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Neuropathy: Causes and Treatments

Wednesday, 02 April 2014 01:41 AM

Neuropathy or nerve pain is a medical condition of damage to the nerve fiber. Its usual causes are serious tissue injury or another serious disease. Neuropathy is the short name for peripheral neuropathy, indicating nerve pain occurring due to nerve damage in the peripheral nervous system. At times, the real cause of nerve pain or nerve fiber damage may not be diagnosed, yet the patient might be suffering from a severe medical condition. Such a situation where the cause is not diagnosed is termed idiopathic neuropathy.

Treatments are available for treating nerve fiber damage in nerves outside the brain and spinal cord, i.e., in the peripheral nervous system. These treatments can be either pharmacological or nonpharmacological.

Causes of Nerve Pain

Let us list the various causes for nerve pain.
  • Tissue injury causes neuropathy: In case of accidents or fractures that have previously damaged tissues, patients may get nerve pain. Injury is one of the major causes for peripheral neuropathy.
  • Generalized and chronic disease conditions are causes of neuropathy: Some chronic disease conditions like kidney disorder and hypothyroidism can cause nerve pain. Common diseases such as diabetes can increase risk of peripheral nerve damage or nerve pain, especially in case the diabetic patient is also overweight.
  • Autoimmune diseases are causes of nerve pain: AIDS and rheumatic arthritis are autoimmune diseases that might cause neuropathy.
  • Viral and bacterial infection as causes of neuropathy: Many bacterial and viral infections such as herpes simplex or an infection of the Epstein-Barr virus can damage sensory nerves, and bacterial infections like Lyme disease can cause serious harm to the nerves.
  • Medications can be causes of nerve pain: Some drugs including medicines for treatments of bacterial infection, drugs used as treatments of cancer, and medications used for maintaining blood pressure may cause neuropathy or damage the nerves in the peripheral nervous system.
  • Alcoholism is among causes of nerve pain: Alcohol can be among the most serious causes of neuropathy. Alcoholics have a greater risk of developing peripheral neuropathy.
Treatments for Neuropathy or Nerve Pain:

Any nerve damage in the peripheral nervous system is potentially serious and it requires immediate therapies and treatments. Either the treatments may be based on drugs, called pharmacological treatments, or they may be processes advising limited medications and generalized therapies, which are nonpharmacological in nature.
Pharmacological treatments:
  • Medications such as duloxetine or gabapentin are used as primary treatment drugs for neuropathy.
  • For acute rescue therapy, a short-term course of tramadol is advised as a therapeutic treatment.
  • Capsaicin creams are available as pharmacological treatments for controlling neuropathic pain or nerve fiber damage.
  • Common painkillers like paracetamol can be used for reducing pain.
Nonpharmacological treatments:
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most effective nonpharmacological treatments for healing damage to nerves in the peripheral nervous system.
  • Percutaneous nerve stimulation treatments are also available for countering nerve damage and neuropathic pain.
  • Spinal cord stimulation is recommended for patients if they have faced more than six months of nerve pain due to severe damage.
Apart from these treatments, special care is needed for relief from neuropathy or nerve damage and pain.

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Neuropathy is a nerve disorder in which the patient suffers from severe nerve pain due to damage to the nerve fiber caused by any serious tissue injury. This complex condition may lead to many other medical complications and discomfort.
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 01:41 AM
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