06 Apr I Have Neuropathy: What Happens Next?
At Integrated Pain Consultants, many patients come into the office and say, “I have neuropathy” and aren’t sure what to do next. Having patients feel this way is common because many diagnoses of neuropathy, or nerve damage, are “idiopathic.” In other words, there’s no known cause for the nerve damage. Don’t worry though, even if your neuropathy is idiopathic; there are many ways to relieve the pain.
The most common type of neuropathy is peripheral, which impacts the peripheral nerves. These nerves are in charge of sending messages to the central nervous system (spinal cord and brain). Peripheral neuropathy can include a wide range of nerves and affect almost every part of the body in many ways. A single nerve might be affected, or there may be several.
Causes of Neuropathy
Around 20 million people in the U.S. suffer from neuropathy, and underlying medical conditions are a common cause. Diabetes is one of the most common causes, but nerve damage can also occur from trauma, infection, or be part of a repetitive stress injury. Your treatment may be designed to treat the underlying cause as well as the related pain, or it may simply provide pain management if the cause is idiopathic. For those with diabetes, treating the blood sugar levels may stop additional nerve damage.
If you’re suffering from nerve pain, medication management such as opioids may have been suggested. However, opioids are best used for short-term pain management given their addictive nature. In many cases, over the counter medications such as ibuprofen are just as effective. At Integrated Pain Consultants, conservative approaches are prioritized and include non-invasive and non-drug therapies such as radiofrequency ablation or spinal cord stimulation. You may benefit from epidural steroid injections. Finding the right pain management for your pain and goals is a must to sustain a quality of life.
Symptoms of Neuropathy
Symptoms of neuropathy are just as unique as the patients. One of the most common complaints is a feeling of numbness, tingling, or “pins and needles.” For those who lose sensation, the side effects are especially dangerous. Being unable to feel pain allows your body to be exposed to damage without being made aware of it. Some neuropathy patients say they can no longer detect temperature changes or that they feel sudden shooting pains that are described as stabbing, lancing, or burning (it can be worse at night).
If you’ve been diagnosed with neuropathy, call Integrated Pain Consultants at 480-626-2552 and begin your journey of pain management. We also invite you to learn more about Dr. Nikesh Seth and other providers including Dr. Anne-Marie Cosijns, Dr. Lisa Sparks, Dr. Michael Givens, and our team of Nurse Practitioners.