The head & neck region is densely packed with a variety of different nerves with a range of different functions, autonomous (not under voluntary control) as well as somatic (under voluntary control) nerves.

The term neuropathy refers to damage to, and abnormal function or lack of function of any of these nerves and thus covers a wide range of symptoms and conditions. The diverse symptoms depend on the nerve(s) affected. Usually the term neuropathy refers to conditions of peripheral nerves, the nerves other than the central nerve system (brain).

Neuropathies can be the consequence of disease or injury, or the cause may be unknown (idopathic). Neuropathies can be acute or chronic conditions, chronic neuropathies may overlap with chronic pain conditions.

Next section: Neuropathies