Updated: Jun 6
Maybe you have nerve pain and don't even know it. Nerve pain is different from feeling pain in a bone or joint, as it's not really a physical area that hurts. Nerve pain hurts everywhere and impacts your mental well-being and other bodily functions like sleeping and eating habits.
Ignoring a problem will not make it go away—it may only get worse. That's why it is important to see a Manhattan pain management specialist, so you don't have to deal with complications for a long time. This article will cover what nerves are, common areas of pain, what they feel like, and how you can treat them.
1. Nerve Pain Has Many Causes
There are various ways in which one can develop nerve pain. This is due to an injury that has caused damage to peripheral nerves or the nerve itself. It is usually caused by poor posture, trauma, or strain during a specific activity or by degenerative disc disease.
If you have nerve pain, you know that it's different than other types of pain. Nerve pain can be numbness, tingling, or a burning sensation. It can affect one or more areas of the body, but it doesn't go away.
Nerve pain can result from repetitive overuse of muscles or joints, which can cause microscopic damage to the structure of the nerves. Nerve pain can also be caused by inflammation in tissues around nerves. Inflammation causes tissue swelling, making them sensitive to touch and pressure, leading to tenderness and soreness.
Inflammation is often associated with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, which are both inflammatory diseases that cause joint stiffness as well as swelling around joints. In some cases, there may be an underlying cause, such as an infection or cancer that has damaged the nerves.
2. Nerve Pain Can Occur Anywhere in the Body
Nerves are a type of tissue that carries messages between your brain and other parts of the body. They're made up of cells called neurons, which transmit information through electrical signals. Nerves can be found throughout your body; some connect to muscles and help them move, while others send messages back to your brain so you can feel touch or pain.
Nerve damage can cause these sensory nerves to send incorrect messages about what is going on in your body. As a result, you may experience sensations where there are no problems or feel pain when nothing is wrong with you at all.
The cause of nerve pain depends on where the nerves are affected. For example, if you have shingles, then the nerves that carry pain signals to your brain are affected. If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, then your median nerve becomes inflamed and swollen as it passes through a narrow tunnel in your wrist.
Nerve pain is a condition that affects the nerves of the body, causing them to be in a state of constant or recurring pain. The most common places for nerve pain to occur are:
Lower back – Approximately 80 percent of people with nerve pain report lower back pain. This type of pain usually affects only one side of your body but can affect both sides of the sciatic nerve becomes inflamed or compressed by a disc herniation or other spinal condition. Sciatica causes tingling, numbness, and weakness in one leg that travels down into your foot.
Neck – Pain in your neck can be due to tension headaches or migraine headaches that cause muscle spasms in your neck, which result in shooting pains down your arms, through your shoulder blades, chest, and abdomen. Nerve entrapment syndrome can also cause radiating pains down one arm or leg, which is usually treated with physical therapy.
Legs and feet — This occurs when there's a problem with the nerves that run through your legs and feet, such as sciatica (nerve compression) or carpal tunnel syndrome (compression of a nerve in your wrist). Nerve compression causes symptoms similar to those of other types of nerve pain and usually affects one side of your body only. Nerve compression can cause leg pain or weakness, usually in the lower legs. The numbness or tingling can sometimes start in the foot and move up into the calf muscle or thigh.
Hands and arms - Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common cause of hand pain, especially in women who do repetitive tasks with their hands, such as typing on a computer keyboard all day long. The carpal tunnel is a narrow space with nine tendons that bend your fingers, so any pressure on them can cause symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, including pain and tingling in your fingers and hands.
3. Nerve Pain Often Affects People Differently
Nerves are present throughout your body, connecting the brain to various parts of the body. When something hurts, it's usually because nerves in that area have become inflamed or damaged due to injury or disease.
The pain may occur after an injury, trauma, or surgery. But some people experience chronic nerve pain that lasts for months or years after the initial injury has healed — this is known as chronic nerve pain (also called neuropathic).
The symptoms of nerve pain can vary from person to person. Some people may only feel it during certain activities and situations, while others may experience it all day long. Some people describe their nerve pain as tingling, burning, or even shooting sensations extending from their toes up through their legs and arms. But there are some common symptoms that most people experience when they have this condition. These include:
Numbness - Numbness is one of the most common symptoms associated with nerve pain. The numbness may be localized around an injured area or spread throughout your body.
Burning or tingling - Burning or tingling sensations are also common with nerve pain, especially if you have diabetic neuropathy or another type of neuropathy that causes damage to your peripheral nerves.
Extreme sensitivity - Extreme sensitivity can occur when there is damage to your peripheral nerves as well as other types of neuropathy, such as diabetic neuropathy. The pain is often worse when you touch or move the affected area, but it can also cause discomfort at rest. This can make even normal sensations feel like they are extremely painful, such as walking barefoot on something sharp or stepping into a bathtub filled with ice-cold water.
Muscle weakness - When your nerves are damaged, they can't communicate with your muscles as well as they should be able to do so. As a result, any type of movement might feel hard or impossible without some assistance from other muscles in your body. This can lead to muscle weakness which makes it difficult for you to move around and do normal tasks.
Stabbing or shooting sensations - The pain of nerve pain is often described as "stabbing" or "shooting" sensations. The pain can come and go, or it may be constant. It's often felt in a single area of your body, but sometimes it spreads to other parts of your body.
4. Nerve Pain Can be a Chronic Problem
Damaged or injured nerves often cause chronic nerve pain from trauma, disease, or injury. The damage interferes with how your nerves send signals back and forth to other parts of your body. This can cause discomfort and dysfunction in areas where there is no actual damage to the tissues themselves.
Chronic pain is different from acute pain in that it lasts longer than three months and requires constant treatment to manage it. If you have chronic nerve pain, there's no telling how long it will last or whether it will ever go away completely.
It may also come and go with activity and other factors like weather changes. For example, you might have more pain when it's cold outside or after exercising but less pain when it's warm outside or you're resting. It often gets worse at night and pinches or burns, and some people report feeling like their skin is on fire. Sometimes nerve pain comes on suddenly for no apparent reason, but it often develops slowly over time.
Don't Lose Hope!
While the initial feelings of pain subside, you still have to live with constant sensations that never go away. A chronic case of nerve pain is a very frustrating experience but don't give up! The good news is there are treatments that may help to lessen the pain and other symptoms that you may have.
Focusing on how you can manage your condition will help improve your quality of life and give you a boost of hope for living with nerve pain in the future. So, if you are struggling with this condition, make sure to talk to a Manhattan pain management specialist about both treatment options and lifestyle changes that can help ease the pain and help you along your path to recovery.