Updated: Jun 1
Nerve pain is a seriously debilitating condition that affects millions of people worldwide. The common denominator is damage to nerves which, depending on the type of damage, can cause many different types of pain.
If you suffer from nerve pain, we fully understand how hard it can be to live with it. That's why our New York pain management specialists provide treatments that can help. In this article, we'll cover some reasons why you might have nerve pain and how to treat it.
What causes nerve pain?
There are many different types of nerve pain. Some are caused by injury, some by disease, and others by age-related changes in the nervous system. Therefore, learning more about your specific type of nerve pain is helpful before starting treatment. Some of the causes of nerve pain include:
Nerve pain caused by injury or trauma
This is the most common cause of nerve pain. The injury may be from an accident or repetitive movement over time. The most common example is when you sprain your ankle and experience sharp pain in your foot as well as tingling or numbness in your toes and bottom of your foot. This type of nerve damage can take months to years for your pain to go away completely. The good news is that most people get better over time with treatment.
Nerve pain caused by compression
If your nerves are squeezed too tightly by something else, such as bone deformity (such as scoliosis) or scar tissue from an old injury, it can cause pain that lasts much longer than normal. Compression-related nerve damage may also cause muscle weakness along with intense pain, which makes it harder to recover from this kind of injury because the muscles won't work right without proper signals from the nervous system.
Nerve pain caused by an underlying condition
It can be caused by a condition that affects your nervous system itself, such as multiple sclerosis or a pinched nerve in your neck or back. Or it may be caused by an underlying condition such as diabetes, cancer, or arthritis.
People with diabetes may have nerve pain due to neuropathy, which is damage to the peripheral nerves. Peripheral neuropathy occurs when your body has trouble processing sugar (glucose). This happens when you have high blood sugar levels over many years that cause damage to nerves throughout your body.
Nerve pain caused by prolonged use of medications
It is particularly those used for treating high blood pressure (hypertension), depression, anxiety, and chronic pain, which can also result in nerve damage if taken for long periods of time at high doses.
How long does nerve pain last?
The duration of your nerve pain depends on the type of injury and what caused it. Pain from nerve damage can range from mild to severe and may vary from day to day or hour to hour. Some people find that their nerve pain flares up periodically and then subsides for long periods of time while others have constant pain that never seems to let up and lasts for months or even years.
Another important factor is whether or not you have ever had any kind of surgery on your back or neck. Nerve pain can sometimes last for years after an operation since these procedures often involve damage to the nerves in your spine or neck area.
If you have mild pain, you may be able to manage it with physical therapy or other treatments that relieve pain and inflammation. In some cases, people experience prolonged nerve pain that gets worse and lasts longer than three months, which is known as chronic neuropathic pain. It can cause significant disability, affect the quality of life and make it difficult to carry out normal daily activities.
A pain physician may prescribe steroid injections into one or more of the affected nerves. This can help relieve swelling and reduce inflammation so that it's easier for your nerve to repair itself.
When should you seek medical help?
Nerve pain can be a serious problem, and it's important to get help before the pain gets worse. Here's what you should look for:
The pain is persistent
If your symptoms last longer than six months, this could be an indication that something more serious is going on. It's possible that your pain could be due to other conditions such as arthritis or diabetes, which can cause nerve damage if left untreated. If you're experiencing constant nerve pain, it's important to see a pain doctor as soon as possible.
You have weakness in one of your limbs or muscles
Weakness in one limb or muscle can be a sign of nerve damage and requires further examination by a pain specialist to determine what's causing it and how best to treat it.
The pain is spreading to other parts of the body
If you experience numbness or tingling in an area that wasn't previously affected by nerve pain, this could be a sign of an unusual condition called neuralgia. It is an irritation of one or more nerves in the body that causes severe pain, so it's worth checking out with a medical professional right away.
The pain is worsening
If the pain is getting worse, that may mean something more serious is going on. This could be caused by something as simple as a pinched nerve in your back or neck, or there could be a more serious underlying issue such as cancer or a degenerative disorder like multiple sclerosis (MS). If the pain has been around for a while and isn't getting better, it might be worth talking to a pain specialist to make sure nothing else is going on.
While these conditions are rarer than other causes of nerve pain, they still need to be treated right away so that they don't get worse and cause even more damage to your nervous system.
Can nerve pain be treated?
When you have nerve pain, it can feel like there's no hope. You're in constant pain, and there doesn't seem to be any sign of it going away. But don't worry!
Nerve pain is a treatable condition, and several treatment options are available to help manage it. The first step in treating nerve pain is to find a pain physician who specializes in treating nerve pain to determine what type of nerve pain you have.
It's important that you work with your doctor to find the cause of your nerve pain so that you can get proper treatment or management strategies that will give you relief from symptoms and allow you to live your life without limitations.
What are the options for nerve pain treatment?
Some nerve pain is caused by injuries, but most are not. And unfortunately, there are no quick fixes for nerve pain. The good news is that there are many treatments that can be used to control it. These include:
Injections of anesthetic into the affected nerve can be helpful for some people. However, this isn't a cure for neuropathy and usually only provides temporary relief.
This is an ancient Chinese treatment that uses thin needles inserted at specific points on the body to relieve pain and improve blood flow to the area. It's been proven effective in treating many conditions, including nerve pain from diabetes.
Acupuncture treatments are usually short and repeated over time. A few sessions may not help much, but if you stick with it for several months or more, you could see positive results. Some people find that acupuncture helps them cope with chronic pain better than medication alone does — and without side effects like drowsiness or dizziness.
Physical therapy focuses on improving your physical fitness through exercises or therapeutic massages. This approach can help strengthen muscles around injured nerves so they don't pinch them when they contract during movement — which is one way that neuropathy can occur.
Stretching exercises can help improve flexibility and may reduce nerve pain by increasing blood flow to the affected area. A physical therapist can show you how to do these exercises properly. Medical massage, provided by a licensed massage therapist, promotes healing and helps reduce stress, which can contribute to muscle tension or spasms that lead to more pain over time.
Will your nerve pain ever stop?
If you have nerve pain, you don't need to feel hopeless. It may take some time for your pain to decrease, but there are many things that you can do to help. Nerve pain is a tricky proposition: as a persistent condition, it requires an ongoing approach. Moreover, staying away from activities that aggravate your pain is vitally important.
Seek help from a medical professional and discuss your options while always keeping an eye on long-term relief. Many people report improvements over time; it's just a matter of finding the right treatment or combination of treatments for you. So don't give up! There is hope for a life beyond nerve pain. Our New York pain management specialists are here to help solve your nerve pain problems.