Understanding and Managing Neuropathic Pain
Neuropathic pain can be caused by a dysfunction in the nervous system, owing to trauma, surgery, diseases like diabetes, infections, and cancer.
Why Does Neuropathic Pain Occur?
Neuropathic pain occurs when the ability of the nerves to regulate pain signals decreases. Sometimes, after an injury or trauma, the ability of the brain to block pain can even be lost. There is a phantom feeling of pain even when there is no external stimulation.
How Can Neuropathic Pain Be Managed?
The first step to manage neuropathic pain is to identify the cause. Very often, neuropathic pain can affect the foot and ankle. It is called peripheral neuropathy.
Signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include:-
- Gradual onset of numbness
- Prickling or tingling in feet
- A tingling sensation that spreads upward into legs
- Sharp, jabbing, throbbing, or burning pain
- Extreme sensitivity to touch
If the podiatrist suspects peripheral neuropathy, he/she will run a number of tests to understand what the underlying cause of the condition is. Based on the results, the podiatrist will be able to diagnose peripheral neuropathy. Once diagnosed, the podiatrist will be able to formulate a treatment plan that can help reduce and even eliminate the pain.
Treatment for Neuropathic Pain.
The most common treatments available for neuropathic pain include:
· Over-the-counter pain medicine
· Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
· Prescription medication for specific complaints
· Topical pain relievers
· Nerve blocks to increase the effectiveness of the nerves to block pain
· Implantable devices to stop irregular nerve signals
· Lifestyle treatments like physiotherapy, relaxation techniques, and massage therapies to relieve symptoms and ease stiff muscles.
Neuropathic pain can be debilitating and can affect the quality of life. If your neuropathic pain is affecting your foot and ankle, you should get the help of a good Bay Area Foot and Ankle Specialist. They will be able to find the right treatment plan for you.