Neuropathic pain is a chronic pain condition that develops when nerve fibers have become damaged or dysfunctional as a result of tissue injury. Damaged nerve fibers may change nerve function at the site of the injury, resulting in misfired or incorrect signals being sent to pain centers in the brain. Phantom limb pain is an example of damaged nerve fibers sending the wrong signals to areas of the brain, causing pain.
Neuropathic Pain Causes
The cause of neuropathic pain is relatively unknown, but some lifestyle choices, traumatic injuries, and genetic factors may lead to the development of neuropathic pain. Some common causes of neuropathic pain include:
- Alcohol abuse
- Multiple Sclerosis
Neuropathic Pain Symptoms
Symptoms of neuropathic pain may include:
- Shooting, burning or throbbing pain throughout the body
- Tingling and numbness in the limbs
Neuropathic Pain Treatments
Mild neuropathic pain may only require conservative treatments such as rest, ice and nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for adequate pain relief. Moderate to severe cases of neuropathic pain may benefit from transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation or spinal cord stimulation, depending on the nerves that have been affected. Injections or nerve blocks may also be administered for neuropathic pain that affects specific tissues and muscle groups.