What is Neuropathic pain?

Pain is caused by a problem with one or more nerves themselves. The function of the nerve is affected in a way that it sends pain messages to the brain. Neuropathic pain is often described as burning, stabbing, shooting, aching, or like an electric shock.

What Causes neuropathic pain?

Various conditions can affect nerves and may cause neuropathic pain as one of the features of the condition. These include the following:

Trigeminal neuralgia

Pain following shingles (posthapetic neuralgia).

Diabetic neuropathy – a nerve disorder that develops in some people with diabetes.

Phantom limb pain following an amputation.

Multiple sclerosis

Pain following Chemotherapy.

HIV infection.

Alcoholism.

Cancer

Atypical facial pain.

Various other uncommon nerve disorders.

What is the treatment?

Treating the underlying cause - For example, if you have diabetic neuropathy then good control of the diabetes may help to ease the condition. If you have cancer, if this can be treated then this may ease the pain.

Medicines-Commonly used traditional painkillers-paracetamol and ibuprofen., opiate pain killer ( codiene, tramadol and morphine) However, these are unlikely to ease neuropathic pain very much in most cases.

Tricyclic antidepressant medicines-is a common treatment for neuropathic pain.

Other antidepressant medicines-An antidepressant called Duloxetine has also been shown in research trials to be good at easing neuropathic pain

An anti-epileptic medicine is an alternative to an antidepressant. For example, Gabepentin or Pregabalin.

Capsaicin cream-This is sometimes used to ease pain

Physical treatments-These include: physiotherapy, acupuncture, nerve blocks with injected local anaesthetics, percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (PENS) and TENS machines.

Also, treatments such as stress management, counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy, and pain management programmes sometimes have a role in helping people with persistent (chronic) neuropathic pain.