Neuropathic Pain - WatsonsHealth


Neuropathic pain is described as a shooting or burning discomfort. It will possibly go away on its own but is often long term. In many instances it is unrelenting and severe, and normally it comes and goes. It is often the result of nerve injury or a malfunctioning nervous system. The effect on of nerve damage is a transformation in nerve function in the injury and areas around it.

One example of neuropathic pain is referred to as phantom limb syndrome. This rare situation happens when an arm or a leg has been removed due to illness or injury, but the brain nonetheless gets pain messages from the nerves that firstly carried impulses from the lacking limb. These nerves now misfire and may cause pain.

Common Types of Neuropathic Pain

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome: Caused by nerve compression in the wrists and causes pain in the wrist, thumb and fingers.
  • Central pain syndrome can happen as a result of damage in nervous system, like a stroke. It may also be caused by neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis. The type of pain is based on the level of nervous system damage.
  • Degenerative disk disease: You may have neuropathic back pain if the condition damages the nerves exiting or entering the spine.
  • Diabetic neuropathy causes burning or stabbing pain in the hands and feet of some people who suffer from diabetes.
  • Phantom limb pain can occur in some people after a limb is amputated. This pain feels as if it is coming from part of the limb that is no longer there.
  • Postherpetic neuralgia (shingles): This neuropathic pain is brought on by an outbreak of shingles and persists after the condition has cleared.
  • Pudendal neuralgia is a type of pelvic pain caused by compression of the pudendal nerve. It causes burning pain in the pelvis and groin.
  • Sciatica: Caused by compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve and often results in shooting pain that radiates down the back of the leg.
  • Trigeminal neuralgia is characterized by shooting neck and facial pain. The pain is often worse with touch and may make activities, like shaving, very painful.

Cancer, kidney disorders, Guillain-Barre syndrome, multiple sclerosis, HIV and alcoholism are some the diseases that can cause neuropathic pain.

Nerve damage like post-mastectomy pain (PMPS), spinal cord injury, other kinds of post-surgical pain, postoperative hernia repair pain may cause neuropathic pain.


Neuropathic pain symptoms may include:

  • Shooting and burning pain
  • Tingling and numbness


To diagnose neuropathic pain, a health practitioner will conduct a medical interview and physical exam. Blood and nerve tests may be requested.



Anticonvulsant and antidepressant drugs are often the first line of treatment.

If another condition, such as diabetes, is involved, better management of that disorder may alleviate the pain.

An invasive or implantable device will be used to manage the pain in difficult cases. Electrical stimulation of the nerves involved in neuropathic pain may remarkably manage the pain symptoms.

Other treatments:

  • Physical therapy
  • Working with a counselor
  • Relaxation therapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Acupuncture

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