What Causes Nerve Pain and What Are the Available Nerve Pain Treatments?
Pain is the sensory and emotional experience allied to actual or potential tissue damage. As far as most people are concerned however, pain is pain. But what is nerve pain and how does it differ from other types of pain?
What is Nerve Pain?
Also referred to as neuropathic pain, nerve pain is a chronic condition that is caused by damage or dysfunction in the nerve fibers responsible for sending pain signals to the brain. Unlike acute pain, nerve pain can last for months or even years.
Nerve pain may be associated with anomalous sensations or pain from usually non-painful stimuli. It may have constant or episodic components that resemble electric shocks or intermittent sharp shooting pains.
What causes Nerve Pain?
Nerve pain may occur due to different causes that may harm or imbalance the nerves of the brain, the spinal cord, or those of the rest of the body also known as the peripheral nerves. If the nerves in these regions are injured in some way, erroneous nerve signals can be relayed to the brain causing intermittent or constant chronic pain.
Although the pain felt is real, the cause can often be hard to outline. Patients with medical conditions such as hormone imbalances, stroke, diabetes, cancer, HIV, heart disease, alcoholism, vitamin deficiencies, and multiples sclerosis can result in nerve pains or hyper-exited nerve impulses.
Is Nerve Pain Treatable and How?
Although neuropathic pain is problematic to treat, the success of treatment is highly dependent on the underlying cause of the pain. For example, if the nerve pain is caused by an underlying cause such as diabetes, ensuring that the condition is well controlled may help improve neuropathy or ease the pain.
However, managing the underlying cause might not help with your pain. This means that you may require separate neuropathy treatment. And given the extreme nature of nerve pain, medications are usually used as the first line of treatment.
People with neuropathic pains however, need help from a doctor mostly because most of these treatments rely on “trial and error” process to identify which type treatment best suits the patient. In addition, the side effects of these drugs can be problematic. Here are the three most common types of mediations used for nerve pain treatment.
- Topical treatments: These include over the counter prescriptions such as lotions, gels, and patches. These topical treatments work best when the pain is secluded on specific areas on the skin.
- Tri-Cyclic Antidepressants: Mostly used for treating depressions, this group of drugs helps relieve nerve pain. They include Amitriptyline and Nortriptiline. Neurological studies indicate that using these drugs together with anti-convulsants can have more profound benefits than when used alone.
- Anti-convulsants: Initially used for treating conditions such as epilepsy, these drugs have been found to relieve nerve pains especially when used together with antidepressants.
What Are The Risks If Left Untreated?
Nerve pains can make you feel frustrated. However, if treated at an early stage by a neurologist, further complications such as amputation can be prevented. If left untreated, it can cause more nerve damage that can spread to various body parts especially at the foot area causing mobility problems.
Nerve pain is a very intricate condition and each individual is affected in a different way. With effective pain management, you can help stop nerve cell damage. At Complete Neurology Care, our doctors are vastly experienced in diagnosing and treating various neurological conditions. If you are in New York and struggling with nerve pains, book an appointment with us today.