Neuropathic Pain Quiz

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Reviewed By:

Unnati Patel, MD, MSc

Unnati Patel, MD, MSc (Primary Care Physician)

Dr Patel graduated from the Zhejiang University School of Medicine. She worked in clinical research at the University of Illinois in Chicago and University of Nevada in Las Vegas focused on culturally adapted health interventions for preventive medicine in the community setting. Received her Master's of Science in Global Health (concentration in Health Policy) from Georgetown University, during which she worked with the WHO in Sierra Leone and Save the Children in Washington, D.C. Unnati went on to complete her family medicine residency in Chicago, Illinois at Norwegian American Hospital. | | She is currently working as a primary care physician in the city of Chicago and completing her Master's of Business Administration at the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management and Fellowship in Leadership in Value-Based Care.

Kenji Igarashi, MD

Kenji Igarashi, MD (Anesthesiology)

Dr. Igarashi graduated from the University of Tokyo, Faculty of Medicine. He completed his residency at the Tokyo Metropolitan Geriatric Hospital and Institute of Gerontology and joined Ubie in October 2017. At Ubie, he designs medical data and supports the pharmaceutical team. He also works regularly as an anesthesiologist and internist.

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Learn more about Neuropathic Pain

Content updated on Jan 19, 2024

What is neuropathic pain?

Neuropathic pain is usually caused by an injury, disease, or problem with the somatosensory nervous system. This is a common long-term pain condition that greatly affects a person's quality of life. The nerves in this system are what let us feel things like temperature, pressure, and pain. This type of pain often feels like a burning, tingling, sharp, or stabbing sensation. It can be triggered by light touch or cold, and can be constant or come and go. It can also get worse when resting or at night. Neuropathic pain is often caused by viral infections like post-herpetic neuralgia, cancer, blood vessel abnormalities, alcoholism, diabetes, nerve pressure, nerve damage from surgery or accidents, and neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis and shingles.

Symptoms of neuropathic pain

  • Neck pain worse when tilting the head towards the shoulder

  • History of slipped disc

  • Numbness anywhere from the elbow to the wrist

  • Tingling, numbing chest pain

  • Numbness in the region from shoulder to elbow

  • Numbness anywhere from the knees to the ankles

  • Numbness of the thigh

  • Tingling or prickling sensation of the skin

Questions your doctor may ask to check for neuropathic pain

Your doctor may ask these questions to diagnose neuropathic pain

  • Does your neck pain worsen when tilting head towards shoulder?

  • Have you ever been diagnosed with herniated disc (slipped disc)?

  • Do you have numbness in your arm?

  • Does your chest pain feel numb?

  • Do you have numbness from shoulder to elbow?

Treatment for neuropathic pain

The aim of treating neuropathic pain is to control the pain and better the person's life. This usually involves a mix of drugs, physical therapy, and mental health treatments. Medicines used might be antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and opioid pain relievers. Physical therapies work to build up the body and increase movement, while mental health treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy can help people deal with the emotional effects of having long-term pain. Sometimes, surgery or neurostimulation therapies might be used.

Diseases related to Neuropathic Pain

References

  • Baron R, Binder A, Wasner G. Neuropathic pain: diagnosis, pathophysiological mechanisms, and treatment. Lancet Neurol. 2010 Aug;9(8):807-19. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(10)70143-5. PMID: 20650402.

    https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laneur/article/PIIS1474-4422(10)70143-5/fulltext

  • St John Smith E. Advances in understanding nociception and neuropathic pain. J Neurol. 2018 Feb;265(2):231-238. doi: 10.1007/s00415-017-8641-6. Epub 2017 Oct 14. PMID: 29032407; PMCID: PMC5808094.

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00415-017-8641-6

  • Bouhassira D. Neuropathic pain: Definition, assessment and epidemiology. Rev Neurol (Paris). 2019 Jan-Feb;175(1-2):16-25. doi: 10.1016/j.neurol.2018.09.016. Epub 2018 Oct 29. PMID: 30385075.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0035378718308105?via%3Dihub

  • Szok D, Tajti J, Nyári A, Vécsei L. Therapeutic Approaches for Peripheral and Central Neuropathic Pain. Behav Neurol. 2019 Nov 21;2019:8685954. doi: 10.1155/2019/8685954. PMID: 31871494; PMCID: PMC6906810.

    https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bn/2019/8685954/

  • Gierthmühlen J, Baron R. Neuropathic Pain. Semin Neurol. 2016 Oct;36(5):462-468. doi: 10.1055/s-0036-1584950. Epub 2016 Sep 23. PMID: 27704502.

    https://www.thieme-connect.de/products/ejournals/abstract/10.1055/s-0036-1584950

  • Cohen SP, MaoJ, Neuropathic pain: mechanisms and their clinical implications BMJ 2014;348:g2323

    https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g2323

  • Jensen, T. S., Baron, R., Haanpää, M., Kalso, E., Loeser, J. D., Rice, A. S. C., & Treede, R. D. (2011). A new definition of neuropathic pain. Pain, 152(10), 2204–2205.

    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pain.2011.06.017

  • Finnerup, N. B., Attal, N., Haroutounian, S., McNicol, E., Baron, R., Dworkin, R. H., ... & Wallace, M. (2015). Pharmacotherapy for neuropathic pain in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Neurology, 14(2), 162-173.

    https://doi.org/10.1016/S1474-4422(14)70251-0

User testimonials

Reviewed By:

Unnati Patel, MD, MSc

Unnati Patel, MD, MSc (Primary Care Physician)

Dr Patel graduated from the Zhejiang University School of Medicine. She worked in clinical research at the University of Illinois in Chicago and University of Nevada in Las Vegas focused on culturally adapted health interventions for preventive medicine in the community setting. Received her Master's of Science in Global Health (concentration in Health Policy) from Georgetown University, during which she worked with the WHO in Sierra Leone and Save the Children in Washington, D.C. Unnati went on to complete her family medicine residency in Chicago, Illinois at Norwegian American Hospital. | | She is currently working as a primary care physician in the city of Chicago and completing her Master's of Business Administration at the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management and Fellowship in Leadership in Value-Based Care.

Kenji Igarashi, MD

Kenji Igarashi, MD (Anesthesiology)

Dr. Igarashi graduated from the University of Tokyo, Faculty of Medicine. He completed his residency at the Tokyo Metropolitan Geriatric Hospital and Institute of Gerontology and joined Ubie in October 2017. At Ubie, he designs medical data and supports the pharmaceutical team. He also works regularly as an anesthesiologist and internist.

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