Thursday, May 27, 2010

Chronic Pain Management with Neuropathy

Neuropathic pain is a complex chronic pain state that is usually accompanied by tissue injury. With this type of pain, the nerve fibers themselves may be damaged, dysfunctional or injured. These damaged nerve fibers send erroneous signals to other pain centers in your brain. The impact of nerve fiber injury includes a change in nerve function both at the site of injury and areas around the injury.

According to the Neuropathic Pain Network, somewhere between five to twenty-three million people (that’s between 2 to 8 percent of our population) are living with neuropathic pain in the United States. Unfortunately, it is a syndrome that is often under-diagnosed and under-treated.

Some of the symptoms of neuropathic pain including shooting pain, burning pain, tingling, and numbness. An example of neuropathic allodynia—a non-harmful stimulus perceived as painful—is rough clothing rubbing on your skin which you feel as if it were sandpaper; another example would be someone shaking your hand in what is really a gentle grasp but you feel it as crushing or excruciating.

Another striking example of neuropathic pain is called phantom limb syndrome. This occurs when a limb like an arm or a leg has been removed because of illness or injury. The brain still receives (or perceives) pain messages from the nerves that originally carried impulses from the missing limb. These nerves now misfire and cause pain.

As anyone living with neuropathic pain knows the treatment can be frustrating and often ineffective. While acute short-term pain is usually easy to manage and most chronic pain management conditions can be treated effectively, neuropathic pain can be a major treatment challenge for both patients and their healthcare providers. Unfortunately, neuropathic pain often responds poorly to standard pain treatments and occasionally may get worse instead of better over time. For some people, it can lead to serious disability.

The capsaicin patch could be a much needed tool for many people experiencing neuropathic pain symptoms and find that other pain management medications (e.g., opiates or SSRI’s and SNRI’s) are not helping or have too many side effects. Of course medication management is only one component of an effective pain management treatment plan.

I believe that people also need to be developing nonpharmacological interventions as well as learning to better manage the psychological/emotional components of their pain. For those symptoms cognitive behavioral and rational emotive therapeutic interventions give the best outcomes.

To learn more about effective chronic pain management check out my article The Need for Multidisciplinary Chronic Pain Management that you can download for free on our Article page.

If you'd like to receive training for helping people with chronic pain and coexisting disorders, including addiction, I'm very excited to announce we are presenting my Addiction-Free Pain Management® Certification Training in Sacramento on August 5-7, 2010. To learn more about this 3 day 20 hour training and my other upcoming trainings you can check out our Calendar page.

You can learn more about the Addiction-Free Pain Management® System at our website If you or a loved one is undergoing chronic pain management, especially if you're in recovery or believe you may have a medication or other mental health problem and you want to learn more effective chronic pain management tools, please go to our Publications page and check out my books; especially the Addiction-Free Pain Management® Recovery Guide: Managing Pain and Medication in Recovery. To purchase this book please Click Here.

To read the latest issue of Chronic Pain Solutions Newsletter please Click here. If you want to sign up for the newsletter, please Click here and input your name and email address. You will then recieve an autoresponse email that you need to reply to in order to finalize enrollment.

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