Health

What to Know About Nerve Pain

One of the most common causes of neuropathic pain is unmanaged diabetes. Approximately 50% of adults with diabetes suffer from nerve pain. But what is nerve pain? 

Nerve or neuropathic pain is typically identifiable as tingling in the hands and feet. But you may be surprised to know the condition is more than tingling extremities. There are a host of other symptoms that accompany neuropathy.

This article will dive deeply into neuropathy, its causes, symptoms, and management techniques. Read on if you’d like to learn more about nerve pain. 

What is Nerve Pain? 

Nerve pain or neuropathy is when your nervous system is damaged and  “misfiring.” By “misfire,” we mean nerves send pain signals through your body with no visible signs of injury or in response to typically benign sensations. 

Your nervous system works by sending signals to specific points in your body depending on external stimuli. But neuropathy affects your nerves’ ability to send these signals reliably. 

Neuropathy affects the central (brain and spinal cord) and peripheral (nerves sending impulses throughout your body) nervous systems. 

What Causes Neuropathy? 

We’ve already listed diabetes as a potential neuropathy cause, but there are plenty of other nerve pain causes you may not have known about. Alcoholism is another possible cause of neuropathy. 

Here are a few more causes of nerve pain causes:

  • Vitamin B deficiency
  • Infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, syphilis, and leprosy. 
  • Injury
  • Autoimmune diseases like Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Post-herpetic neuralgia (a side-effect of having shingles)
  • Tumors located near nerves
  • Chemotherapy
  • Amputation

You’ve got idiopathic neuropathy if doctors can’t identify what’s causing your nerve pain.

Symptoms of Nerve Pain

Nerve pain symptoms can manifest in ways you may never have expected. We’ve discussed the tingling hands and feet – a common symptom, but many describe the feeling as a stabbing, burning sensation. 

Other people describe neuropathic pain as sharp or electric shock. Another symptom of nerve pain is sensitivity to cold and touch. Here are some other nerve pain symptoms you may not have known:

  • Sensitivity to gentle stimuli (like softly brushing the skin) 
  • Difficulty sleeping (neuropathy is often worse at night) 
  • Anxiety or depression
    • Nerve pain may make people angry or frustrated
  • Loss of balance and falling
  • Dropping items
  • Heaviness in the arms and legs
  • Muscle weakness
  • Difficulty digesting food
  • Excessive or difficulty sweating
  • Dramatic drops in blood pressure

Neuropathy Treatments

The first step to treating neuropathy is diagnosing it. Your doctor may diagnose your nerve pain by listening to your symptoms and examining you. 

The examination may consist of checking your reflexes and muscular strength. Blood tests may be required to determine if any underlying condition is causing your nerve pain.

A doctor may prescribe painkillers or anti-seizure drugs like Lamotrigine or Pregabalin for nerve pain relief. You may also be prescribed an anti-depressant to help manage anxiety or depression.

If you’d like more details on a neuropathy treatment regimen, speak to a nerve pain doctor about your symptoms. 

Are You Suffering from Neuropathic Pain? 

If you’ve wondered, “what is nerve pain?” and never had any answers until now, we hope this article helped clear your confusion. If you have any of the above nerve pain symptoms, you should speak to a nerve pain specialist. 

Check out our lifestyle tab if you find this article informative or exciting. You can find more health-oriented articles like this. 

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