Tackling Nerve Pain
“Though diabetes is the commonest cause, the other common causes of nerve pain include vitamin B 12 deficiency, thyroid disease, brain stroke and spinal cord injury”
Features Of Nerve Pain
Pain is an unpleasant sensation that can occur due to many causes and nerve pain is among the most common types of pain which results due to diseases of the nervous system. However, certain typical features such as tingling, burning, and lancinating or a radiating sensation can help to recognize nerve pain early.
Though there are various causes of nerve pain, diabetes is the commonest. The other common causes of nerve pain include vitamin B 12 deficiency, thyroid disease, brain stroke and spinal cord injury.
Pin pointing The Root Cause
The identification of the root cause of nerve pain involves taking a detailed history and physical examination of the patient, followed by investigations (blood tests, nerve conduction studies and MRI if needed). Once the root cause is identified, it can be easily treated.
For example, if blood sugar is high in a diabetic, the dose of anti-diabetic medications may be increased or insulin can be started to control the blood sugar. Vitamin 812 supplements may be given to people with vitamin B 12 or thiamine deficiency. Similarly, alcoholics are advised to abstain from drinking, as alcohol is neurotoxic and may cause nerve damage.
The treatment of nerve pain involves two steps: to identify the cause of nerve pain and treat the root cause and to give symptomatic treatment of the nerve pain for relief from the pain.
In addition to the treatment of the root cause of nerve pain, it is also vital to start on medicines to relieve the nerve pain. There are several drugs which have been found useful in relieving nerve pain and these include antidepressants (such as amitriptyhne, dothiepin and duloxetine) and anticonvulsants (such as pregabalin and gabapentin).
Though these medicines are very effective, there are mild side effects such as giddiness and drowsiness. Hence, these medicines should only be consumed under the supervision of a neurologist. In some cases, creams such as capsaicin-based gels can be applied on the skin to reduce nerve pain and burning.
In conclusion, the systematic evaluation of the patient can help detect the root cause of the nerve pain. Also, it must be remembered that there are effective medicines available for treating nerve pain.