Neuropathic pain is a term for a wide range of pain conditions caused by nerve damage or a malfunctioning nervous system. Common sensations include a range of pains often described as shooting or burning pain as well as tingling and numbness. The area of the body that neuropathic pain impacts, its severity and other symptoms can vary greatly.
Physical therapy, relaxation therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, and working with a counselor, in combination with medication, can be a very effective way to provide relief from neuropathic pain.In cases that are difficult to treat, a pain specialist may use an invasive or implantable device which electrically stimulates the nerves and may significantly control the pain symptoms.
Be aware of the following complications of neuropathic pain to avoid injuries:
- Low Sensitivity to Temperature - Avoid touching anything that may be too hot or too cold to avoid burns and skin trauma.
- Weakness - Try to be aware of your surroundings to avoid losing balance and falling.
- Lack of Sensation -Your feet and other areas lacking sensation can become injured without your knowing. Check these areas regularly and treat minor injuries to avoid infections, especially if you have diabetes mellitus.
Self-Care Tips for Neuropathic Pain
Manage underlying conditions - The best way to prevent peripheral neuropathy is to manage medical conditions that put you at risk, such as diabetes, alcoholism or rheumatoid arthritis.
Make healthy lifestyle choices - Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein to keep nerves healthy. Protect against vitamin B-12 deficiency by eating meats, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy foods and fortified cereals. If you're vegetarian or vegan, fortified cereals are a good source of vitamin B-12, but talk to your doctor about B-12 supplements.
Exercise regularly - With your doctor's OK, try to get at least 30 minutes to one hour of exercise at least three times a week.
Avoid factors that may cause nerve damage- Some factors include repetitive motions, cramped positions, exposure to toxic chemicals, smoking and overindulging in alcohol.