Neuropathic Pain (Nerve Pain)

  • Medical Author:
    Danette C. Taylor, DO, MS, FACN

    Dr. Taylor has a passion for treating patients as individuals. In practice since 1994, she has a wide range of experience in treating patients with many types of movement disorders and dementias. In addition to patient care, she is actively involved in the training of residents and medical students, and has been both primary and secondary investigator in numerous research studies through the years. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Michigan State University's College of Osteopathic Medicine (Department of Neurology and Ophthalmology). She graduated with a BS degree from Alma College, and an MS (biomechanics) from Michigan State University. She received her medical degree from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Her internship and residency were completed at Botsford General Hospital. Additionally, she completed a fellowship in movement disorders with Dr. Peter LeWitt. She has been named a fellow of the American College of Neuropsychiatrists. She is board-certified in neurology by the American Osteopathic Board of Neurology and Psychiatry. She has authored several articles and lectured extensively; she continues to write questions for two national medical boards. Dr. Taylor is a member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Council (MSAC) of the Alzheimer's Association of Michigan, and is a reviewer for the journal Clinical Neuropharmacology.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

Surprising Reasons You're in Pain Slideshow Pictures

Diabetic Neuropathy Treatment

What are treatment options for a patient with diabetic neuropathy?

There are newer medications on the market that may be of benefit called duloxetine (Cymbalta) and Lyrica. You should speak with your doctor about the possibility of trying these agents either alone or in combination with other medication.

Quick GuideNerve Pain Pictures Slideshow: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Options

Nerve Pain Pictures Slideshow: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Options

What is neuropathic pain?

When the sensory system is impacted by injury or disease, the nerves within that system cannot work to transmit sensation to the brain. This often leads to a sense of numbness, or lack of sensation. However, in some cases when this system is injured, individuals experience pain in the affected region. Neuropathic pain does not start abruptly or resolve quickly; it is a chronic condition which leads to persistent pain symptoms. For many patients, the intensity of their symptoms can wax and wane throughout the day. Although neuropathic pain is thought to be associated with peripheral nerve problems, such as neuropathy caused by diabetes or spinal stenosis, injuries to the brain or spinal cord can also lead to chronic neuropathic pain.

Neuropathic pain can be contrasted to nociceptive pain, which is the type of pain which occurs when someone experiences an acute injury, such as smashing a finger with a hammer or stubbing a toe when walking barefoot. This type of pain is typically short-lived and usually quite responsive to common pain medications in contrast to neuropathic pain.

What are the risk factors for neuropathic pain?

Anything that leads to loss of function within the sensory nervous system can cause neuropathic pain. As such, nerve problems from carpal tunnel syndrome or similar conditions can trigger neuropathic pain. Trauma, causing nerve injury, can lead to neuropathic pain. Other conditions which can predispose patients to developing neuropathic pain include diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, cancer, HIV, stroke, multiple sclerosis, shingles, and cancer treatments.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/4/2015

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