November 28, 2022
What is neuropathic pain?
Neuropathic pain (NeuB) is a complex type of pain which appears due to an injury or dysfunction in the nervous system. It is defined as pain arising as a direct consequence of a lesion or illness of the central or peripheral nervous system.
The reasons, for the central nervous system, include: strokes, traumatic injuries, neuralgia. The reasons, for the peripheral nervous system, include: Neuropathy of compression/nerve entrapment, ischemic neuropathy, post-traumatic neuropathy (appearing after injury or medical procedures, such as operations or injections), post-herpetic neuralgia (may appear following a viral infection of herpes zoster or COVID) and diabetic neuropathy.
When the sensory system has been affected by injury of illness, the nerves of this system cannot function in order to transfer sensation to the brain. This is described as a sensation of stabbing, tingling or burning pain. It may disappear spontaneously, but it is often chronic. Sometimes it is strong and continuous, and sometimes repetitive (appearing and disappearing in periods). It is often the result of nerve damage or incorrect functioning of the nervous system. Nerve damage leads to a change in nervous function in the area of the injury and region surrounding it i.e. those body parts which are innervated by the damaged nerve. Neuropathic pain develops gradually, it is a spontaneous pain which leads to a sensation of tingling (pins and needles), burning, stabbing, or a lack of sensation (numbness).
For many patients, the intensity of the symptoms may reduce and drop over the course of the day, and for others it may be continuous and strong. Neuropathic pain is very often related to a damage to the peripheral nerves (neuropathy) caused by diabetes or spinal stenosis, injury and nerve entrapment. The beginning of the pain may be delayed, and even start months or years after the primary injury event.
Neuropathic pain may be opposed to nociceptive pain, which is a type of pain occurring with acute injuries such as digit breaking or stabbing while walking barefoot. This type of pain is typically short-lasting and tends to react to common pain medication unlike neuropathic pain.