Neuropathies & Pain

Neuropathy is a disorder, injury, or dysfunction of peripheral nerves (nerves outside of the brain or spinal cord). Neuropathic pain occurs when there is damage to nerve fibers themselves and they become the source of the pain. Peripheral neuropathy pain is often described as tingling, numbness, burning, or shooting pain.

Neuropathic pain is associated with a number of conditions and factors including diabetes, alcoholism, shingles, multiple sclerosis, infections, injuries, back, leg and hip problems, spine surgery, nerve-related diseases, toxins, and certain drugs.

One type of neuropathic pain is Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. RSD is a disorder of the peripheral and central nervous systems that causes severe, chronic pain condition that usually affects arms, legs, hands, or feet after an injury or trauma to that limb. It also causes abnormalities in the area of the injury including changes in skin color, swelling, increased or decreased sweating, and temperature.

Diagnosis of neuropathic pain includes a complete medical history and a physical examination. If nerve damage is suspected, an electromyelogram (EMG) may be performed to assess how fast and effectively nerves are sending signals.

The Temple neurologists at Jeanes Hospital are well-versed in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of neuropathic pain and are focused on getting their patients’ condition under control.

Neuropathic Pain Treatment at Jeanes Hospital

Though there are no current treatments to prevent or cure neuropathic pain, the Temple neurologists at Jeanes Hospital work with patients to develop a treatment program to reduce and help manage their pain.

Commonly prescribed medications for nerve pain include antidepressants and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), anticonvulsants, and local anesthetics such as lidocaine in patch or gel form have been found to be effective.

If the use of medications doesn’t provide the desired relief, a Temple neurosurgeon may perform a minimally-invasive procedure called spinal cord stimulation. During the procedure, a small device is implanted under the skin, where it delivers low-level electrical signals to the spinal cord or specific nerves to stop pain signals from reaching the brain. The patient can adjust the intensity of the current and turn it off or on.

To schedule an appointment with a Temple neurologist or neurosurgeon at the Jeanes Hospital Neurosciences Center, click here or call 215-728-CARE (2273).

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