Summary & Explanation
Pain caused by damaged, injured, or malfunctioning nerve fibres is referred to as neuropathic pain. Symptoms may range from moderate to severe, and the condition is generally long-lasting and complicated. Rather than being a sickness in and of itself, neuropathic pain is considered to be an effect of a disorder that affects the body’s sensory nerves. Around 7 out of every 100 people will be diagnosed with this, and the elderly are at increased risk.
Neuropathic Pain Symptoms
Nerve damage may cause mild to severe discomfort. Yet, abnormal pain sensitivity is virtually always a part of it. It might be anything from a dull ache that won’t go away to a searing stab that will leave you in agony. Numbness, burning, tingling, a sharp, stabbing pain, or pain akin to an electrical shock are all possible descriptions of the distress. Some common phrases used to describe nerve pain are as follows:
Pain or discomfort in response to a normally painless stimuli, such as gentle touch, is called allodynia.
Hyperpathia: sudden pain that lingers and becomes intolerable after its first uncomfortable phase
To the nerves, what is often a moderate annoyance seems like excruciating agony; this condition is known as hyperalgesia.
Paraesthesia: is the experience of pain or discomfort in the absence of an external source.
Neuropathic pain’s root causes
There doesn’t seem to be a single, clear reason for this ailment. Nevertheless it is believed that peripheral nerve injury is linked to neuropathic pain. Nevertheless, nerve pain may also be brought on by damage or trauma to the brain or spinal cord. The following are some possible explanations:
Pain in the face caused by an infected cranial nerve, also known as trigeminal neuralgia.
Herpes zoster (shingles) is a viral illness that affects the nerves.
Around 25% of all cases of neuropathy may be attributed to diabetes, which leads to the development of diabetic neuropathy.
Conditions affecting the motor neurons, such as multiple sclerosis and HIV-related neuropathy
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repercussions of alcoholism or drug use
Accumulation of toxic substances
Nerve damage from an external source.
Disorders of the connective tissue
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Neuropathy Pain: Classifications
The following are the seven causes-based classifications of neuropathic pain:
Toxic: pain brought on by noxious substances, as in the case of cancer chemo-radiation.
Nutritional deficiencies that lead to metabolic dysfunction, such as diabetes and vitamin B1 insufficiency, are referred to as “metabolic neuropathy.”
Pain in the nerves as a result of physical damage, as in phantom limb syndrome
Excessive external pressure on the nerve endings may lead to a sustained damage and degeneration of the nerves, leading to neuropathic pain.
Autoimmune: Nerve damage and pain might be caused by the body’s own natural antibodies.
Infectious: Varicella zoster virus (trigeminal neuralgia), HIV, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and Chagas disease are all viral illnesses that may cause neurological pain.
Hereditary and congenital defects have both been connected to neuropathic illnesses.
When You Should See a Doctor
A trip to the doctor is frequently required while dealing with neuropathic pain because of how severe the pain or discomfort is. Your doctor will initially try to figure out what’s causing the discomfort by asking you questions about your medical history and seeing how you’re now feeling. If your doctor suspects that you have nerve injury or that a more complex remedy is required, he or she will send you to a neurologist or nerve expert.
The root cause of the nerve discomfort will be determined after a series of tests and a thorough physical examination. In order to assess whether nerve fibres have been seriously impacted, your sensitivity to stimuli including light touch, body position, temperature, and pain will be tested. Diabetes, liver and kidney function tests, vitamin deficiencies, and other metabolic problems may all be ruled out with a simple blood draw. Electromyography (EMG), nerve conduction velocity (NCV), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and nerve biopsies are some of the more advanced diagnostic tools that may be recommended after a thorough physical examination.
How to Deal with Neuropathic Pain
There are two primary focuses in neuropathy treatment: alleviating pain and curing the underlying cause of the ailment. Therefore, the best therapy for a patient requires first identifying what’s causing them discomfort. Surgical or interventional therapies may be necessary, for instance, if the neuropathy is due to mechanical strain on the nerve fibres. Supplementation will be recommended if it is determined that a vitamin deficit is at the basis of the problem. When the underlying cause is treated, the injured nerves generally regenerate or mend on their own, relieving the neuropathic pain.
The following drugs are indicated for the treatment of neuropathy-related pain and distress:
Pain Medicines – Opiate-based painkillers such as morphine or codeine are commonly recommended for neuropathic diseases, but only for short-term usage owing to undesirable side effects.
Certain antidepressants, such duloxetine, have been shown to help with neuropathy symptoms by disrupting normal nerve impulse conduction. After a week or two of consistent usage, you should start to see results.
Medication to prevent or treat convulsions or seizures – Anti-epileptic drugs are often recommended as a more expedient substitute for antidepressants. They work by blocking nerve impulses, much as antidepressants do for relieving depression, but with fewer negative side effects.
Local anaesthetics – Analgesics, such as lidocaine, used topically, may give brief relief from pain caused by conditions such as post-herpetic or Pregalin 50 mg.
Injecting a local anaesthetic near the damaged nerve may help alleviate pain immediately by blocking the nerve’s ability to transmit pain signals to the brain.
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