Chronic pain is primarily one of the prevalent conditions affecting approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. A substantial number of these patients experience chronic neuropathic pain. Also, another research shows that neuropathic pain affects more women than men, with a pain frequency rate of 8% and 5.7%, respectively, in persons above 50 years. Even with this high rate of occurrence, many do not understand what it is and the treatment procedures. It has been referred to as a “hidden epidemic” due to its unpredictable nature.
Fortunately, intense neuropathic pain does not always indicate a life-threatening condition. Some people with neuropathy might have relatively minor and manageable symptoms with conservative treatment like medication or physical therapy. Here is all you need to know about different types of neuropathic pain and their treatment.
What is Neuropathic Pain?
Neuropathic pain is caused by peripheral or spinal nerve damage that transfers information between the brain and spinal cord from the skin, muscles, and other body parts. The pain is usually described as shooting, burning, tingling, numbness, and pins and needles.
Despite having complex symptoms, lesions or diseases of the somatosensory system are major causes of neuropathic pain. It is often resistant and can be very intense. Other causes include:
- Cancer and cancer treatments
- Viral infections
- Trauma or surgeries which damage the nerves
- Vascular malformations
Types of Neuropathic Pain
The different types of neuropathic pain vary with body parts and nerves affected. When one nerve is affected, it is called mononeuropathy, while damage on more than one nerve is called polyneuropathy. The different types of neuropathic pain and the body parts they affect include;
Peripheral neuropathy is a nervous disorder affecting your hands, feet, toes, arms, and legs. Often, people with peripheral neuropathy experience weakness in their muscles and reduced sensitivity in their skin.
PN differs from other nerve damage forms because it simultaneously affects multiple peripheral nerves. Even if one body part can send signals to the brain, another factor may be unfunctional.
Autonomic neuropathy is a condition that damages the autonomic nervous system. Often the damage is episodic and intermittent. This causes an inconsistent negative effect on the spinal cord signals. Problems with this system will lead to dry eyes, uncontrolled reflexes, and bladder function difficulty.
Focal neuropathy is a neurological disorder affecting one or more body parts. It is mainly caused by trauma or infection and affects muscles in an area close to the damaged nerve.
When you suffer from focal neuropathy, it is common for you to experience numbness, tingling, burning sensations, and even pain near the affected site. If you experience these symptoms and are unsure what they mean, visit an ophthalmologist or neurologist to find out more.
Proximal neuropathy is a condition in which people cannot feel their extremities. This nerve damage causes people to experience numbness, tingling, or feelings of pins and needles beginning in the fingers or hand. In addition to difficulties with walking, performing daily living and self-care activities may be hindered by this disorder.
Diabetic neuropathy is a diabetic condition resulting in nerve damage. This nerve damage can happen in any part of your body, but the most affected parts are the feet. The symptoms can start as mild and unnoticed but will progress in severity over time. People with DN usually have issues with mobility.
How is Neuropathic Pain Treated?
Most types of neuropathic pain will ease with time. However, physicians can suggest transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy for chronic neuropathic conditions.
Other treatment options include pain relief medication, and, in some cases, surgery is necessary. Additionally, here is an outline of the most common treatments;
Working with a neuropathic pain specialist offers a permanent treatment plan that does not involve surgery or medication.
Take Action Now and Start Living Again
Don’t let chronic neuropathic pain define or affect your quality of life. Maybe until now, your options have been surgery or the use of medications. Luckily, Pontchartrain Orthopedics and Sports Medicine offer treatments for neurological and chronic pain conditions. A physician evaluates your condition, conducts lab tests, and creates a treatment plan per your unique condition. Contact us to learn more about neuropathic pain and treatment offerings. We will help provide an effective treatment option for you.