Neuropathic pain is pain that your nerves generate themselves rather than signifying other types of tissue damage. Your nerves communicate sensory information to your spinal cord and brain (central nervous system) using electrical impulses and chemical messengers. They warn your brain of harm by sending pain signals, alerting you to the tissue damage.
Neuropathy is a term for damage or dysfunction of the nerves. It can cause symptoms like burning, prickling, tingling or "pins-and-needles" sensations, numbness, weakness, and very commonly, neuropathic pain.
In addition to pain that may be shooting, searing, or shock-like, you might get hypersensitivity problems. One of these is allodynia, where even the lightest touch feels painful. Another is hyperalgesia, where normally mild pain feels far more intense.
Small nerve fiber (C-fiber) neuropathy causes temperature-related neuropathic pain, resulting in cold, hot, or burning pain. Large nerve fiber neuropathy causes radiating or cramping pain at night.
Neuropathic pain can develop for many reasons. You could get it after a serious illness, or you might develop chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain if you have cancer. Nutrient deficiencies, poisoning, alcoholism, repetitive stress, and physical trauma can all cause neuropathic pain.
There are also many diseases for which neuropathic pain is a symptom, including:
Neuropathic pain can affect multiple nerves or just a few. A neuropathic pain condition like trigeminal neuralgia or sciatica that affects only one nerve is called mononeuropathy.
If the cause of your neuropathic pain isn't clear, your provider might refer to it as idiopathic. Regardless of whether your neuropathic pain has an identifiable cause or is idiopathic, the sensation of pain is equally real and distressing.
The Pain Specialists of Oregon team conducts a comprehensive evaluation to establish the best treatment for your neuropathic pain. That could include tests such as nerve block injections, nerve conduction velocity (NCV) tests, and an EMG (electromyogram). Depending on the results, your individualized treatment plan might include:
Some forms of neuropathic pain resolve in time, while others are long-term, frequently permanent, conditions.
To find out how Pain Specialists of Oregon can help you overcome neuropathic pain, call their office today or book an appointment online