People suffering from chronic pain symptoms typically fall into two categories: musculoskeletal and neuropathic. Musculoskeletal discomfort impacts the body's joints, muscles, tendons, bones, spine, and neck in various combinations.
Often the result of overuse, an injury, or joint degeneration, musculoskeletal aches, while varying in degrees of discomfort, are often considered "pain with a purpose," letting us know we need to prioritize rest and recovery to prevent further physical injury during the healing process.
Understanding Specific Neuropathies That Contribute To Chronic Pain
Unfortunately, neuropathic pain, unlike its musculoskeletal counterpart, generally offers little to no restorative benefits. This complex, chronic pain state afflicts nearly 8 percent of the population and is a broad medical term used to describe any disease or tissue injury of the nervous system that causes damaged fibers to transmit false signals to the body's pain centers. Some common neuropathies that may eventually lead to chronic pain conditions include:
Used to classify damage impacting any of the twelve nerves that directly exit the brain. Cranial neuropathy can also include optic and auditory nerve damage.
Damage to the involuntary nervous system is considered autonomic neuropathy and may include:
- Heart, Circulation, and Blood Pressure
- Sexual response
Peripheral neuropathy presents as a nerve impediment outside of the brain and spine, targeting instead the central nervous system, which is responsible for extremities like hands, arms, fingers, legs, and feet.
This type of neuropathy is concentrated on one specific nerve, nerve group, or region of the body.
Six Common Forms Of Neuropathic Chronic Pain Conditions
Some neuropathies only result in numbness or tingling in the targeted region, without the presence of actual pain. However, for many patients, nerve impairment can eventually ignite long-term discomfort that ranges anywhere from mild, dull aches to intense, stabbing sensations. Six common chronic pain syndromes that stem from nerve disease and tissue damage include:
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Also known as median nerve compression, this common condition occurs when a pinched nerve in the wrist causes tingling, numbness, and pain throughout the hand and arm. A direct result of excess wrist and nerve pressure, many people associate carpal tunnel syndrome with prolonged overextension of the wrist when typing or using a computer keyboard. However, median nerve compression is also linked with a multitude of other medical conditions, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Autoimmune disorders
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Fluid retention
When left untreated, excessive pressure on the median nerve can eventually lead to heightened symptoms and permanent nerve damage.
Often confused with general back pain, sciatica actually stems from compression of the sciatic nerve. As the longest and widest nerve in the human body, the sciatic nerve runs from the lower back all the way down to the just below the knee. Medical reports indicate that as many as 40% of people will experience this particular chronic pain condition at some in their lives, a number that typically increases with age. Sciatic discomfort can range from mild soreness and tingling to highly concentrated throbbing and feelings of electric shock.
Common in patients with diabetes, this neuropathy is often attributed to high concentrations of blood sugar over a prolonged period of time. Often presenting as a peripheral neuropathy, this condition can also impact autonomic and focal nerve networks.
Shingles is the reactivation of the chickenpox virus, resulting in a painful, burning rash of blisters that wraps around a person's torso. While shingles itself is a severe condition, postherpetic neuralgia is the virus' most common complication, occurring after the initial shingles episode subsides. This neuropathic condition primarily target people over the age of 60 and can linger for several months, requiring the care of a professional pain management specialist to reduce symptomatic discomfort.
Phantom Limb Pain
Phantom limb pain is similar to postherpetic neuralgia in that it's marked by lingering pain after an initial medical event, making it challenging to treat because the condition lacks a location for targeted therapies. Some people find that phantom pain alleviates on its own without formalized treatment. However, others find that innovative, non-invasive therapies are the only way to manage their pain.
Central Pain Syndrome
Also known as CNS, this nerve disorder is caused by dysfunction or damage of the central nervous system, which includes the spinal cord, brain, and brainstem. Central Pain Syndrome is often triggered by a neurological event or disease, such as strokes, tumors, spinal cord trauma, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson's disease. Discomfort from CNS is often chronic, but it isn't always constant; pain levels often vary based on external factors such as movement, touch, temperature, and even a patient's emotional state.
Treating Chronic Neuropathic Conditions
Treatment for neurological pain conditions varies based on symptoms, severity, and a wide range of other factors. Medication, physical therapies, and lifestyle modifications can all help alleviate discomfort. However, for patients suffering from chronic disorders, professional care at a specialized pain management practice proves the best treatment solution. A team of licensed and board-certified physicians will conduct a full suite of evaluations and screenings to determine a customized course of treatment that leverages innovative, non-invasive therapies to target and minimize the impact of neuropathic conditions for long-term management and relief.
Contact Florida Pain Relief Centers Today
If you're suffering from chronic neuropathic conditions, Florida Pain Relief Centers can help. Our team of experienced, fellowship-trained pain management clinicians specializes in personalized, non-invasive treatments, therapies, and procedures to alleviate discomfort and restore function. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.