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Neuropathic Pain

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by Stahl RJ

(Pain, Neuropathic; Nerve Pain; Pain, Nerve)


Risk Factors

Certain conditions increase your risk of getting neuropathic pain, such as:
Other risk factors include:
  • Back surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Exposure to toxins or metals
  • Certain medications


Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:


There are a number of medications that are effective for treating neuropathic pain. Some of these, like antidepressants, were created to treat other conditions. They have also been found to be useful for treating nerve pain.
Examples of medications used to treat symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include:
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antidepressants
  • Opioid pain relievers
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen
  • Topical creams applied to the skin or patches, such as capsaicin cream or a patch with lidocaine
It may take a while for your doctor to find the right medication for you. You may need to take a combination of medications for pain relief.

Other Options


Your doctor may advise nerve decompression. If pressure on the nerve is causing pain, surgery can relieve it. This can help decrease the pain or make it go away.
If you are not getting relief from other treatments, your doctor may recommend:
  • An injection of a nerve block—An anesthetic is injected into the painful area to block pain signals.
  • Pain pump installation—A pain pump can be implanted into your body to deliver pain medication.
  • Nerve stimulators—This device is attached to the nerve and delivers electrical signals to control pain.
  • Surgery can be done to block the damaged nerves from sending signals.


American Chronic Pain Association

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke



Canadian Diabetes Association

Canadian Pain Coalition



Botez SA, Herrmann DN. Sensory neuropathies, from symptoms to treatment. Curr Opin Neurol. 2010;23(5):502-508.

Rezania K, et al. Impaired glucose tolerance and metabolic syndrome in idiopathic polyneuropathy: the role of pain and depression. Med Hypotheses. 2011;76:538-42.

Types of neuropathic pain. The Neuropathy Association website. Available at: Accessed May 30, 2014.

Understanding nerve pain. American Chronic Pain Association website. Available at: Accessed May 30, 2014.


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