If you suffer from neuropathic pain, you know it puts you through the wringer. Unfortunately, the challenges that accompany neuropathic pain can be cumulative. Being in chronic pain can worsen your temper, or keep you from getting daily tasks done. You may find your relationships suffering, work less fulfilling, and daily responsibilities going unattended. The good news is that you have options. Advanced Wellness and Pain is here to help.
What is Neuropathic Pain?
Neuropathic pain can occur if any of the nerves throughout the body are damaged or injured. Neuropathic pain can occur at the central level of your nervous system – the spinal cord and the brain. More commonly, neuropathic pain occurs in the nerves located outside the brain and spinal cord, such as your arms, legs, organs, hands, and feet. This is known as the peripheral level of your nervous system.
Know the Symptoms
- Gradual feeling of numbness or prickling sensations.
- Sharp, throbbing, jabbing, or burning pain.
- Intense sensitivity to touch.
- Pain during things that shouldn’t trigger discomfort, like when putting weight on your feet or when a blanket covers them.
- Poor coordination and falling.
- Intolerance of heat.
- Heavy sweating or inability to sweat.
- Bowel, bladder, or digestive troubles.
- Decrease in blood pressure.
What Does Comorbidity Mean?
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) defines “Comorbidity as more than one disease or condition is present in the same person at the same time. Conditions described as comorbidities are often chronic or long-term conditions. Other names to describe comorbid conditions are coexisting or co-occurring conditions, and sometimes ‘multimorbidity’ or ‘multiple chronic conditions.’”
It’s linked to worse health outcomes, intense clinical care, and higher health care costs, but there’s no agreement on a single definition.
Risk Factors for Neuropathic Pain
- Diabetes, particularly if blood sugar levels are mismanaged.
- Alcohol misuse.
- Deficiencies in Vitamin B12, B6, folate, or other vitamins.
- Viral or bacterial infections, such as Epstein Barr Virus, Lyme disease, and Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
- Autoimmune diseases (Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Guillane-Barre Syndrome) also could be at risk due to the body’s own immune system attacking itself.
- Toxins (Lead, mercury, arsenic, thalium)
- Repetitive motion, like those you might perform at work.
- Family history of neuropathic pain.
Comorbid Conditions with Neuropathic Pain
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “It is generally acknowledged that neuropathic pain is extremely difficult to treat, and a major factor impacting outcomes is the presence of comorbidities such as poor sleep, depressed mood, and anxiety. Patients who suffer from chronic pain experience difficulties in initiating and maintaining sleep.”
It’s also estimated that nearly 16 million Americans have neuropathic pain, but there are also problems with other conditions which may happen at the same time:
- Clinical depression is characterized by depressed moods and loss of interest in things you used to enjoy doing. There are about three million cases in the U.S. every year.
- Diabetic neuropathy, which specifically occurs in the case of diabetes. In this instance, you may experience foot pain, a pins-and-needles sensation, and other abnormal bodily sensations.
- Anxiety disorders represent a kind of super-charged anxiety that doesn’t go away on its own, lasts for months or years, and interferes with your quality of life. Types of anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder (symptoms may include feeling restless, easily tired, trouble concentrating, and irritable) and panic disorder (symptoms may include heart palpitations, sweating, and shaking).
- Mood disorders primarily affect your moods or emotional state. There are many kinds that may overlap with neuropathic pain, like major depression, dysthymia, bipolar disorder I and II, mood disorders related to health condition, and even substance-induced mood disorders, among many others.
Ketamine may control the symptoms of many of these conditions and help to improve your quality of life.
Diagnosis & Treatment
It is thought that neuropathic pain has numerous potential causes. In addition to a physical exam, which could include various tests, diagnosis normally requires:
- A thorough medical evaluation. Your clinician will assess your personal medical history and your family’s medical history, including your lifestyle, exposure to toxins, symptoms, drinking habits, and whether your family has a history of neurological (nervous system) diseases.
- Neurological examination. This is where your medical professional might check for tendon reflexes, your muscle tone and strength, your ability to discern certain sensations, your seated or standing position, and your physical coordination.
Treatment may include generic pain relievers, different types of physical therapy, and ketamine.
An estimated sixteen million Americans suffer from neuropathic pain. Many of those suffering from neuropathic pain see it affecting all aspects of their lives, making daily activities more challenging. It’s common to feel increasingly alienated and mental health starts to deteriorate. But this doesn’t have to happen to you. Advanced Wellness and Pain may be able to help. Contact us today to learn more about how you can find relief from neuropathic pain.