Updated: May 30
It's nerve pain like you've never experienced before, you say to yourself. The kind of nerve pain that makes it incredibly difficult to go about your day in New York. It might even scare you because it reminds you that you're not as young as you used to be. Or maybe you've felt this kind of nerve pain before. But you don't know what and where and can't seem to pin down the why. Either way, if you're experiencing nerve pain, it's like the first time, and it's not a fun experience at all.
It's not always easy to talk about nerve pain. Maybe you're embarrassed. Perhaps it's a sensitive topic for you or the people around you — regardless, it's time we talked openly about this health condition that affects many of us. It's time to recover from pain with some understanding, support, and information about nerve pain and New York pain management.
What are nerves?
Nerves are specialized cells that carry information from the body to the brain. They also allow the brain to send signals to specific parts of the body. Nerves or peripheral nervous systems are found throughout the body in bundles. They are made up of many different cells that perform different functions. For example, they differ from other types of tissues because they can conduct electricity without becoming damaged. This makes them useful for sending electrical signals between different parts of your body. In addition to carrying electrical signals, nerves also carry chemicals called neurotransmitters that help relay messages between nerve cells in your body's central nervous system (CNS). The CNS includes your brain and spinal cord.
But nerves can get damaged when they're stretched too far or compressed against a bone or another structure in the body. When the nerves get damaged, they can no longer send information to the brain and can cause a wide range of problems.
What is nerve pain?
When you have nerve pain, it means there's something wrong with one of those wires. It could be that the wire is damaged or compressed, or it could be that something else has happened to interfere and cause a malfunction. Nerve pain can occur when nerve fibers become inflamed, compressed, or injured as they exit the spinal cord (peripheral nerves) or in their pathway through the body (central nerves). It can affect any part of the body, but it most often affects fingers and toes due to their exposure to cold weather or water. Nerve pain may feel like burning, tingling, shooting pain, or muscle weakness. It usually affects one or more nerves at a time. The pain can range from mild to severe and may vary in intensity. You might feel it all over your body, or it may be focused in one area. Nerve pain can make it hard to do everyday tasks like work, sleep, and exercise. It can also have serious effects on your mood and life satisfaction.
Nerve damage may occur as a result of diabetes, poor circulation, or nerve compression. In addition, nerves are susceptible to injury from overuse, repetitive motion injuries, infections, and toxic substances, which can damage both peripheral and central nerves. Nerve pain is also called neuropathic pain and is a type of chronic pain.
What is neuropathy?
Neuropathy is a peripheral nervous system disease (PNS) — the nerves outside your brain and spinal cord. The PNS includes all your nerves outside your head and upper body. Including those in your arms, legs, hands, and feet. The PNS helps transmit information between your brain and the rest of your body to control movement and sensations like touch, heat, and cold. Neuropathy may occur in any part of the PNS but most often affects arms, hands, or feet.
Neuropathy is a general term for any disorder that affects your nerves. For example, nerves in your arms, legs, and torso can become damaged as a result of diabetes or other conditions that cause poor blood flow to the extremities (peripheral neuropathy). Nerves in your head and neck — called cranial nerves — can also be affected by disease processes such as multiple sclerosis or stroke.
It causes problems with sensation (touch), movement (muscle control), or both sensation and movement. In addition, it can cause numbness or tingle in parts of the body that are not normally numb or tingling. This numbness may be painful or non-painful, depending on its cause.
Symptoms of neuropathy include:
Pain that is worse at night or when resting
Tingling, numbness, and/or burning sensations in the hands and feet
Numbness in the arms or legs that spreads to other areas
Pain that travels up the arms and legs (sciatica)
Weakness, muscle wasting, and loss of coordination (peripheral nerve damage)
Constant pain in your chest, back, and abdomen (neuropathic chest pain)
Loss of feeling in your hands and feet
It may be temporary or permanent. In some cases, it gets better on its own once the cause of nerve damage is treated or controlled. But in others, it may be permanent. So when you start experiencing nerve pain, it's important to see a pain management specialist right away to avoid it from worsening.
What causes nerve pain?
Nerve pain can be caused by a problem with the nerves themselves or the structures around them. Some of the most common include:
Diabetes. Diabetes affects the blood vessels in your feet and legs and can cause nerve damage. Some people with diabetes have some type of nerve damage. If you have diabetes, you should be checked for nerve damage every year by your doctor.
Trauma. Trauma or injury may cause swelling, bruising, or bleeding along a nerve. The result is compression of a nerve which can lead to abnormal sensations such as tingling or numbness as well as muscle weakness or paralysis, depending on where it occurs in your body.
Alcoholism. Alcohol and other substance abuse problems also can lead to nerve damage caused by alcohol withdrawal symptoms (delirium tremens) or chronic use of alcohol or drugs (chronic alcoholism).
Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac disease, scleroderma, and Sjogren's syndrome can cause neuropathy. Autoimmune disorders occur when your immune system attacks healthy tissue in your body by mistake; in these conditions, antibodies attack cells in your nervous system, causing inflammation that damages nerve fibers within the spinal cord and brain stem; this inflammation causes symptoms such as pain.
Nerve compression. This type of neuropathy occurs when a nerve is compressed by surrounding tissue. For example, carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve in your wrist becomes compressed as it passes through a narrow passageway in the wrist called the carpal tunnel.
Tumors. Tumors can also affect the function of nerves, sometimes causing pain and sensory loss.
Infections or inflammation. Conditions such as Lyme disease and shingles can cause painful inflammation of the nerves. Inflammation may also be caused by an autoimmune disease (when your immune system attacks healthy cells), food poisoning, or even physical injury from an accident or surgery.
What resources are available to me in Manhattan for pain management?
There are several treatments available for people suffering from nerve pain. Alternative pain management therapies such as acupuncture or massage may provide relief from nerve pain without the risk of addiction or other side effects.
The first step is to contact a certified pain management provider. A pain management doctor or specialist may be able to offer some suggestions for treatment options and help you find the answers you need.
A pain management clinic is a specialized medical center that provides a wide range of treatments for chronic pain conditions, including neuropathy. The staff at these clinics usually includes doctors and other healthcare professionals who treat patients with complex pain problems.
Pain management clinic staff can help you manage your symptoms by providing education about your condition, teaching relaxation techniques, and offering counseling on how to deal with stress in your life. They can also prescribe medications that may help ease your symptoms.
Most of all, remember that there is nothing to be embarrassed about when it comes to back pain. A lot of people in NYC suffered from some kind of pain and dealt with it at some point in their life. You're not alone. Never hesitate to talk about your pain and ask for help if you need it.
If you think you have neuropathy and your symptoms aren't getting better, it's important to talk to a pain management specialist in NYC about how you're feeling and discuss your treatment options. Together, you can figure out what's going on and come up with a treatment plan that works for you. And if you find the right combination of treatments to manage the symptoms, your life will change for the better. Call our clinic today to learn more about our New York pain management services.