neuropathy.