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neuropathic pain

Neuropathic pain: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Injury and damage to the nerves in your central nervous system can cause neuropathic pain. Many people may experience chronic pain in the body as a sharp and burning sensation, while others experience tingling and numbness. Any disease or damage in the nerve fibers disrupts the pain signals the nerves send to and receive from other parts of the body.

Damage to your nerves can distort existing signals, prevent the usual signs from transferring, and create new movements. But, sometimes, it can make non-pain signals feel painful. These problems can cause painful symptoms that may range from mild to severe.

Nervous system damage can affect the senses, so an individual may have changes in how they experience pressure, movement, temperature, and touch. In this blog, you will learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of pain of neuropathic.

What is Neuropathic pain?

Neuropathic pain is a painful condition that is usually chronic. It is generally caused by chronic, progressive nerve disease, and it can also occur as a result of injury or infection. If you have chronic neuropathic pain, it can flare up at any time without an apparent pain-inducing event and factor. On the other hand, acute neuropathic pain is uncommon and can occur.

Generally, non-neuropathic pain occurs due to an illness or injury. For instance, if you drop a heavy book on your foot, your nervous system sends pain signals immediately after the book hits. With this type of pain, the pain is not generally triggered by an injury or event. Instead, your body sends the pain signals to the brain unprompted.

An individual with a neuropathic pain condition may experience burning and shooting pain. This pain may be constant or may occur intermittently. The feeling of numbness and loss of sensation is familiar. It tends pain to get worse over time.

About one in three Americans experience chronic pain. Which one in five people experience NP? A study in 2014 estimated that about 10 percent of Americans experience some form of neuropathic pain. Understanding the possible causes helps you find better treatment and ways to prevent the pain from getting worse over time.


How does neuropathic pain occur

Various health problems can cause damage to your nerves, leading to neuropathic pain. It includes:

  • autoimmune conditions
  • vascular malformations
  • blood vessel disease
  • HIV
  • shingles
  • stroke
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • chemotherapy
  • diabetes

Injuries can cause nerve damage and tissue or put excess pressure on the nerves. It may occur during surgery and due to a severe accident, including one that results in a spinal cord injury. Certain infections, including shingles, can sometimes damage the nerves and cause this type of pain.

Excessive alcohol consumption can also result in neuropathy. It may be due to the alcohol causing nutritional deficiencies and toxic damage to nerves. Sometimes, certain drugs can also cause NP. However, there may be no apparent cause of neuropathic pain in many cases.

Symptoms of Neuropathic Pain?

Some symptoms of neuropathic pain may include:

  • changes in pain associated with the weather
  • itchiness
  • skin that appears mottled or red
  • reduced use of the senses, including difficulty sensing temperatures
  • a tingling sensation or needles and pins
  • numbness
  • electrical like sensations
  • severe pain, which may feel like burning, throbbing, or shooting

It can also cause an individual to be overly sensitive to touch. For instance, an individual may find that the slightest pressure or friction from clothing or a gentle touch can aggravate the nerves and cause pain. Chronic pain can affect routine life and affect an individual’s life quality. Some side effects of this type of pain may include:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • difficulty sleeping due to pain

How does it get diagnosed?

Medical professionals primarily diagnose neuropathic pain by listening to you and examining you. In the examination, they may probably test the nerves by testing the strengths of the muscles, seeing how sensitive it is to touch, and checking your reflexes.

You may be asked to have tests such as:

a CT scan and MRI scan to look for anything that can be pressing on a nerve.

nerve conduction studies measure how quickly your nerves carry electrical signals, blood tests to check your general health and look for underlying conditions

A medical professional may ask for your medical history and do physical exams. They may recognize typical neuropathic pain symptoms if they know and suspect that you have a nerve injury.

A medical professional will then try to find the underlying cause of this type of pain and trace the symptoms.

What is the treatment of neuropathic pain?

Some symptoms of neuropathic pain will ease with time. Managing and treating the underlying cause may help relieve the symptoms of this type of pain. An individual with chronic neuropathic pain may require treatment to relieve debilitating and painful symptoms.

Consuming nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication is not generally effective for this type of pain.

Some other drugs that may help to relieve the pain may include:

  • injections or nerve blocks that are a combination of anesthetics, opioids, and steroids.
  • lidocaine patch
  • capsaicin cream
  • opioids
  • antidepressants
  • antiepileptic medicines

A medical professional may also suggest treating with a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation machine. This machine delivers a small electrical impulse to the area of pain through an electrode attached to the skin. This impulse will stimulate the specific nerve and block the pain signals. It can help to relax muscles and ease the painful symptoms.

If this treatment is not effective, an individual may try percutaneous electrical; nerve stimulation. It works in the same way as TENS. However a medical professional will instead use a needle to place the electrode under the skin rather than on top of it.

The most common treatment for the pain of neuropathic is opioid drugs. They do not usually reduce the pain of neuropathic but also reduce other types of pain. A medical professional may hesitate to recommend them for fear that an individual may become dependent.

The commonly prescribed opioid drug is Tramadol. It is an oral drug used to help relieve ongoing moderate to moderately severe pain. It is similar to opioid analgesics that work in the brain to change how your body feels and responds to pain.

It is a narcotic-like pain medicine that helps with NP relief.


Injury and damage to the nerves may cause neuropathic pain. Its symptoms can range from severe and mild. An individual may experience shooting or burning pain, loss of some sensation, numbness, and tingling. However, treatment options may include drugs for pain relief in some cases. Some neuropathic pain types may ease resolve over time, while other types will require prolonged pain management.

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