Pain is composed of a myriad of physical and psychological components that affect each patient differently. Some patients also experience anxiety, mood changes, depression and fatigue along with physical pain. Since pain is something that cannot be seen, it is often difficult to explain what a patient is feeling. For some patients, pain that seemingly has no cause, but comes on suddenly and feels like tingling or pins and needles in the extremities can be a mystery. In some cases,the pain can be very severe.
Neuropathic pain is pain that is caused by damage to or the disease of the somatosensory nervous system. It is a chronic pain state in which nerve fibers are either damaged or dysfunctional.These damaged fibers send the wrong signals to pain receptors in the brain. This can affect the central nervous system or the peripheral nerves – causing pain in the hands and feet.
Neuropathic pain differs from other types of pain in the way it feels. The pain is usually described as a burning sensation or numbness. In some cases, patients have difficulty sensing temperature. It can also manifest in shooting, stabbing pain, tingling sensations, or the feeling of pins and needles.
One study estimates that as many as 10 percent of Americans experience some type of neuropathic pain and another has estimated upwards of 4 million people who suffer from neuropathic pain in the United States
Finding the cause of Neuropathic pain can be difficult. The following conditions are all thought to be inciting factors or underlying causes:
- Diseases such as MS, multiple myeloma, and other types of cancer.
- Chronic alcohol use or abuse
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Chemotherapy and radiation from cancer treatments
- Injuries to tissue, muscles, or joints – while the injury may heal, the damage to the nervous system may not. Herniated discs and spinal cord compression can damage nerve fibers.
- Shingles can trigger several weeks of neuropathic pain along a nerve.
- Syphilis infection can lead to the burning, stinging unexplained pain.
- Limb loss – causing “phantom limb syndrome”
- Vitamin B deficiency
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Thyroid issues
- Spinal arthritis
Currently, there is no proven treatment to prevent or cure neuropathic pain. However, South Florida’s Best Spine Doctors at Spine and Wellness Centers of America are able to tackle this complex condition with a multitude of non-invasive and holistic options. The primary treatment goal will be to reduce pain as much as possible while helping patients live a fulfilling life.
The first step is locating the pain and developing a treatment plan that is as individualized to every patient as the pain itself. Due to its complex nature, treating neuropathic pain requires a multi-disciplinary, integrated approach to managing pain.
Treatment may include the treatment of the underlying disease using medicine, physical therapy, and even psychological counseling. At SWCA, non-invasive and leading-edge treatment options include: Injections/nerve blocks, electrical nerve stimulation, and Spinal Cord Stimulation.
Though neuropathic pain is difficult to treat, patients have found success by combining rehabilitation with emotional, social and mental support. With a variety of treatment options available, Spine and Wellness Centers of America is able to successfully provide patients who suffer from Neuropathic pain a plan of action designed to help them resume everyday activities and obtain an optimum quality of life.