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Neuropathic pain

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Neuropathic pain Treatment & Diagnostics in Alwarpet, Chennai

Introduction

Neuropathic pain is defined as pain originating from any form of damage sustained by the somatosensory nervous system. Neuropathic pain is the result of a signal transmitted to the brain from an injury to any body part like the skin or the muscles. It manifests as a burning sensation or one similar to pricking pins or needles to the body. It may also cause numbness in different parts of the body. There may also be lesions formed at the site of damage that are extremely sensitive to touch.

Types of Neuropathic Pain

On a general note, pain affecting one nerve is known as mononeuropathy, and pain that affects multiple nerves is called polyneuropathy. Most cases of neuropathic pain are polyneuropathic.

The different types of neuropathic pain are distinguished according to their causes. Here are some examples:

  • Diabetic neuropathy – a consequence of severe diabetes in which the excess blood sugar causes damage to blood vessels, preventing them from providing nutrients to the nerves.  
  • Viral infections – like shingles, caused mainly in the elderly due to infection with Varicella Zoster Virus (the chickenpox virus). 
  • Amputation (or other major surgeries) – extreme pain caused due to neural trauma and central sensitization; this condition is sometimes called ‘Phantom Limb Syndrome.’
  • Severe trauma, stroke, or spinal cord injury.
  • Alcoholism or malnutrition – causing toxicity to nerves.
  • Different forms of cancer - caused as an adverse effect from chemotherapy / radiotherapy
  • HIV infection – peripheral nervous system disorders are common in HIV patients
  • Other idiopathic causes – their origins cannot be identified.

Another way to classify neuropathic pain would be to classify them according to the areas that they affect. This classifies neuropathic pain into the following categories:

  • Peripheral neuropathy – affecting the peripheral nervous system (those encompassing different body parts other than the brain and spinal cord); it affects the limbs and extremities (arms, legs, hands, and feet).
  • Autonomic neuropathy – affecting the nerves that control vital functions like breathing, digestion, and metabolism, causing high blood pressure and digestive and cardiovascular abnormalities.
  • Focal neuropathy – affects one or, at best, a few nerves in either the head, hands, torso or legs. Trigeminal neuralgia, Bell’s palsy, ulnar neuropathy, and Carpal tunnel syndrome are all forms of focal neuropathy.
  • Thoracic / lumbar radiculopathy – affecting the chest or abdominal walls; this is common in patients having type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.

Symptoms of Neuropathic Pain: When to See a Doctor?

The most common symptoms of neuropathic pain include:

  • Burning, electrical, shooting, or throbbing sensations at the site causing severe pain
  • A feeling of numbness at the site
  • A tingling sensation similar to that caused by pricking pins and needles
  • Nervous injury may disable basic senses like those needed to differentiate between temperatures (e.g., hot / cold)
  • Redness and itchiness
  • Changes in the perception of pain with seasonal changes
  • Increased sensitivity to even the mildest changes in surroundings – even touch
  • Adverse effects from neuropathic pain can cause anxiety and depression among patients
  • Muscle weakness due to prolonged duration of neuropathic pain is another adverse effect.

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, make sure to visit a neurologist in Alwarpet, Chennai, immediately.

Request an appointment at Apollo Spectra Hospitals, Alwarpet, Chennai.

Call 1860 500 2244 to book an appointment.

Treatment of Neuropathic Pain

Since neuropathic pain is a secondary condition triggered by an existing, severe injury or comorbidity or deficiency, managing this kind of pain also depends on how you manage the root condition. In case the pain is chronic or unbearable, your doctor may recommend medication for relief.

Conventional painkillers (paracetamol, ibuprofen, and aspirin) do not provide any relief in neuropathic pain. Therefore, it is important to consult your doctor for specific medications according to your symptoms.

The most common categories of drugs specially prescribed for neuropathic pain include antiepileptics, antidepressants, opioids, capsaicin cream, lidocaine patch, injections with steroids, opioids, anesthetics, or special nerve blockers. Doctors may also use Transcutaneous / Percutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) methods to block nerves carrying pain impulses to the brain.

Conclusion

Neuropathic pain is a secondary condition caused due to a major primary injury, deficiency, or comorbidity and can be managed only with symptomatic medication. However, if symptoms persist and the pain becomes chronic or unbearable, consult a neurologist near you at the earliest.

Request an appointment at Apollo Spectra Hospitals, Alwarpet, Chennai.

Call 1860 500 2244 to book an appointment.

Can neuropathic pain be cured?

Some forms of neuropathic pain subside on their own. Other (chronic forms) need symptomatic treatment.

Why do the tingling sensations in my hands and feet come and go?

Some symptoms are acute; hence they come and go. Some are chronic, and they get triggered by the most minimal stimuli.

How can I control the burning sensation in my hands and feet?

Topical treatments like lidocaine patches are prescribed for most burning sensations. Consult your doctor for specific medications.

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