Treatment Options for Neuropathic Pain

If you’ve been living with burning pain or numbness in your body, you may be suffering from neuropathic pain, and the good news is that there are treatment options available for you.

What is Neuropathic Pain?

Neuropathic pain, which often feels like a burning or shooting sensation, is caused by a lesion or disease of the somatosensory system. It is often a chronic condition and can be accompanied by feelings of numbness or a loss of sensation as well. If left untreated, the condition may worsen with time.

What are the Symptoms?

Unlike with many neuropathic conditions, neuropathic pain is difficult to diagnose specifically because of the lack of obvious symptoms which accompany it. While some patients may express pain from a light touch, doctors often have to rely on buzz words which patients use to describe their pain on a scale of one to ten. Common descriptors include:

  • Sharp
  • Dull
  • Hot
  • Cold
  • Sensitive
  • Itchy
  • Deep
  • Stinging
  • Burning

What Causes Neuropathic Pain?

While neuropathic pain may not always have an obvious cause, it can usually be broken down into four categories.

  • Diseases can also be a cause of neuropathic pain. Patients who suffer from diabetes often report feelings of numbness in their limbs followed by burning or stinging. Long-term alcohol abuse may result in damage to nerves as well as treatments for cancer with chemotherapy and radiation both having an impact upon the nervous system.
  • Injuries such as damage to muscle, joints, and tissue may result in neuropathic pain after the injury has healed by the nerves have not resulted in persistent pain months or even years after the injury has occurred.
  • Infections from shingles or syphilis have been known in rare instances to cause neuropathic pain as well as patients with HIV.
  • Loss of a limb or phantom limb syndrome may occur after an arm or leg has been amputated. This occurs because your brain still believes the limb is there and is receiving pain signals from the missing limb when it is actually just nerves located near the amputation site misfiring.

How can I Alleviate Neuropathic Pain?

Because there is no one source of neuropathic pain, there is no one set treatment option. For some neuropathic pain, the best source of treatment is to treat the underlying condition causing it such as address a patient’s diabetes.

Many patients find that over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs have little to no effect upon their pain and so your pain specialist may offer treatment options through prescription medications of opioids, anti-depressants, anticonvulsants or seizure medication, nerve blockers such as injected steroids or localized anesthetics.

For many patients, the pain can also be alleviated with lifestyle changes. Your doctor may recommend massage or physical therapy to help alleviate your pain.

In some cases where other treatment options have failed, doctors may also recommend surgery and implant a device. This device will send electrical signals to the brain, spinal cord, and nerves which disrupt the neuropathic pain signals.

Don’t Let Pain Control Your Life

If you’ve been suffering from neuropathic pain for weeks, months, or even years, the time to heal is now. Contact Southeast Pain & Spine Care today to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists and start the road to recovery and pain management today.