Neuropathy is the most common cause of chronic pain. Neuropathic pain is a symptom that occurs when the cells in your nervous system are damaged. The symptoms of neuropathy can range from mild to severe. They may include numbness or tingling in your hands and feet, muscle weakness or cramping, burning pain, and even changes in sensation such as vibration or temperature. At Expert Pain in Houston, pain specialists diagnose and treat all symptoms of neuropathy, including pain, numbness, or tingling in different body parts.
Neuropathic pain typically lasts longer than three months. Still, it can be persistent and difficult to treat, mainly if it results from nerve damage caused by diabetes or another condition that affects blood flow to the nerves.
There are several types of neuropathic pain, each with specific causes, symptoms, and treatments. The kind you experience will depend on where exactly in your body it is happening and how severe it is.
The most common types of neuropathic pain are:
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a type of neuropathic pain that develops when nerve damage occurs in a specific area of your body, causing chronic pain in that particular location. For example, if nerve damage occurs in your foot, you may develop chronic sharp shooting pain that travels up your leg to your hip or shoulder. The cause of CRPS is unknown, but it can be triggered by trauma to the affected area (such as an injury), infection, or cancer treatment.
Diabetic neuropathy is another type of neuropathic pain. It occurs when diabetes damages the body’s nerve endings.
Neuropathic pain caused by diabetes is usually a burning sensation, numbness, or tingling in the legs, feet, and hands. It can also involve other body parts such as your feet, torso, or buttocks.
Diabetic neuropathy can make it difficult to walk or stand for prolonged periods. It can increase as you lose more feeling in your extremities (called foot drop). You may also experience muscle weakness and increased sensitivity to pressure, heat, and cold. These symptoms are treated with medication that reduces swelling in the small blood vessels that supply nerves with oxygen-rich blood.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome (TTS)
Tarsal tunnel syndrome (TTS) is known as tarsal tunnel syndrome, tauopathies, or causalgia. It is caused by pressure on the nerve root in your foot that is bent at an angle between your toes and your heel. The pressure causes the nerve to swell and become inflamed (swollen). The swollen area then presses onto the spinal cord, causing pain that radiates from the top of your foot down into your toes and your shinbone (tibia). TTS can cause burning, throbbing, shooting pains in your feet or legs and numbness in these areas.
Episodic trigeminal neuralgia (ETN)
ETN is another form of neuropathic pain that affects only one side of your face or head region; you may experience sharp shooting pains that come and go over time. You may also experience numbness, tingling, or weakness on one side of your face.
Neuropathic pain is one of the most common and can be a severe issue for patients. As more people are diagnosed with diabetes, arthritis, and other chronic conditions, their risk for neuropathic pain increases. If you experience neuropathic pain, you may want to meet with a pain management expert. Contact Expert Pain to talk to a doctor about possible treatments for acute (short-term) or chronic (ongoing) nerve pain.