Nerve pain, or neuropathy, is one of the most common causes of chronic pain. We know chronic pain can lead to depression and have devastating effects on people’s family and social lives and careers.
Understanding the source of your pain is the first step to finding a solution.
Neuropathy is pain that results from damage to the nervous system. The damage could occur in the peripheral or the central nervous system.
The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord, while the peripheral nervous system is made up of the many smaller nerves that branch out from the spinal cord.
Chronic pain associated with neuropathy does not necessarily indicate an underlying injury. The pain itself is the disease. In other words, instead of responding to an injury located elsewhere in the body, the nerves themselves malfunction and are the source of pain.
According to the National Pain Foundation, about four million people in the United States suffer from neuropathic pain. The most common cause of neuropathic pain is pain from spine disorders.
Symptoms caused by neuropathy are described as severe, sharp and shooting or deep and burning pain; or persistent numbness, tingling or weakness that travels into the arms, hands, legs or feet. Neuropathy can also be characterized by pain resulting from light touch or another stimulus that does not typically cause pain, as well as hypersensitivity to other stimuli.
If you are suffering from these symptoms, and think your pain could be caused by neuropathy, there is hope. The first step is to understand that the treatment options are very different than for other types of back pain. Treatments could include certain medications, nerve block injections, and other interventions generally used for chronic pain.
Peripheral Neuropathy Fact Sheet - ninds.nih.gov