What’s neuropathic pain?

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Neuropathic pain is caused by nerve damage, often in the extremities, and can be treated with medication and lifestyle changes. Diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, trauma, and autoimmune diseases can all cause neuropathy. Proper diagnosis and treatment can improve symptoms.

Neuropathic pain is caused by neuropathy or nerve damage. Peripheral neuropathy is an often painful condition that refers to nerve damage extending to the extremities, such as the feet or hands. This condition is often treatable, however it may take some time for symptoms to improve. A doctor can prescribe medications to treat neuropathic pain. Home remedies can also help improve symptoms.

Pain caused by neuropathy is often described as burning, tingling, or thumping. Nerve damage also causes loss of sensation in the affected area, so the patient will likely experience numbness. Patients may also have coordination or balance problems, especially if the nerve damage affects the feet. The skin over the area may also be sensitive to touch. Sometimes, neuropathy can affect other areas of the body, causing muscle weakness, paralysis, or incontinence.

Peripheral neuropathy is often caused by diabetes. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can cause nerve damage. Vitamin deficiencies can also lead to neuropathic pain. The B-complex vitamins and vitamin E are both important for nerves to function properly, so anyone with a poor diet may be susceptible to this condition.

Neuropathic pain can also be caused by pressure on the nerve from a trauma or injury, such as a car accident. An infection or autoimmune disease can also be the culprit. Neuropathy can result from conditions such as lupus, shingles, or rheumatoid arthritis. Exposure to toxins, such as heavy metals, can also cause nerve pain. Patients receiving chemotherapy can also develop neuropathy.

A doctor may order several tests to accurately diagnose neuropathic pain. He will likely perform a neurological and physical exam to check for factors such as coordination and reflexes. Blood tests can reveal the stability of the patient’s blood sugar and vitamin levels. Your doctor may also need x-rays to check for any abnormalities. Electromyography can test the ability of a patient’s nerves to transmit electrical impulses.

After the patient has been properly diagnosed, the doctor can recommend a course of treatment. Neuropathic pain can be treated with medications, such as pain relievers and antiepileptic drugs. Tricyclic antidepressant drugs can also relieve neuropathic pain. Some patients may prefer to use a topical medication, such as a lidocaine patch, which can be applied directly to the affected area.
Lifestyle remedies can also ease the pain. Diabetics can improve neuropathy by keeping blood sugar levels stable. Exercise can help too. Cigarette smoking can make any problems by interfering with circulation worse, so a doctor may advise a smoker to quit. Massaging the affected areas can help improve circulation.

Patients whose feet are affected by neuropathy should avoid tightly fitting shoes. If the feet are numb, the patient may not notice if she has any injury to the area. To avoid possible infections, the patient will need to check his feet daily for cuts or blisters. Also, avoiding sustained pressure on the area can help prevent further nerve damage. By adhering to a comprehensive treatment plan, patients may be able to improve their neuropathy.

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