Expert Care Center
Gazelle Aram, MD
Pain Management located in Delray Beach, FL
Neuropathy Q & A
What is neuropathy?
Neuropathy is a condition resulting from nerve damage to the smaller nerves outside of the central nervous system (Brain and spinal cord). Neuropathic conditions that cause chronic pain generally affect small sensory nerves, although motor and autonomic nerves can also be involved.
Peripheral neuropathy can affect one nerve (mononeuropathy), two or more nerves in different areas (multiple mononeuropathy) or many nerves (polyneuropathy).
A common neuropathic condition that causes chronic pain is known as peripheral neuropathy, which affects multiple small sensory nerves and in the polyneuropathy category. Peripheral neuropathic pain is generally symmetric and described as burning, numbness or tingling. Some patients may also experience poor balance due to abnormal sensation in their feet. The most common cause is Diabetes but there can be other causes such as vitamin deficiencies, alcohol abuse, HIV, toxins, etc.
Peripheral neuropathy can suffer from allodynia and hypersensitivity. These conditions make normal sensations of touch feel unbearably uncomfortable. As one example, if you have allodynia, you would feel pain and discomfort at the lightest of touches on your skin making it difficult to even have sheets covering your feet.
What causes neuropathy?
- Lyme disease
- Vitamin deficiencies such as B12 or thiamine
- Side effect of medications specially chemotherapy
- Epstein-Barr virus
- Hepatitis C
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Connective tissue disorders
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- Pressure on a nerve or injury to a nerve
Some patients have idiopathic neuropathy, which means there’s no clear cause. However, the pain they experience is very real.
What treatments are available for neuropathy?
Dr. Aram offers a range of treatments that can be effective in relieving neuropathic pain, including:
- Spinal Cord Stimulator
This device is the most advance treatment for difficult to treat conditions such as peripheral neuropathy. This is an excellent option for those who may be intolerant to the medications used to treat this condition, have failed medication management, or choose not to be on medications. Patients have the opportunity to have a “trial” where the device is placed temporarily so that the patient can experience the relief prior to moving forward to having the device implanted. The device produces an electrical field which scrambles the pain signal and prevents it from reaching the brain. Therefore, the patient does not feel the pain any longer.
Other treatment modalities include:
- Specific medications that treat nerve pain (neuroleptics)
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Prescription painkillers
- Low dose tricyclic antidepressants
If there’s an identifiable cause for your neuropathy, like if you have a condition such as shingles or lupus, then treating that underlying condition is also vital to managing your pain.
To take advantage of the best available treatments for neuropathy, call Expert Care Center or book an appointment online today.