Is there anything I can do or take without seeing my doctor?
There are many things you can do to manage the symptoms of nerve pain, including stress management, meditation, and mild exercise. However, the most important step is to see your doctor and include him/her in your overall pain management program. Take time to understand your symptoms and describe them to your doctor, so that he/she will be able to clearly identify the pain that you are experiencing. Ask your doctor about medications currently available to treat nerve pain. There are no medicines you can get without a prescription that will be strong enough to effectively manage your pain.
Why am I experiencing nerve pain?
Nerve pain results from damaged nerves inside your body. You can think of your central nervous system as a series of electrical wires that connect your brain to the rest of your body, allowing both to communicate. An injured nerve is like a short-circuited wire in the central nervous system - it stops working properly and sends the wrong signals to the brain.
As a result, people feel uncomfortable and experience symptoms that they might describe as tingling or pins and needles or more painful symptoms like burning and stabbing. Nerve pain can be related to a number of medical conditions such as diabetes, shingles, cancer and its treatments, carpal tunnel syndrome, or a spinal injury.
What is the difference between nerve pain and muscle pain?
The tingling and burning sensations of nerve pain are very different from the soreness and aches you might feel from muscle pain. Muscle pain is caused by a physical injury, such as a fall, and disappears once the injury has healed. It can also be treated with many common pain medications, including medicine you buy over the counter.
On the other hand, nerve pain doesn't seem to be caused by any event or trauma and often results in a constant or recurring pain. Over-the-counter pain medicine isn't strong enough to make nerve pain go away.
Why do I feel pins and needles one minute and sharp stabbing pain the next?
There are a number of symptoms associated with nerve pain. A common symptom is often described as a burning, stabbing, or tingling pain. Nerve pain, if untreated, may get worse. Sometimes it starts with numbness and pins and needles and develops into stabbing and burning sensations. With time, nerve pain can spread up the legs from the feet or up the arms from the hands.
Is nerve pain a serious medical condition?
As a person experiencing pain, you have the right to have your condition taken seriously. Nerve pain is a medical condition that affects more than four million Americans. It is often under-diagnosed and many people go on living their lives in pain.
When not properly managed, pain can seem to take over your life. People often have problems concentrating during the day and sleeping at night. Even simple acts, like walking or putting on socks, are agonizing. People with nerve pain may become reclusive and isolated from other people.
What is neuropathic pain?
Neuropathic pain - otherwise known as nerve pain - is a type of chronic pain that occurs when nerves in the central nervous system become injured or damaged.
Can nerve pain affect my sleeping habits?
Yes. The intensity of nerve pain can often keep you awake at night. Some people experiencing pain even say that their bed sheets can provoke stabbing, numbing pain. Ask your doctor to prescribe a treatment that also helps to eliminate sleep disturbances. An effective treatment will allow you to sleep better and provide relief from exhaustion.
Do I need to see a specialist?
Your primary care physician will be able to address your needs. He/she will be able to tell you if you need further consultation or if medication can be prescribed. A medical specialist, such as a neurologist or pain specialist, may be able to help manage chronic pain more effectively should symptoms persist and your pain develop into a chronic condition.
How do I manage nerve pain?
Effectively managing nerve pain requires taking an active role in your health care and recovery process. Be open with your doctor about the pain you are experiencing and ask about ways to manage it, including medicines that specifically treat nerve pain. Also remember to relax and set realistic goals-sound pain management skills take time to develop.
Can nerve pain be cured?
There is no cure for the damaged nerves that cause nerve pain. But with an effective pain management program that might include exercise, stress management, and medicine, you can do something to relieve your pain. By getting actively involved you can reduce your sense of suffering and improve the quality of your life.