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Neuropathic Pain

What is Neuropathic Pain?

Neuropathic pain is defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) as ‘Pain caused by a lesion or disease of the somatosensory nervous system’.

Neuropathic pain is estimated to affect up to 10%  adults over the age of 30 in the UK.

This can affect the central nervous system (Brain or spinal cord) i.e. post stroke pain, trigeminal neuralgia, spinal cord injury or the peripheral nervous system i.e. post herpetic neuralgia (shingles pain), diabetic neuropathy, post amputation pain or sciatic pain.

 

What does neuropathic pain feel like?

People who suffer from neuropathic pain typically describe a very severe, intense pain which is relentless, burning, sharp, stabbing or electric shock-like in character. The damaged nerves frequently demonstrate impaired function with disability. Hypersensitive of the affected area can often be experienced. This intense, relentless nerve pain frequently leads to distress, anxiety and even depression. 


It is common for nerve pain to appear in many forms and often goes misdiagnosed and mistreated.

 

What are the Common Types of Neuropathic Pain?

There are numerous varieties of chronic neuropathic pain. These are the most common types seen

 

How is Neuropathic pain treated?

Neuropathic pain is not normal pain and does not tend to respond to normal pain killers. Your specialist will do a full assessment and recommend a plan for therapy that best suits your needs.

Pharmacotherapy

This type of pain is usually best treated with medication, as this lead to greater independence for the sufferer. The two main groups of drugs used to treat this pain are the anti-epileptic drugs (AED’s) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCI’s). These are very specialist drugs and your pain specialist will be experiences in prescribing these. Paracetamol, anti-inflammatory drugs and opioid based pain killers tend not to be so effective for this type of pain.

Procedures

Various interventional treatments can aid the management of neuropathic pain, including

Your specialist will discuss options available to you to help you make the best choice for your particular pain and needs.