- Related Diseases
- Images & Quizzes
- Surprising Reasons You're in Pain Slideshow
- Take the Pain Quiz
- Chronic Pain Slideshow
- Find a local Doctor in your town
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:
What are the symptoms of neuropathic pain?
Symptoms may include:
- Shooting and burning pain
- Tingling and numbness
How is neuropathic pain diagnosed?
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.
How is neuropathic pain treated?
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.
In cases that are difficult to treat, a pain specialist may use invasive or implantable device therapies to effectively manage the pain. Electrical stimulation of the nerves involved in neuropathic pain generation may significantly control the pain symptoms.
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.
Reviewed by Ephraim K Brenman, DO on January 28, 2008
Quick GuideChronic Pain: Causes and Solutions
Daily Health News
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter
- Pain Management: Neuropathic Pain Related Diseases
- Pain Management: Neuropathic Pain Images & Quizzes
- Pain Management: Neuropathic Pain Index
Reviewed by Ephraim K Brenman, DO on January 28, 2008
Top Pain Management: Neuropathic Pain Related Articles
Alcohol Abuse and AlcoholismAlcoholism is a disease that includes alcohol craving and continued drinking despite repeated alcohol-related problems, such as losing a job or getting into trouble with the law. It can cause myriad health problems, including cirrhosis of the liver, birth defects, heart disease, stroke, psychological problems, and dementia. Counseling and a few medications can be effective for alcoholism treatment.
butorphanol injectionbutorphanol (Stadol) is a synthetic opioid narcotic pain reliever prescribed to treat severe pain, preoperative or preanesthetic pain management, and manage pain during labor. Side effects, drug interactions, dosage, storage, and pregnancy safety information should be reviewed before using this medication.
CancerCancer is a disease caused by an abnormal growth of cells, also called malignancy. It is a group of 100 different diseases, and is not contagious. Cancer can be treated through chemotherapy, a treatment of drugs that destroy cancer cells.
ChemotherapyChemotherapy is the treatment of cancer with drugs that can destroy cancer cells. These drugs often are called "anticancer" drugs. Chemotherapy is often used with other treatments. Coping with side effects (fatigue, nausea, vomiting, pain, hair loss, infection, diarrhea, constipation, fluid retention, mouth and throat problems) are important to understand when undergoing chemotherapy treatment. It is important to eat well during chemotherapy, and get the support you need both during and after treatment.
Chronic PainChronic pain is pain (an unpleasant sense of discomfort) that persists or progresses over a long period of time. In contrast to acute pain that arises suddenly in response to a specific injury and is usually treatable, chronic pain persists over time and is often resistant to medical treatments.
Diabetes MellitusDiabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. The two types of diabetes are referred to as type 1 (insulin dependent) and type 2 (non-insulin dependent). Symptoms of diabetes include increased urine output, thirst, hunger, and fatigue. Treatment of diabetes depends on the type.
Cymbalta (duloxetine) is in the drug class SSRI. Cymbalta is prescribed for the treatment of:
- generalized anxiety disorder,
- and neuropathic pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
The most common side effects of Cymbalta are:
- dry mouth,
- and dizziness.
Facial Nerve Problems
Bell's palsy is one type of facial nerve paralysis. The 7th cranial nerve controls the muscles of the face, and although scientists do not know the exact cause of Bell's palsy, they think it may be due to nerve damage from an infection, for example, the flu, common cold viruses, and more serious infections like meningitis. The symptoms of Bell's palsy vary from person to person, but can include:
- Mild weakness to total paralysis
- Dry eye
- Dry mouth
- Eyelid drooping
- Mouth drooping
- Dry mouth
- Changes in taste
- Excessive tearing in one eye
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). "NINDS Bell's Palsy Information Page." Updated: Apr 16, 2015.
PubMed Health. "Bell's Palsy."
NIH. National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. "Bell's Palsy."
Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to reduce mild to moderate pain, inflammation, and fever. Ibuprofen works by blocking an enzyme that makes prostaglandin (a hormone-like substance that participates in a variety of body functions), which results in lower levels of prostaglandins in the body. Lower levels of prostaglandins reduce pain, inflammation, and fever.
Ibuprofen is prescribed to treat diseases and conditions that cause mild to moderate pain, fever, and inflammation. For example:
- Pain from strains and sprains
- Pain from cuts, scrapes, and puncture wounds
- Muscle aches and pains
- Tooth pain
- Common cold
- Mild headache
- Some arthritis conditions
- Joint pain
- To reduce fever
Common side effects of ibuprofen include:
- Belly pain
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Mild rash
More serious side effects and adverse effects include:
- Increased bleeding after injury
- Stomach ulcers
- Impaired kidney function
- Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
- Blood clots
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- High blood pressure
The maximum dose prescribed under a doctor's care is 3.2 g daily. Otherwise, the over-the-counter (OTC) maximum daily dose is 1.2 g daily. Dosage depends upon the age, weight, and any current medical conditions of the patient. Several drugs interact with ibuprofen so check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care professional with questions in regard to this drug. Doctors don't know if it is safe to take ibuprofen if your are pregnant, therefore it is not recommended if you are pregnant. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, ibuprofen is safe to take while breastfeeding.
REFERENCE: FDA Prescribing Information.
lidocaine w/prilocaine-topical creamLidocaine and prilocaine (DermacinRx, Prizopak, EMLA, Leva Set, Lidopril, Livixil Pak, LP Lite Pak, Oraqix, Relador Pak, Venipuncture CPI) is a local topical anesthetic cream used on normal intact skin and genital mucous areas prior to minor medical procedures. Side effects, drug interactions, dosage, storage, and pregnancy safety should be reviewed prior to using this medication.
Medical Marijuana (Medical Cannabis)Medical marijuana (medical cannabis) is a medicine that is plant based. There are two species of medical marijuana; 1) Cannabis sativa, and 2) Cannabis indica. Medical marijuana is used to treat pain, nausea, anxiety, MS, insomnia, seizures, and muscle spasms. Medical cannabis is legal in a variety of states in the US. A card or licence is required to purchase medical marijuana in states where it is legal; however, medical cannabis is against Federal law. Medical marijuana comes in a variety of products, for example, gummy bears and other candy, muffins, cookies, drinks, salves, ointments, creams, oils, and wax.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)Multiple sclerosis or MS is an autoimmune disorder in which brain and spinal cord nerve cells become demyelinated. This damage results in symptoms that may include numbness, weakness, vertigo, paralysis, and involuntary muscle contractions. Different forms of MS can follow variable courses from relatively benign to life-threatening. MS is treated with disease-modifying therapies. Some MS symptoms can be treated with medications.
naproxenNaproxen (Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn, Aleve) is in the class of drugs called nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Naproxen is prescribed for the treatment of mild to moderate pain, inflammation, and fever. Side effects, drug interactions, and pregnancy information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
Oxycodone vs Tramadol for Pain
Oxycodone and tramadol are prescription medications used to manage acute and chronic moderate to severe pain. Oxycodone is an opiate (narcotic) derived drug whereas tramadol is a man-made synthetic drug. Tramadol is not a narcotic, and it is not a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs). Some of the side effects of oxycodone and tramadol are the same, for example:
- Dry mouth
Serious side effects for oxycodone and tramadol differ. Oxycodone and tramadol are habit forming drugs and patients may become addicted. Withdrawal symptoms include:
Drug interactions, dosing, and pregnancy and breastfeeding safety information differs for these drugs and should be reviewed prior to administration.
10 Habits to Reduce PainLearn how to manage chronic pain. Explore 10 daily habits to reduce chronic pain and learn new ways to find pain relief.
Shingles (Herpes Zoster)Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a painful rash caused by the varicella zoster virus. Other shingles symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, and body aches. Treatment focuses on pain management and shortening the duration of the illness with antiviral medications.