Neuropathy is a disorder of the nerves. Neuropathic pain is nerve pain that may occur with injury, with multiple underlying medical conditions, or without a known cause. The wide range of causes often make it difficult to diagnose and treat. Nerves can be damaged anywhere in the body from a single nerve to multiple nerves impairing muscle movement, lost of sensation in arms or legs, and cause pain.
Treating neuropathic pain may be difficult as the reasons for the pain are unclear. However specific symptoms can be treated with medication temporarily until the condition worsens. When medication no longer manages the pain, our patients have had great success with the spinal cord stimulator.
- Shooting or burning pain
- Numbness and tingling
- Pins, needles, and hypersensitivity
- Loss of sensation
- Muscle weakness
- Heat or cold intolerance
Pain from neuropathy is often described as a feeling like no other pain ever felt before. Because it is pain caused by a malfunctioning nerve rather than a nerve responding normally, it can be difficult to describe. The pain may manifest in many different ways, and may even be different for the same person from day to day.
- Diabetes mellitus
- Herpes zoster (shingles)
- Chemotherapeutic medications
- Antiretroviral (ARV) medications
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Vitamin deficiency
- Idiopathic (unknown)
Most cases of neuropathy is seen with diabetes. Anyone who has diabetes is more susceptible to nerve damage with factors such as poor blood glucose control, smoking, being overweight, and kidney disease.
A diagnosis of neuropathic pain is given when chronic pain is present and no discernable injury or disorder is present that could be causing the pain. Our doctors go through a thorough review of your symptoms, your health history, and a physical examination testing muscle strength, reflexes, and sensitivity. CT and MRI tests are then used to rule out any physical disorder or injury before diagnosing neuropathic pain.
Treatment for neuropathy includes pain management and keeping the nerve damage from getting worse. Typically neuropathic pain is treated with medications such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) but is frequently unable to relieve pain.
In some cases neuropathic pain is treated with antidepressants and anti-seizure medications.
Our experienced doctors have been using the spinal cord stimulator to successfully treat neuropathic pain in the lower back and legs. The spinal cord stimulator is a small device that is implanted in your back and essentially reinterprets the pain signals before they reach your brain so you experience a gentle tingling instead of pain. Without neuropathic pain you can return to a pain-free life.