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Neuropathic pain

Neuropathic pain

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What is Neuropathic Pain?

Neuropathic pain is a chronic nerve pain condition usually caused by an injury or disease. It affects the nerves that transfer information between the brain and the spinal cord to the muscles.

Chronic neuropathic pain is usually felt as a burning sensation and is often very sensitive to touch. Because it stems from nerve problems, it is different to common types of pain that are caused by injury or pressure. As a result, it does not respond to traditional painkilling medications like ibuprofen or paracetamol, and these medications will not provide pain relief to someone suffering from neuropathic pain.

There are numerous medications used to treat neuropathic pain, and your doctor will advise you which one is right for you.

What are the symptoms of Neuropathic Pain?

Neuropathic pain has numerous symptoms. You could experience one or more of these, depending on your condition and what has caused your neuropathic pain.

  • Burning pain
  • Pins and Needles
  • Numbness
  • Difficulty sensing temperature
  • Shooting pain

Often Neuropathic pain comes and goes in spurts - it isn’t usually constant which can make it difficult to live with. It can range in intensity from a mild annoyance to becoming severely debilitating and affecting your quality of life.

What are the causes of Neuropathic Pain?

There are several causes of neuropathic pain. As it is a condition that develops gradually over time, it is not usually caused by one single factor.

Neuropathic pain can be caused by diseases that affect the nervous system, such as multiple myeloma, multiple sclerosis, alcoholism, cancer and HIV.

It is also common in diseases that affect sensory nerves, such as diabetes. In conditions where nerves are compressed, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, you may also experience related neuropathic pain.

Neuropathic pain can also be caused by trauma, such as when nerves are severed, such as in spinal cord injury.

Some drugs can also cause neuropathic pain. They can cause nerve damage resulting in loss of sensation in certain parts of the body. Medicines that potentially cause neuropathic pain include some types of cancer medications, such as Cisplatin, some types of heart or blood pressure medications such as Amiodarone, and some types of skin treatment drugs such as Dapsone.

What is the best course of treatment for Neuropathic pain?

Neuropathic pain cannot be cured, however effective pain management is possible in consultation with your doctor or healthcare professional.

Treatment of neuropathic pain can be done using drugs, which include anti-epileptics, such as Gabapentin and Pregabalin, antidepressants, such as Amitriptyline, and some types of opioids such as Vicodin. Other treatments for neuropathic pain may also be effective, such as using capsaicin cream. Your doctor will be able to advise you as to the best method of treating your neuropathic pain.

How do you lower your risk of getting neuropathic pain?

Neuropathic pain isn’t an illness you contract - it’s a condition that develops gradually over time. To reduce your risk of developing neuropathic pain, the best method is to avoid habits that may cause you to develop neuropathy. This is best done by adopting healthy living habits, such as regular exercise. If you’re diabetic, it’s very important for you to monitor your blood glucose level accurately to avoid developing diabetic neuropathy.