Treatment Options for Neuropathic Pain
Neuropathic pain or nerve pain have not had any proven form of treatment to cure the pain completely. Instead, the main aim of treating Neuropathic pain is to reduce the pain and reduce the negative side effects of the treatment. It is said to occur as a result of pathologic changes in or damage to neurons in the central nervous system. Neuropathic pain causes damage, dysfunction or injury to the nerve fibres. The damaged nerve fibre send incorrect signals to other parts of the body leading to acute pain. When Neuropathic pain advances to acute stage, it becomes more difficult to manage successfully, and a strong treatment method is required.
An example of neuropathic pain is phantom limb syndrome which is a rare condition that occurs when one arm or leg is removed due to injury or illness. The result is; the brain conveys the pain messages from the nerves that initially carried impulses from the missing limb. The nerves cause severe pain.
What are the Causes of Neuropathic Pain?
Neuropathic Pain has some obvious causes but the most common ones are;
- Back, hip or leg problems
- Facial nerve problems
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Spine surgery
What are the Symptoms of Neuropathic Pain?
Some of the symptoms associated with Neuropathic Pain include;
- Shooting and a burning pain
What are the Treatment Options for Neuropathic Pain?
Traditionally, treatment of nerve pain was through a combination of different medications and nerve blocks which includes implantable systems. Other effective methods include transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), physical therapy, occupational therapy and psychological therapy.
Managing Neuropathic pain may involve complex procedures. For this reason, a multi-disciplinary approach to managing the pain is useful. A perfect example, in this case, is a comprehensive pain management program which entails working with;
- A physical therapist to assist in physical rehabilitation and exercises
- A pain management specialist for medication management and interventional procedures
- A psychologist with a speciality in pain management to develop pain management techniques for pain management
Some studies on Neuropathic Pain suggest that the use of Aleve and Motrin, which are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may help ease the pain. This may differ since some people may require a stronger painkiller such as morphine while others will do with the anti-inflammatory drugs.
Here are some neuropathy treatment options:
- Medications – may include narcotics, pain patches/creams, neurogenic medications (Neurontin/Lyrica), etc.
- Physical Therapy
- Interventional treatments – such as TENS Units and spinal cord stimulator implants
In some situation, there may be involvement of other diseases such as diabetes. In such cases, more medication may be used for better management of the condition. In cases of difficulty in treatment of neuropathic pain, a pain specialist may use an invasive/implantable device to manage the pain. Also, the pain specialist may opt to use electrical stimulation on the nerves to control the pain symptoms.
Other methods of treatment used in dealing with neuropathic pain include;
- Massage therapy
- Physical therapy
- Relaxation therapy
- Seeking the services of a counselor
Well, neuropathic pain may turn to be a difficult endeavour if it is treated with standard treatments and may get worse instead of better with time. The most effective techniques that can provide relief from neuropathic pain will entail the use of a multidisciplinary approach that combines more than one therapy.
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