Neuropathic pain is a type of chronic pain that stems from nervous system damage or dysfunction. Your nerves transmit electrical signals from your body to your brain, and when they get damaged, they can “misfire” and send near-constant pain signals even if you’re not injured.
Neuropathic pain, or neuropathy, is often described as burning, tingling, or shooting electrical sensations. It can seriously erode your quality of life. And unfortunately, it’s often difficult to diagnose and treat.
That doesn’t mean you’re out of options, however. Eric Fanaee, MD, is a pain management specialist with offices in Bethpage, Smithtown, and West Islip, New York, and he and our team offer comprehensive care for neuropathy. In this blog, we take a closer look at a few of the most common types of neuropathic pain and the treatment options available.
Understanding the types of neuropathic pain
Neuropathy can happen to anyone. It develops from a variety of health conditions, including diabetes, nerve injury, and spinal cord injuries. Your nervous system is incredibly complex, and there are hundreds of different types of neuropathic pain. Here are a few of the most common:
Central neuropathic pain is caused by damaged nerves within your brain and spinal cord. This type of pain is often caused by conditions like spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, or stroke. The area where you feel pain depends on the nerves that are damaged.
Peripheral neuropathic pain is caused by damaged nerves outside of your brain and spinal cord. This type of pain is usually caused by conditions like traumatic injury, shingles, or diabetes.
Diabetic neuropathy is a type of peripheral neuropathy, and it accounts for about 30% of all neuropathic pain cases. This type of neuropathic pain develops when high blood sugar levels damage your nerves. It most commonly affects your feet, legs, hands, and eyes.
Finding treatment for neuropathic pain
Dr. Fanaee and our team specialize in diagnosing neuropathic pain and helping patients find treatment that makes a difference for them. We start with a comprehensive exam and full review of your health and medical history to pinpoint the cause of your pain. Then, we work with you to create a treatment plan.
Treatment options for neuropathic pain vary depending on the type of pain you have and your diagnosis. Dr. Fanaee begins with a conservative approach, and he may recommend trying medication first. Anticonvulsants can be effective in treating peripheral neuropathy, while antidepressants can be effective for central neuropathy.
Other treatment options for neuropathic pain include physical therapy, nerve blocks, and spinal cord stimulation. Physical therapy helps by strengthening your muscles and improving your range of motion. Nerve blocks reduce pain with local anesthetic or steroid injections.
Spinal cord stimulation involves implanting a neurostimulation device under your skin and electrical leads into the epidural space around your spine. It sends electrical signals to disrupt pain signals, and it can be particularly effective to reduce neuropathic pain. Before implanting a permanent device, Dr. Fanaee recommends a trial so you can determine how well the treatment works for you.
Neuropathic pain is persistent, but that doesn’t mean it has to control your life. Book an appointment with Dr. Fanaee to start getting answers and the treatment you need. Call 631-265-2020 to talk to our team, or request an appointment online now.