What is neuropathic pain?
Neuropathic pain is a neurological disorder in which people experience intense chronic pain due to nerve damage. It often results from an injury or disease of the peripheral or central nervous system. Neuropathy can exist without pain, in the same way that pain can exist without evidence of nerve injury. Neuropathic pain, therefore, can be defined as a sensation or unpleasant emotional experience associated with dysfunction or injury of the nervous system.
What are the symptoms of neuropathic pain?
This pain usually causes numbness and pain in the hands and feet, as well as tingling or burning.
Along with pain, other symptoms may appear, such as:
- Lack of appetite
- Discomfort in the mouth
- Acute pain or a stinging sensation
What causes neuropathic pain?
Peripheral neuropathic pain, or chronic neuropathic pain, is a result of damage to the peripheral nerves. This damage can be caused by:
- Nutritional imbalances
- Diseases, such as kidney failure or cancer
- Trauma to the nerves
- Thyroid problems
How is neuropathic pain treated?
The treatment for neuropathic pain can vary according to each case. These are the treatments available:
- Medication: The first thing that specialists recommend are certain medications (e.g. antidepressants, NSAIDs, painkillers).
- Physiotherapy: To reconstitute the muscles so they can move normally and with less pain.
- Psychological therapy: pain can cause stress in the patient. This therapy helps the patient to manage the pain and resulting stress.
- Nerve blocks: local anaesthesia or steroid injections are administered at the origin of the pain, providing temporary relief.
- Medical devices: implantable devices can modulate pain signals before reaching the brain.