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Neuropathic pain

Chronic neuropathic pain is caused by nerve damage, which may have happened many years earlier

About

If you have neuropathic pain you may experience burning, aching or electric shock sensations in the parts of the body supplied by the affected nerve. You may also experience pins and needles, numbness and weakness. Unlike most types of pain, neuropathic is usually unresponsive to common painkillers.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of neuropathic pain icon plus

    • pain with burning, crushing 'electrical shocks' involving the skin supplied by the nerve
    • lack of function and feeling might be associated
  • Diagnosis icon plus

    Your consultant will perform a physical examination of the affected area. This will involve testing your reflexes, strength and sensitivity. They may also request imaging (x-ray, CT or MRI) tests to check if you have an underlying cause for the condition. They may refer you to a neurologist for further tests including: - Nerve conduction test (NCT). Electrodes are attached to your skin to stimulate your nerves. The speed and strength of your nerve signal is monitored. - Electromyography (EMG). A needle is inserted into your muscle to measure its electrical activity.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Finding the underlying cause of your neuropathic pain is key to identifying successful treatment options. The nerve might need to be decompressed and released or even repaired through surgery.

Types of neuropathic pain

Sensory neuropathy

This refers to damage to the nerves that carry messages of touch, temperature and other sensations to the brain.

Motor neuropathy

This refers to damage to the nerves that control movement.

Autonomic neuropathy

This refers to damage to the nerves that control bodily processes such as bladder function, digestion and blood pressure monitoring.

Mononeuropathy

This refers to damage to a single nerve outside of the central nervous system (CNS).
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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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