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October 12, 2022

What Causes Neuropathic Pain & How is It Treated?

Neuropathic pain is a severe burning or shooting pain. This is a condition that is more often chronic. Neuropathic pain is typically caused by severe, progressive nerve disease. This causes damage to various levels of the nervous system; the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. Also, it can be as a result of infection or damage. It mainly affects the lower back, limbs, and neck. Neuropathic pain can be constant, with the recurrent feeling of burning and shooting accompanied by loss of sensation or numbness. 

neuropathic pain in wrist

Causes of Neuropathic Pain

Unfortunately, neuropathic pain is widespread in the US. Researches show that based on best estimates, the prevalence of neuropathic pain among Americans may be between 6.9-10 percent. With chronic pain affecting over 20% of people in the US, neuropathic pain is the leading cause of pain. Populations most likely to experience this kind of pain include manual workers, women, people unable to work, people who are 50 years and above, and rural residents.

Causes Of Neuropathic Pain

The main causes of this form of pain can be categorized into four; disease, infection, injury, and loss of limb.


A lot of diseases can cause neuropathic pain, but at least 30% of these pain cases result from diabetes. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy affects at least 50% of people who have diabetes.

Other diseases that cause neuropathic pain include:

  • Thyroid problems
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Facial nerve issues like trigeminal neuralgia
  • Connective tissue disorders
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Alcoholism
  • Multiple myeloma


Even when muscle, tissue, or joint injury has healed or leg, back, or hip problems improve, sometimes damage to the nervous system might not go away. Trauma caused by spinal injuries like spinal cord compression and herniated disc can damage your nerves near the spine. Also, iatrogenic injuries when doctors cut nerves during a surgical operation can cause chronic neuropathic pain. 


Lyme disease, shingles, HIV infection and AIDS, Syphilis, hepatitis B and C, Epstein-Barr virus, leprosy, and diphtheria can also cause neuropathic pain.

Limb Loss

When your hand or arm is amputated, you can suffer neuropathic pain. This is because the nerves near the amputated part may send incorrect signals to the brain, making it feel like the removed limb is in pain. 

Neuropathic Pain Treatments

Neuropathic pain treatment aims to know the underlying condition or disease causing the pain and treat it if possible. 

The main aim of your pain specialist is to offer pain relief, assist you in maintaining your usual capabilities regardless of the pain, and enhance your life quality. Some of the common treatments include:

Over-The-Counter Medication

NSAIDs like Motrin and Aleve can sometimes be used to treat this kind of pain. Unfortunately, many people don’t find these medicines effective for neuropathic pain, since they do not target the primary source of the pain.

Antidepressant Drugs

These kinds of drugs have shown positive results in treating neuropathic pain symptoms. Two common types of these drugs are prescribed to patients with the following conditions.

  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors 
  • Tricyclic antidepressants

These drugs may treat the pain and the symptoms of anxiety or depression caused by chronic pain.

Implantable Device

This is an invasive procedure whereby a surgeon implants a device in your body. Doctors can implant the device in the spine or the brain. After the device is in place, it will send electrical impulses into the spinal cord, brain, or nerves. These impulses may control symptoms and end the irregular nerve signals.

Get Help With Neuropathic Pain Today

Now that you know what neuropathic pain is, its causes and how to treat it, it’s time to see a doctor. Ensure you visit a doctor for the correct diagnosis and a treatment plan. When you get proper treatment, you may find relief and live a high-quality life.

Contact the team at Progressive Pain for help or fill out the form below and start your treatment today.

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