12 Mar The Nerve! Addressing Neuropathy
Nerve pain, or neuropathy, can be a debilitating form of pain and initially difficult to diagnose. Integrated Pain Consultants specializes in treating nerve pain with a variety of alternative and traditional treatments. The first step is a correct diagnosis. Peripheral neuropathy, the most common type of neuropathy, occurs when the peripheral nerves are damaged. This can cause pain as well as weakness and numbness, most often in the hands and feet.
The peripheral nervous system is in charge of sending pain signals to the brain and spinal cord from the rest of the body. A common approach to pain management is to block those pain signals so that the pain is no longer felt. This doesn’t “fix” the issue, but oftentimes damaged nerves do not require correction. The issue is the pain, not the root cause. Some helpful treatments may include:
• Epidural steroid injections. If the nerves are near the spinal cord, an epidural injection can provide immediate relief. It blocks the pain and is a relatively non-invasive procedure without any addictive qualities.
• Radiofrequency ablation. Also known as RF ablation, if a medial branch block test reveals that the pain source is in a facet joint, a patient might benefit from RF ablation. It’s a non-invasive treatment that heats the lesion near the affected nerves, effectively blocking the pain signals. It is a semi-permanent solution.
• Joint injections. Similar to epidural steroid injections, receiving an anesthetic injection directly in the impaired joint can also offer immediate relief.
• Sympathetic block. This injection targets the center of the lumbar spine, either to the right or left (depending on pain source). It stops the pain signals in the lumbar’s sympathetic nerves, which are bundled together. The exact makeup of the ingredients may vary based on the patient and pain levels.
• Ketamine infusions. Ketamine is a specific type of anesthetic that works very well to block pain. It was first created in the 1960s, and although this treatment is not appropriate for everyone, it can be useful in some situations.
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Additional treatments include spinal cord stimulation, and medication management. If you’ve been diagnosed with nerve pain, or suspect it, make an appointment with Integrated Pain Consultants today.