Exploring the Various Types of Neuropathic Pain
Neuropathic pain is a form of chronic pain due to a dysfunction in the nervous system. It can be a burning, shooting, or electric shock-like sensation and can be severe and debilitating. The pain can be localized to a specific area or widespread. It can be difficult to treat neuropathic pain Austin, and you may need a combination of medications and non-pharmacological therapies to obtain relief. Early diagnosis and management of neuropathic pain are important to prevent the development of chronic pain and improve quality of life. The different types of neuropathic pain include:
Phantom limb pain
Phantom limb pain occurs in individuals who have had a limb amputated or lost. You experience pain in the area where your limb used to be, which can manifest as a burning, tingling, or shooting sensation. Medical experts relate this type of pain to the changes in the nervous system that occur after amputation. The brain continues to receive signals from your missing limb, which can lead to the development of abnormal pain sensations.
Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN)
Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is a type of neuropathic pain that occurs due to the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus in the dorsal root ganglia. This reactivation can cause severe and debilitating pain that persists even after the rash and blisters of the shingles have healed. PHN typically affects older adults and can lead to symptoms such as burning, itching, or throbbing pain in the affected area.
Post-traumatic neuropathy occurs due to physical trauma or injury to nerves in your body. The trauma can include injuries to the spine, head, or limbs. Damaged nerves can send abnormal signals to your brain, which can cause pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness in the affected area. Post-traumatic neuropathy can also cause changes in skin temperature or color, as well as changes in muscle function. The severity and duration of symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the damage and may require long-term management with medication, physical therapy, or other treatments.
Trigeminal neuralgia (TN)
Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) affects the trigeminal nerve, which is responsible for facial sensation and movement. TN causes sudden, severe, and sharp pain triggered by activities such as eating, talking, or even touching your face. The pain is typically unilateral and can last from a few seconds to several minutes. TN can be due to various factors, including nerve damage, multiple sclerosis, or a tumor pressing on the nerve.
Available treatments for neuropathic pain
First-line treatments for neuropathic pain include anticonvulsants, such as gabapentin and pregabalin, and tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline and nortriptyline. Topical agents, such as lidocaine patches, capsaicin cream, and menthol, may also provide relief. Sometimes, your doctor may recommend opioid analgesics, although they carry a risk of addiction and tolerance. Non-pharmacological treatments, such as physical therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and acupuncture, may also effectively manage neuropathic pain. Your Republic Spine and Pain provider will work closely with you to develop the most effective treatment plan.
For more information about neuropathic pain, call the Republic Spine and Pain office or schedule an appointment online.