Neuropathic pain affects up to 10 percent of adults over age 30. Also known as nerve pain, it’s one of the most debilitating conditions worldwide. Even though it may occur at any age, it’s more common in seniors. Certain disorders, such as diabetes, cancer, and HIV, play a major role in its development.
Luckily, treatment is available. At Unique Pain Medicine, we use platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, spinal cord stimulation, radiofrequency ablation, and other advanced therapies to relieve nerve pain and restore your quality of life. First, let’s what triggers this condition and how to identify its symptoms.
What Is Nerve Pain?
This type of pain is due to damage or disease affecting the nervous system. It’s particularly common in those who suffer from diabetes, but it may also occur after a stroke or spinal cord injury. Most sufferers describe the pain as shooting, burning, or electric.
Under normal conditions, we experience pain following an illness or injury. For example, if you fall and hurt your knee while running, the nervous system sends pain signals to our brains.
With nerve pain, these signals are sent randomly at any time. However, this disorder typically has one or more underlying causes, such as fibromyalgia, shingles, autoimmune diseases, or even nutrient deficiencies.
The nervous system influences every bodily function, from breathing and muscle control to digestion, blood pressure, and heart rate. Therefore, even the slightest imbalance can affect your mental and physical health. Treatment depends on the root cause of your symptoms.
Common Causes and Risk Factors
Nerve pain may have a variety of causes, from infection and injuries to the muscles or joints to surgery and chronic diseases. Diabetes, for example, is responsible for more than 30 percent of all cases. Individuals with cancer, multiple sclerosis, arthritis in the spine, or thyroid disease are more likely to develop this condition.
Sometimes, neuropathic pain occurs after surgery. An overactive immune system, chronic liver disease, and hypothyroidism may contribute to this problem too. People who consume alcohol regularly or in large amounts face a higher risk of developing nerve pain. A diet that doesn’t provide enough vitamin B12 can trigger or worsen your symptoms.
Signs You May Be Suffering from Nerve Pain
Nerve pain is often misdiagnosed. Its symptoms are non-specific and can be easily mistaken for chronic pain and other disorders. Most sufferers experience shooting, stabbing, or burning pain, partial or complete loss of feeling in the affected area, “pins and needles” in their limbs and other body parts, reduced touch sensation, tingling, and numbness.
This condition typically causes more than just pain. Patients often report one or more of the following symptoms:
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Muscle loss and weakness
- Muscle cramps
- Excessive sweating
- Sluggish digestion
- Low blood pressure
- Heavy feeling in the limbs
- Loss of reflexes
- Sexual dysfunction
- Bladder dysfunction
- Excessive sweating
Symptoms depend on what part of the nervous system was affected. Damage or injury to the autonomic nerves, for instance, usually causes bladder or bowel incontinence, erectile dysfunction, arrhythmia, and digestive problems.
Motor neuropathy is more likely to result in muscle paralysis and cramps. If you have sensory neuropathy, you may lose your balance and coordination, experience severe pain in the feet, or become sensitive to touch.
Regardless of your symptoms, getting treatment for the underlying condition that causes nerve pain is a priority. The experts at Unique Pain Medicine have extensive experience in treating neuropathic pain and use the latest therapies and procedures. Contact us 347.252.6732 to schedule an appointment at one of our clinics in Brooklyn or Manhattan. We are here to help you.