Neuropathic pain is a specific pain type related to your nerves. To better understand this pain type it’s helpful to know that your nerves need three things to survive: blood flow that provides nutrition and oxygen, space so that the nerves are not compressed or pushed on, and unrestricted movement of the nerve to slide freely alongside muscles or through boney canals as the body moves.
If any one of these three are compromised, a pain signal is generated by the brain to bring awareness of the problem to the nerve itself. The result is peripheral neuropathic pain. Where the pain is felt helps to distinguish this pain type from the other types. Peripheral neuropathic pain is felt in a pattern that specifically follows the anatomy of the nerve and the areas of the body the nerve is connected to.
What Causes Neuropathic Pain?
Neuropathic pain is caused by compromised blood flow, movement, or space to a specific nerve or group of nerves. Several factors have been linked to the development of neuropathic pain. These include:
- Injury to the nerves: Injuries that impact the nerves, such as severed nerves or nerve compromise from fractures, dislocations, and blunt force trauma, are common causes of neuropathic pain.
- Diseases and infections: There are certain medical disorders, infections, and diseases that can cause neuropathic pain. These include diabetes (diabetic neuropathy), shingles (postherpetic neuralgia), multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, cancer, fibromyalgia, chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS), and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus.
- Nerve compression: Conditions that compress or pinch nerves can lead to neuropathic pain. Examples include herniated discs in the spine, carpal tunnel syndrome, or nerve entrapment syndromes like sciatica.
- Neurological disorders: Conditions affecting the central nervous system, such as stroke and spinal cord injuries, can also potentially result in neuropathic pain.
- Certain medications or treatment procedures: Certain medications, such as chemotherapy medication, can compromise the nerve blood supply or special covering and consequently result in neuropathic pain. Medical procedures where nerves are cut such as a surgery required for an amputation can also lead to neuropathic pain.
- Genetic factors: In some cases, genetic factors can predispose individuals to developing neuropathic pain. Certain inherited conditions (hereditary neuropathies) affect nerve function and can lead to chronic pain. These may include conditions like Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and Fabry’s Disease.
What Are the Symptoms of Neuropathic Pain?
Symptoms of neuropathic pain can vary widely from person to person depending on the underlying cause and other factors. Common symptoms include burning or prickling sensations, sharp electric shock-like pains, numbness, tingling sensations, and hypersensitivity to touch or temperature changes. Neuropathic pain may become chronic in nature (lasting for more than 3 months) and lead to other symptoms such as fatigue, chronic stress, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and cognitive decline.
Neuropathic Pain Vs Nerve Pain – Is There a Difference?
The terms neuropathic pain and nerve pain are often used interchangeably, which brings us to the question, is there a distinction between the two? The simple answer is no. Neuropathic pain is synonymous with nerve pain – the two terms describe this specific pain type when the blood flow, ability to move, or space around the nerve is compromised.
Is Nerve Pain Treatable?
The good news is that neuropathic pain is treatable. Treatment options will depend on how the nerve’s blood flow, movement, or space is compromised but can include medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications. Holistic remedies such as acupuncture and mindfulness practices may also help to reduce the severity of nerve pain.
In severe cases, treatments such as nerve blocks, spinal cord stimulation, or surgery, may be helpful. Your doctor may also develop an integrative treatment plan that addresses the physical and psychological aspects of neuropathic pain simultaneously for best results.
Discovering Hope with Kairos Restorative Medicine
Neuropathic pain can be debilitating, and treatment may prove to be an uphill battle for many people. Just because nerve pain may not respond to conventional pain medications, don’t think that there is no hope for relief.
This is where Kairos Restorative Medicine comes in. With a specialized focus on offering personalized ketamine treatments, our clinic stands at the forefront of innovative evidence-based solutions for managing chronic and treatment-resistant conditions like neuropathic pain.
We offer individualized care to help provide adequate and reliable symptom relief and empower you to reclaim your life. If traditional treatments haven’t provided the relief you’re looking for, it might be time to explore alternative treatment options at Kairos Restorative Medicine. Schedule an appointment for a free ketamine consultation today, and let us help you get on the path to a pain-free life.