Managing Nerve Pain: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments
Pain management can be incredibly difficult, especially when you have nerve pain that comes and goes with no cause or pattern. Although not all pain can be managed well, there are still steps you can take to reduce your discomfort and live your life as comfortably as possible. With the right combination of treatments, such as those discussed in this article on managing nerve pain, your daily life will become much more manageable.
What is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy refers to any disease or condition that affects your nerves. Neuropathy is also sometimes referred to as nerve pain. Many different conditions can cause neuropathy, including diabetes mellitus and cancer treatments such as chemotherapy. The two most common types of neuropathy are diabetic neuropathy (in people with diabetes) and postherpetic neuralgia (in people who have had shingles). Neuropathic pain may be difficult to diagnose in those who do not have a known cause for their nerve
What are the symptoms of Neuropathy?
To begin with, patients experiencing neuropathy experience varying degrees of discomfort. This pain is often described as a burning sensation in a localized area. In addition to pain, other symptoms include numbness or weakness in various parts of your body. These sensations are caused by damage to your peripheral nerves — a large network of nerves found throughout your body that send signals from your brain to different parts of your body. They can be damaged by many different diseases including diabetes, alcoholism and cancer.
How do you know if you have Neuropathy?
Neuropathy can be characterized by pain in either one or multiple locations. The most common areas for neuropathic pain are your feet, legs and hands. You may experience numbness or tingling sensations anywhere in your body where a nerve is present such as your face, genitals or chest. Neuropathy can also cause muscle weakness and cramping. Many people with neuropathy notice they have an abnormal sensitivity to touch. These symptoms may vary from person to person depending on which nerves are affected by neuropathy.
Are there lifestyle changes that can help with Nerve Pain?
Change your lifestyle to help control neuropathic pain. It’s important to reduce stress through meditation, massage or yoga. Also try taking breaks throughout the day to stretch your body and relax your mind. If you smoke, stop smoking can trigger nerve pain as well as other chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease or lung cancer. Eat a balanced diet that includes high fiber foods like whole grains and fruits along with antioxidant-rich vegetables such as broccoli or spinach.
Is medication an option for Nerve Pain relief?
Medication can ease symptoms. Several types of medication are available to control neuropathic pain. These include anticonvulsants (valproic acid, carbamazepine), tricyclic antidepressants (amitriptyline), and gabapentinoids (gabapentin). Some newer drugs used to treat nerve pain such as pregabalin have few side effects because they target specific neurotransmitters involved in nerve impulses.
Medication might be a good choice if you have pain caused by a specific injury or illness. For example, several types of medications are used to treat damage nerve after a shingles infection (postherpetic neuralgia). Other common options include anticonvulsants, tricyclic antidepressants, or corticosteroids. Your doctor may also recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen to reduce swelling around affected nerves.
Physiotherapy and other exercises to help manage Nerve Pain
If you have sciatic nerve pain that’s caused by compressed or injured nerves in your spine, there are
exercises you can do to help relieve your symptoms. A good doctor should recommend these to you, but if they don’t or you’re struggling on your own — here are some basic exercises that might help.
Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) therapy as a treatment for Chronic Nerve Pain
Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) therapy is a procedure that has been shown to provide pain relief for some people suffering from chronic nerve pain (neuropathic pain). Neuropathic pain occurs when there is damage to or problems with parts of your nervous system. The nerve fibers may be damaged from an injury, disease or surgery. They send messages of pain to your brain instead of doing their normal job of sending information about how you move your muscles.
These Are Some of the Conditions we Treat
- Carpal Tunnel Injections
- Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG) Stimulation
- Intercostal Nerve Block
- Lateral Femoral Cutaneous Nerve Block
- Spinal Cord Stimulation
- Stellate Ganglion Block
When should I see my doctor about Neuropathy or Nerve pain?
If your pain is causing you to avoid work or normal activities, see your doctor. He or she can help you find solutions and treatments for nerve pain. If nerve pain is caused by a medical condition, like diabetes or a vitamin deficiency, your doctor may be able to find ways to manage it. In some cases of nerve damage, which could be caused by diabetes or chemotherapy treatment for cancer patients, there is no known cure but treatments are available that can help manage symptoms.
Are there alternative treatments for Neuropathy?
While conventional treatments for neuropathy exist, there are also a number of alternative remedies for pain management. Those who struggle with nerve pain may find that seeking a more holistic approach can offer them relief. Chiropractic care, acupuncture and massage therapy have all been shown to be effective ways to manage nerve pain symptoms. If you’re seeking alternative ways to manage your neuropathy symptoms, be sure to discuss your options with your doctor before trying anything new.
How Can Elite Pain and Spine Help?
Sometimes nerve pain is caused by an injury or an underlying condition such as diabetes. At times there may be no known cause. At Elite Pain and Spine, we believe in looking at all possible causes of your symptoms and helping you manage your condition to give you a better quality of life. The best results can only be achieved if you are committed to follow through with all aspects of treatment plan that includes managing lifestyle factors such as stress and diet.