Neuropathic pain can occur in the presence or absence of an external stimulus (e.g., physical activity, touch, or pressure) by inappropriately affecting the nerve endings. The pain may result from a variety of causes, primarily including injury, inflammation, or damage to the sensory or motor nerve fibers of the brain or spinal cord.
The symptoms and site of neuropathic pain may vary from person to person. However, the nature of the pain is typically described as burning, stabbing, shooting, tingling, or even numbness. The severity of the pain can range from excruciating to less intense. The neuropathic pain may subside on its own, but it is often episodic or continuous.
The type and location of naturopathic pain can tell us about the exact region of nerve damage or injury to the nervous system. The central nervous system is generally broken into the central nervous system or the peripheral nervous system. The brain and spinal cord form the central nervous system. The peripheral nervous system is made up of nerve fibers that run throughout the body to the limbs and organs.
The type of neuropathy must be determined in order to make an accurate diagnosis. Following are the three known types:
- Sensory neuropathy: is caused by damage or injury to the sensory nerve fibers that communicate sensory information from the body or peripheral nervous system to the brain and spinal cord or the central nervous system. These nerves transfer touch, pain, and temperature signals to the brain. If it is the only source, then it is diagnosed as predominantly sensory neuropathy.
- Motor neuropathy: results from damage or injury to the motor nerve fibers that communicate motor signals from the brain and spinal cord or the central nervous system to the body or the peripheral nervous system. These nerves transfer messages that involve movement. If it is the only source, then it is diagnosed as predominantly motor neuropathy.
- Autonomic neuropathy involves damage or injury to the nerve fibers that control involuntary and continuous bodily functions like blood pressure, digestion, bladder function, temperature control, and even sexual function.
While neuropathies typically involve one or two types of nerve fibers, some may affect all three types of nerve fibers altogether.
Neuropathic pain may occur anywhere and is not limited to damage or injuries. It can be caused by a variety of reasons. There are countless known and unknown conditions and diseases that are linked to neuropathies. It may not always be easy to uncover the neuropathic pain source.
The assessment of neuropathies requires a detailed medical history and physical examination performed by a healthcare provider. Some common screenings done may be blood tests, neuroimaging tests, and nerve or skin biopsy. The doctor may work with a team of other specialists in order to make the right diagnosis and design a personal management plan for you.
Neuropathic pain is a crippling medical condition that can be challenging to treat. Medical treatments for neuropathic pain seek to identify and treat the underlying cause of pain. Treatment options for neuropathic pain might involve:
Pain relievers are usually the first line of treatment for neuropathic pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers are available and can help with minor discomfort. A healthcare provider may recommend medicines for neuropathic pain, like amitriptyline, pregabalin, gabapentin, or duloxetine. A new treatment method called ketamine infusion therapy is now surfacing.
Ketamine, a medication that efficiently causes significant pain relief, is reported to be a safe treatment option. It quickly antagonizes the overstimulated NMDA as well as norepinephrine receptor sites, which alleviates the neuropathic pain.
- Physical Therapy
A physiotherapist can provide physical therapy, which may include massage, stretching exercises, and walking. Targeted, light, and consistent physical therapy can help improve symptoms over time.
- Psychological Counseling
A mental health professional; a psychologist or psychiatrist, can provide psychological counseling around chronic pain management. Behavioral techniques can help identify psychological factors that increase pain and teach relaxation to manage it. Cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques can alter self-defeating beliefs and behaviors around pain.
Surgery is also an option in the case of peripheral neuropathy pain. It relieves pain by decompressing or decreasing pressure on the compressed nerves in the limbs, like the leg or foot.
Medical science has now advanced and serves humans by offering so many advanced treatment options for conditions like neuropathic pain. If it affects your well-being and quality of life, then you immediately need to seek help. Reach out to Ketamine Wellness Institute today to learn how we can help!