Neuropathic (Nerve) Pain

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Dr Chow Chow

Key Points

  1. Neuropathic pain is caused by a lesion or disease of the somatosensory nervous system.

  2. There are numerous neuropathic pain tools available online for decision support.

  3. Untreated nerve pain can lead to significant disability in life.

  4. Medication alone is not adequate; a multidisciplinary approach of treatment is more beneficial.

Neuropathic Pain, also known as “Nerve Pain”, is defined as “Pain caused by a lesion or disease of the somatosensory nervous system”. It is a clinical description (and not a diagnosis) which requires a demonstrable lesion or a disease that satisfies established neurological diagnostic criteria.

The World Health Organisation established the International Classification of Disease 11th Revision in 2019 and classified neuropathic pain as “Peripheral” or “Central”, depending on the aetiology (the cause or origin) of the lesion or disease. 

There are numerous neuropathic pain tools to help the physicians to delineate if the symptoms are likely to be “nerve pain”. Validated tools include Leeds Assessment of Neuropathic Symptoms and Signs (LANSS), Douleur Neuropathique en 4 Questions (DN4), Neuropathic Pain Questionnaire, painDETECT etc. Reported symptoms could be tingling, pins and needles, electric shooting, burning, freezing, numbness, pain on light touch or brushing etc. Often, additional tests such as MRI scan, nerve conduction studies or quantitative sensory testing to establish the diagnosis of the lesion/disease. 

Common forms of Nerve Pain include complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), post herpetic neuralgia, radicular pain (or nerve root pain traveling down the legs or arms), peripheral diabetic neuropathy, post surgical pain, headache, pelvic pain, phantom pain etc. 

If neuropathic pain left untreated, it can lead to devastating sequelae and reduction in quality of life. Often, people have problems with sleeping, activities of daily living, self-care, work, exercise, interpersonal relationship and social interactions. This is why treatment to manage the nerve pain is important. 

The treatment pathways vary from person to person. Managing nerve pain requires a multidisciplinary approach with focus on physical health, cognitive modification, nerve medications and sometimes, nerve blocks to allow the body to have the best chance to engage the rehabilitation process. 

Feel free to contact and find out how we can help you to manage your nerve pain better.

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Thank you for your kind referral, please also fax us a copy of patient’s health summary with their current medication and medical history at (02) 8088 7877

PO Box 18 Roslyn Street, Potts Point 2011 NSW
Phone 02 8866 1393
Fax 02 8088 7877
Healthlink: tzechowc


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