Introduction to Neuropathic Pain
Neuropathic pain is chronic pain caused by damage to sensory nerves and is usually accompanied by tissue damage. The damaged nerve fibres send incorrect nerve signals to pain centres in the brain.
What is Neuropathic Pain?
Neuropathic pain is chronic pain caused by damage to sensory nerves and is usually accompanied by tissue damage. The damaged nerve fibres send incorrect nerve signals to pain centres in the brain. This pain is caused by abnormal and incorrect firing of nerve cells and so it does not get better by using normal painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Alternative medication is usually prescribed.
What are the causes for Neuropathic Pain?
There is often no obvious cause for neuropathic pain but it can accompany certain procedures or illnesses such as amputation, chemotherapy, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, shingles and back, leg and hip problems.
What are the symptoms of Neuropathic Pain?
Shooting and burning pain accompanied sometimes by a tingling or numbness of the area.
How is Neuropathic Pain treated?
These drugs should be started at low doses and increased to an effective amount as side effects such as tiredness, dizziness or a feeling of inebriation can occur at higher doses. These medications are amitriptyline, duloxetine and pregabalin and gabapentin.
Another form of treatment used if the pain in confined to one part of the body is capsaicin cream. Capsaicin is the substance found in chilli peppers which is thought to work by stopping nerves sending pain signals to the brain. Side effects can include irritation and burning at the treated area.
Tramadol is a painkiller related to morphine that can be used when the pain is not relieved by other treatments. It is addictive if taken for a long time and so is only prescribed for a short period. Side effects include constipation, dizziness and nausea or vomiting.