YouTube videos on peripheral nerve pain may misguide patients

October 21, 2015

Researchers who combed YouTube for videos regarding peripheral neuropathy, or nerve damage that causes weakness, numbness, and pain in the hands and feet, found 200 videos, but only about half of them were from healthcare professionals, mostly chiropractors.

Alternative medicine was cited most frequently among the treatment discussions, followed by devices and pharmacological treatments. Only a minority of treatment discussions were based on recommendations by the American Academy of Neurology.

"Caution should be exercised when YouTube videos are used as a source of information for the treatment of neuropathy," said Dr. Harsh Gupta, lead author of the Muscle and Nerve study.

"With the ever-increasing reach of YouTube to our patients, a stronger presence of neurologists in this social medium is needed."

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More information: Harsh V. Gupta et al. Analysis of youtube as a source of information for peripheral neuropathy, Muscle & Nerve (2015). DOI: 10.1002/mus.24916

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