Neuropathic pain is a chronic condition caused by damage, dysfunction or injury within the actual nerve fibers, which results in the delivery of incorrect signals to pain centers within the body. This may occur as a result of several different factors, including surgery, chemotherapy or amputation, or conditions such as diabetes, HIV, multiple sclerosis and others.
Patients with neuropathic pain may experience shooting pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in certain areas of the body, which may lead to ulcers, pain and loss of sensation.
Treatment for neuropathic pain may include anti-inflammatory medications, electrical stimulation or implantable devices. More effective management of underlying conditions, such as diabetes, can also help relieve pain. This condition tends to get worse over time rather than better, so finding a successful treatment method is important.
Chronic Regional Pain Syndrom (RSD)
Chronic regional pain syndrome, also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) syndrome, involves long-term, intense pain that occurs after an injury and tends to get worse over time instead of getting better. This condition most often affects the arms, legs, hands or feet and can spread to nearby areas as it progresses. In addition to pain, patients may also experience swelling, sweating, skin sensitivity and more.
The cause of RSD is not specifically known, although it is often linked to the sympathetic nervous system prolonging pain or an abnormal immune system response that prevents proper healing.
While there is no cure for this condition, there are several treatment options to relieve symptoms, including analgesics, antidepressants, corticosteroids and opioids. Alternative treatment methods may include physical therapy, sympathetic nerve block, and spinal cord stimulation. Patients may be prescribed a combination of these treatments in order to achieve effective pain relief.
A cervicogenic headache is a condition in which pain develops from the cervical spine as a result of an injured disc, arthritis, whiplash or other factors, causing severe pain, throbbing, nausea and sensitivity to light. Similar to a migraine, this condition can vary in severity and is more common in women. Symptoms usually occur on a daily basis and can interfere with a person’s everyday life.
Treatment for a cervicogenic headache often involves a combination of approaches, including physical therapy, occipital nerve block, relaxation techniques or surgery for severe cases. Alternative treatments such as selective upper cervical spinal injections and occipital nerve stimulation therapy are very effective in relieving pain and reducing the frequency of flare-ups for this type of headache.
Lumbar and Cervical Sprains and Strains
The spine is a long column of vertebral bones that are supported and connected by ligaments and muscles. When a part of the spine becomes damaged (i.e., twisting, lifting, injury), a cervical, thoracic or lumbar sprain/strain can occur, usually causing localized pain and spasm.
These symptoms usually resolve spontaneously in two to three weeks; however, in more severe cases the symptoms can last for an extensive period of time. If the symptoms do not resolve quickly, prescription medications, therapy and corticosteroid injections may prove beneficial.
Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease, involves an inflammation and breakdown of the joints of the body, including the spine, which can result in chronic and debilitating pain. The most common cause is age-related change within the joints. When over-the-counter treatment modalities fail, other options include prescription medications, physical therapy, corticosteroid injections and even surgery.