Neuropatic pain is a pain caused by an injury to the Peripheral Nervous System or the Central Nervous System.
Neuropathic pain may result from:
Compression of a nerve - e.g., by a tumor or a disc hernia.
Own nerve lesion-like occurs in systemic diseases (e.g., Diabetes mellitus) or infectious diseases (e.g., Herpes Zoster).
Abnormal or interrupted processing of pain signaling pathways between the spinal cord and brain (phantom limb pain, complex regional pain syndrome, etc.).
It is usually a poorly located pain, difficult to describe (burning, stabbing, electric shock or burning pain) accompanied by symptoms of hypersensitivity to touch or cold, numbness or tingling).
If the movement is painful, people become reluctant to move the painful part of their body. In such cases, the muscles that control the painful part atrophy and movement may become limited.
People may continue to feel the pain even after the cause has been resolved, as the structures in the nervous system are altered, and as such are hypersensitive to painful stimulation. Examples of this are herpes lesions or the pain of a scar. Neuropathic pain can contribute to/aggregate, when dragged out over time, to deansiety and/or depression or vice versa.
In people with diabetes, the persistence of high levels of glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream can damage nerve endings. As a result, complaints of loss/change of sensation, especially in hands and feet, can arise, and in more serious cases, can lead to complaints of pain and muscle weakness.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
This is a condition that usually arises after a trauma, usually a fracture, which leads to damage to the nerve itself.
The pain is disproportionate to the severity of the initial injury and is usually felt as a burning or stabbing pain, accompanied by changes in sensitivity, swelling and stiffness of the affected joints, changes in color, sweating and/or hairiness of the skin. It can lead to muscle weakness and loss of bone mass. CRPS is an uncommon pathology, the causes of which are still unclear. Treatment is most effective when started early. In these cases, there can be a significant improvement in symptoms or even remission
In the case of post-herpetic neuralgia, any nerve can be affected. The most painful phase and the one that follows after the vesicles phase, typical of infection by the Herpes virus. Any body area can be affected, although it usually affects only one side of the body. This is usually an intolerable, continuous, burning or stab-like pain that appears along the path of the nerve and its branches. This type of pain can persist for months or even years, deeply affecting the quality of life of the patient.