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Have you noticed shooting pain in your arm or other unexplained discomfort? If you suspect you’ve suffered nerve damage, you might wonder, “How do neurologists treat nerve pain?” Keep reading to discover everything you should know about neuropathic pain.
When you need a doctor for nerve pain, seek out the top neurologist in NYC. Dr. Malhotra, founder of Neurodiagnostics Medical P.C., offers expert diagnosis and professional treatment for nerve pain.
What Is Nerve Pain?
Nerve pain occurs when damage or a malfunction in your nervous system manifests in various levels of pain in your body. Roughly 9% of people experience nerve pain at some point in their life, according to PubMed Central.
The problem can occur in your central or peripheral nervous system when they send the wrong signals to your pain centers. A neurologist can diagnose nerve issues and develop a treatment plan to manage the problem or its symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms of Nerve Pain
Not all unexplained pain arises from nerve damage. You might be dealing with nerve pain if you notice the following symptoms.
Spontaneous pain is any discomfort that arises without apparent cause. The pain ranges in severity and may come and go quickly or linger for an extended duration. The pain can include sensations such as burning, stabbing, shooting pain, the feeling of electric shock, tingling, numbness, or pins and needles.
Also known as evoked pain, these sensations arise from normally inconsequential stimuli such as cold weather or light pressure.
One study found that 68% of patients with neuropathy pain experience sleep issues because of the discomfort. Lack of sleep increases stress, can cause emotional issues, and prevents you from fully completing your daily duties.
What Causes Nerve Damage?
Neurologists have identified several conditions most likely to cause nerve pain. The following illnesses and treatments are most commonly associated with neuropathic pain:
- Alcoholism: According to Alcohol.org, up to 66% of patients with Alcohol Use Disorder experience some form of neurological problem.
- Diabetes: Over time, high blood sugar and fat deposits can damage nerves. Diabetes causes about 30% of neuropathy cases, according to Cleveland Clinic.
- HIV: Neuropathy presents in AIDS patients who are older or have advanced forms of the disease.
- Central nervous system disorders: Conditions such as strokes, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis can cause neuropathic pain.
- Complex regional pain syndrome: This term describes chronic pain, usually in an arm or leg, that results from an injury but which is disproportionately more severe than the injury itself.
- Shingles: Shingles sometimes causes lasting pain even after the infection ends.
- Chemotherapy: Medications such as Cisplatin, Vincristine, and Paclitaxel occasionally result in nerve pain.
- Radiation therapy: Nerves sometimes experience damage during radiation treatment
- Amputation: Many patients report phantom pain after an amputation.
- Spinal injury: Nerve compression or inflammation, such as from a herniated disk, often results in nerve pain.
- Injury: Surgical procedures or trauma, such as a car crash, sometimes leave lasting nerve damage.
- Tumors: Tumors can press against nerves, causing pain.
How Doctors Diagnose Nerve Pain
Diagnosing nerve pain starts with a general medical examination where the doctor inspects your medical history and inquires about your symptoms. If they believe an underlying condition is causing your nerve pain, they’ll run further tests to discover the condition and develop a treatment plan.
Most Common Treatments for Nerve Pain
How do neurologists treat nerve pain? The most effective method is treating the underlying condition causing it. However, if the damage is permanent or they can’t treat the cause, they can use any of the following methods.
Effective medications for nerve pain include anti-depressants, anti-inflammatories, and anti-seizure medications, such as:
You can also use over-the-counter methods for pain management, such as lidocaine or Ibuprofin.
Neurologists can use physical therapy in conjunction with other treatment options to reduce and manage the pain. However, physical therapy alone isn’t enough to treat or reverse nerve pain.
If medications don’t adequately address nerve pain, doctors can use any of the following medical procedures:
- Brain and spinal cord stimulation: Doctors implant these stimulators below your skin. They allow you to send minor electrical pulses when you feel pain, covering it with a slight tingling feeling.
- Nerve blocks: This procedure injects steroids or anesthetics into affected nerves to deaden the pain.
Reach Out to Neurodiagnostics Medical P.C. for Nerve Pain Help
Through a combination of medication, physical therapy, and medical procedures, your doctor can help you manage your neuropathy pain. Neurodiagnostics Medical P.C. employs some of the best neurologists and doctors on the East Coast.
If you’re suffering nerve pain, don’t wait to schedule a neurologist appointment by calling (347) 602-9530. Our doctors accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and PIP (personal injury protection). Same-day appointments may be available.
FAQs About Nerve Pain and Treatment
Here are the answers to the most common questions about nerve pain and treatment.
Can I Manage Nerve Pain at Home?
Yes, you can manage nerve pain at home using the following methods:
- Take care of your overall health with adequate sleep, a well-balanced diet, and exercise.
- Reduce stress by maintaining a healthy work-life balance and caring for your mental health.
- Pay attention to any changes in how your limbs feel, in particular your feet, and see a doctor early if you notice changes.
If home remedies don’t work, schedule an appointment.
Can the Doctor Reverse Nerve Damage?
Doctors can sometimes reverse nerve damage depending on the cause. For example, nerve pain caused by a tumor or compression usually resolves once the neurologist relieves the pressure. Damage from traumatic injuries, amputations, or radiation is often irreversible.
Will I Need Surgery to Treat Nerve Damage?
How do neurologists treat nerve pain? You may require surgery for nerve damage if a tumor or compression causes the pain. While surgery is seldom a first line of treatment for neuropathy, repairing a herniated disk or removing the growth is extremely effective in reducing certain forms of nerve pain.