Did you know that a pain signal can move at about 0.06 miles per second? It makes sense, because pain signals need to travel very quickly to notify your body of an injury or danger. If it took too long, you could not react to burning your finger on the stove fast enough to prevent serious damage. Pain is designed to get your attention as quickly as possible. And it certainly does. While pain signals and nerves can be life-saving, they can also cause debilitating pain that detracts from your overall quality of life. Treating nerve pain often takes a team effort, because medications alone are often not enough to control the pain.
Treating Nerve Pain
While all pain runs along nerves, when the nerves themselves are directly involved, the results can be devastating and may easily become chronic (long term). This nerve pain is known as neuropathic pain, stemming from some kind of nerve damage or compression. Nerve pain can be caused by an injury or other condition, such as diabetes, that causes the nerves to misfire, sending mistaken pain signals when there is no real aggravating cause.
Besides the fact that nerve pain can be excruciating, it can also be extremely difficult to treat and diagnose, and may require medications, physical therapy, injections or surgery to alleviate the underlying cause of the pain. Additionally, your doctor may advise you to become more active, which is often the last thing you want to do when you are dealing with nerve pain. Moderate activity, overseen by a physician, may help reduce your pain.
You should be aware that stress levels and anxiety can also increase your perception of pain. Staying as relaxed and rested as possible, along with maintaining a healthy diet and weight, can go a long way towards reducing your pain.
As with all treatments for nerve pain, the treatment techniques will naturally vary according to your personal needs and condition. Your doctor will need to examine you, run tests and determine the cause of your nerve pain first. Once the cause is located, your doctor can recommend targeted treatments such as medication or pain relieving injections, or surgery to help treat your nerve pain.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend an implanted device that is designed to interfere with nerve pain by sending a disrupting signal that overrides pain sensations. Other treatments may include sophisticated pain pumps that are placed under the skin to deliver pain relieving medications in small, but effective dosages. Other devices, such as Intradiscal electrothermal therapy (IDET) and Percutaneous Stereotactic Rhizotomy (PSR), use heat to treat tissues or destroy the damaged nerves to prevent them from firing pain signals.
If you, or a loved one, is living with nerve pain, you owe it to yourself to learn about leading edge medical techniques and technologies that may be able to reduce or eliminate your nerve pain. If you would like more information about nerve pain treatments, or to schedule an appointment, please contact Orthopaedic Associates at (440) 892-1440 today.