What is Neuropathic pain?

Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience that can have a significant impact on a person's quality of life, general health, psychological health, and social and economic wellbeing.
Neuropathic pain is a type of persistent (or chronic) pain caused by problems with the nervous system. This is the part of your body that helps you feel touch, pressure, pain, temperature, position, movement, and vibration. This can be in your muscles, joints, skin, and the layers of tissue just beneath your skin (fascia).

What Causes Neuropathic Pain?

Neuropathic pain can be due to problems with your central nervous system (your brain and spinal cord) or your peripheral nervous system (wider nervous system outside of the brain and spinal cord). Sensors send signals from the skin and body tissues to the spinal cord and brain, where they are registered as pain.

Causes of neuropathic pain include:

  • diabetes,
  • chemotherapy treatment,
  • HIV,
  • surgery,
  • shingles,
  • a stroke...

Neuropathic pain is often described as burning, aching or like electric shocks. It is felt in the area supplied by the affected nerve. Many patients also have pins and needles, numbness and weakness, also caused by the damaged nerve.

How Is Neuropathic Pain Treated?

Neuropathic pain can be difficult to manage, because it has a wide range of causes. These can include previous illnesses, existing conditions, surgery, or acquired injury. The pain can come in short bursts, or it can be there all the time. It can feel like shooting, stabbing, like an electric shock, burning, tingling, tightness, numbness, prickling, itching, or a sensation of pins and needles.

We are not sure how many people suffer from this sort of pain. Estimates suggest around 7 people in every 100 may experience these symptoms.



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