Skip to content

Pain Management Health Center

Select An Article

Neuropathic Pain Management

Font Size

Neuropathic pain is a complex, chronic pain state that usually is accompanied by tissue injury. With neuropathic pain, the nerve fibers themselves may be damaged, dysfunctional, or injured. These damaged nerve fibers send incorrect signals to other pain centers. The impact of nerve fiber injury includes a change in nerve function both at the site of injury and areas around the injury.

One example of neuropathic pain is called phantom limb syndrome. This rare condition occurs when an arm or a leg has been removed because of illness or injury, but the brain still gets pain messages from the nerves that originally carried impulses from the missing limb. These nerves now misfire and cause pain.

Recommended Related to Pain Management

Consider Surgery

If no other treatments help nerve pain, explore surgery. Surgery works for some types of nerve pain but not others. Take time to do homework, talk with your doctor, and get a second opinion for a realistic understanding about the surgery's results. Conditions: Nerve Pain Symptoms:  Muscle weakness, burning, headache, pain, pain with movement, lower back pain, upper back pain, sharp pain, shocking pain, extreme sensitivity, loss of feeling, numbness, tingling Triggers: Treat...

Read the Consider Surgery article > >

Causes of Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic pain often seems to have no obvious cause; but, some common causes of neuropathic pain include:

Symptoms of Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic pain symptoms may include:

  • Shooting and burning pain
  • Tingling and numbness

Diagnosing Neuropathic Pain

To diagnose neuropathic pain, a doctor will conduct an interview and physical exam. He or she may ask questions about how you would describe your pain, when the pain occurs, or whether anything specific triggers the pain. The doctor may also request both blood and nerve tests.

Neuropathic Pain Treatment

Some neuropathic pain studies suggest the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Aleve or Motrin, may ease pain. Some people may require a stronger painkiller, such as those containing morphine. Anticonvulsant and antidepressant drugs seem to work in some cases.

If another condition, such as diabetes, is involved, better management of that disorder may alleviate the pain. Effective management of the condition can also help prevent further nerve damage.

In cases that are difficult to treat, a pain specialist may use an invasive or implantable device to effectively manage the pain. Electrical stimulation of the nerves involved in neuropathic pain may significantly control the pain symptoms.

Other kinds of treatments can also help with neuropathic pain. Some of these include:

Unfortunately, neuropathic pain often responds poorly to standard pain treatments and occasionally may get worse instead of better over time. For some people, it can lead to serious disability. A multidisciplinary approach that combines therapies, however, can be a very effective way to provide relief from neuropathic pain.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on August 29, 2015
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

pain in brain and nerves
Top causes and how to find relief.
knee exercise
8 exercises for less knee pain.
acupuncture needles in woman's back
How it helps arthritis, migraines, and dental pain.
chronic pain
Get personalized tips to reduce discomfort.
illustration of nerves in hand
lumbar spine
Woman opening window
Man holding handful of pills
Woman shopping for vegetables
Sore feet with high heel shoes
acupuncture needles in woman's back
man with a migraine