Peripheral Neuropathy Pain Management & Treatments
It is common for people with peripheral neuropathy to experience different degrees of pain. It’s important to identify the type of pain medication that will work best for managing painful peripheral neuropathy symptoms, that also works with your body chemistry, and compliments other treatments.
Acute pain accompanies illness, inflammation, or injury to tissues. The onset of acute pain is sudden and may occur with emotional distress. The cause of acute pain can usually be diagnosed and treated, and the pain will go away over time. Occasionally, acute pain can become chronic.
Chronic pain may be part of the disease itself. Environmental and psychological factors may make it become worse. Chronic pain lasts for longer periods of time than acute pain and is more difficult to treat.
Today, many treatment options exist (over-the counter, doctor prescribed and alternative/complementary treatments) to alleviate symptoms, and aide in peripheral neuropathy pain relief, and it’s important to find the treatment option that will work best for you.
Treatment For Peripheral Neuropathy
Treatment either targets the underlying cause, or it aims to provide symptomatic pain relief and prevent further damage.In the case of diabetic neuropathy, addressing high blood sugars can prevent further nerve damage.For toxic causes, removing the exposure to a suspected toxin, or stopping a drug, can halt further nerve damage.
Medications can relieve pain and reduce burning, numbness, and tingling.
Drug treatment for neuropathic pain
Medications that may help include:
- drugs normally used for epilepsy, such as carbamazepine
- antidepressants, such as venlafaxine
- opioid painkillers, for example, oxycodone or tramadol
Opioid painkillers come with warnings about safety risks.
Duloxetine may help people with chemotherapy-induced neuropathy.
Doctors can also prescribe skin patches, such as Lidoderm, for temporary, localized pain relief. This contains the local anesthetic lidocaine. The patches are like bandages, and they can be cut to size.The choice of drug should take into account medications for other conditions, to avoid unwanted interactions.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, may help control pain. These are available over the counter.Topical ointments and creams, such as capsaicin 0.075 percent cream, containing chili pepper, may ease pain. Patches are also available.
When neuropathy is caused by compression of a single nerve, treatment is similar whichever nerve is involved. The approach depends on whether the compression is fixed or transient.A palsy of the ulnar, radial, or peroneal nerve may be transient and reversible, simply by avoiding the cause of the nerve compression. For example, a person with ulnar nerve palsy should not lean on the affected elbow.
The patient may be advised to rest and to use heat and a limited course of drugs to reduce inflammation.In carpal tunnel syndrome, conservative therapy includes splinting the wrist, oral or injected corticosteroid drugs, and ultrasound.If a single-nerve neuropathy does not respond to these measures, surgery may be an option. Surgery may also be necessary if the nerve compression is fixed, for example when caused by a tumor.
Referral to specialist pain services or a relevant clinical specialty should be considered at any stage if:
- pain is severe
- pain significantly limits daily activities and quality of life
- an underlying health condition is getting worse