The Cleveland Clinic


Pain Management: Neuropathic Pain

Introduction

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 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.

What causes neuropathic pain?

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