Neuropathic Pain

 

Neuropathic Pain is a complex, chronic pain state that usually is accompanied by tissue injury. With neuropathic pain, the nerve fibers themselves might be damaged, dysfunctional, or injured. These damaged nerve fibers send incorrect signals to other pain centers. The impact of a nerve fiber injury includes a change in nerve function both at the site of injury and areas around the injury. (ClevelandClinic.org)

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. If you or someone you care about has nerve pain, you know that it can erode quality of life.

Communication Tools

Where Does It Hurt? / Nerve Man

With this online tool you can learn about the different parts of the body where nerve pain can manifest.

iconOnline Tool
Opioid Induced Constipation Conversation Guide

Having to live with chronic pain is difficult enough without the added burden of opioid induced constipation. This ACPA tool will help you to have a meaningful conversation with your health care provider.

iconOpioid Constipation Conversation Guide
ACPA MedCard PDF

A medication and allergy card that easily fits in your wallet or purse.

iconPrintable Tool (PDF)
Pain Log

The Pain Log can help you track the everyday things that have an impact on your pain.
Pain  Log - Spanish version PDF

iconOnline Tool
Fibro Pain Map

This interactive tool can help you with pain management goals by helping you create a picture of your pain that you can share with your health care provider when you visit.

iconOnline Tool
Follow-Up From Your Visit

The ACPA Follow-Up tool provides you with this simple guide to ensure that you complete all the treatments/advice/recommendations.

iconPrintable Tool (PDF)
DPN Pain Map

DPN person lets you create a detailed picture of your pain, where it is, how it feels, and how much it hurts. This graphic representation provides a lot of important information in an easy to understand and accurate way.

iconOnline Tool
Ability Chart

This tool will help you to identify the areas where you struggle and how much trouble you have with each of them.

iconAbility Chart - Arthritis version (PDF)
Quality of Life Scale

The Quality of Life scale is provided in two formats, graphical and text. We invite you to explore both formats to see which one might better help you to communicate with your health care provider as well as family and friends.

iconGraphical Format PDF
iconText Format PDF
CARE Card

This graphical tool will help you to understand how your medication should be taken, what things you should avoid while taking it as well as possible side effects.

iconPrintable Tool (PDF)
Prepare For Your First Visit PDF

Fill out this helpful summary before your next visit.

iconPrintable Tool (PDF)
Daily Activity Checklist PDF

This checklist can help you to see where you are having difficulties with everyday activities.

iconDaily Activity Checklist
Fibro Log

The Fibro Log can help you track the everyday things that have an impact on your pain.

iconOnline Tool
iconPrintable Tool (PDF)
Where Does It Hurt? / Nerve Man

With this online tool you can learn about the different parts of the body where nerve pain can manifest.

iconOnline Tool
Opioid Induced Constipation Conversation Guide

Having to live with chronic pain is difficult enough without the added burden of opioid induced constipation. This ACPA tool will help you to have a meaningful conversation with your health care provider.

iconOpioid Constipation Conversation Guide
Pain Log

The Pain Log can help you track the everyday things that have an impact on your pain.
Pain  Log - Spanish version PDF

iconOnline Tool
Quality of Life Scale

The Quality of Life scale is provided in two formats, graphical and text. We invite you to explore both formats to see which one might better help you to communicate with your health care provider as well as family and friends.

iconGraphical Format PDF
iconText Format PDF
Daily Activity Checklist PDF

This checklist can help you to see where you are having difficulties with everyday activities.

iconDaily Activity Checklist
ACPA MedCard PDF

A medication and allergy card that easily fits in your wallet or purse.

iconPrintable Tool (PDF)
CARE Card

This graphical tool will help you to understand how your medication should be taken, what things you should avoid while taking it as well as possible side effects.

iconPrintable Tool (PDF)
Prepare For Your First Visit PDF

Fill out this helpful summary before your next visit.

iconPrintable Tool (PDF)
Follow-Up From Your Visit

The ACPA Follow-Up tool provides you with this simple guide to ensure that you complete all the treatments/advice/recommendations.

iconPrintable Tool (PDF)

Videos

Opioid Induced Constipation

Having to live with chronic pain is difficult enough without the added burden of opioid induced constipation. This ACPA video will help you to have a meaningful conversation with your health care provider. 

A Car With Four Flat Tires

A person with pain is like a car with four flat tires. 

Pain Matters

This Discovery Channel documentary explores what chronic pain is, its individual and societal impact, and the future of pain management through the stories and struggles of six individuals living with chronic pain.

Using NSAIDs Safely and Effectively

The only safe way to use NSAIDs is to take the lowest effective dose for the shortest period of time.

Implantable Medical Devices

This video covers what you need to know about medication pumps and neurostimulators.

Veterans In Pain: Learning to Live With the Pain

Many of our veterans are returning home with life-changing injuries. Chronic pain is one of the major obstacles to returning to a full life.

Opioid Safety: Public Service Announcement

Opioid Safety: Public Service Announcement

Using Opioids Safely

If you use opioids to help manage your pain, it's important to take them, store them, and dispose of them properly. Watch this video to learn more.

Consumer Guide to Pain Medication and Treatment

If you have chronic pain, it’s important to be an active part of your treatment team. Understanding the medications and other treatments you may be offered is important. This video guide contains information about medications, devices, treatments and procedures; including safety information for storing and disposing of your medication.

Relaxation Guide

Tension increases pain. This five-minute relaxation exercise can help you let go of physical stress and begin to reduce your sense of suffering. If you enjoy this short relaxation experience, you may want to send for the longer audio version, available in our on-line store.

What Is Chronic Pain?

If you live with chronic pain, you know that chronic pain is different. Ed Covington, MD, director of the Cleveland Clinic Pain Management Program, explains some of the physiology of pain.

Meet Penney Cowan

Our founder talks about how the ACPA can support you.

What ACPA Groups Offer

Hear members' thoughts about the value of the kind of peer support offered by ACPA groups.

Is There Life With Pain?

Hear how some people with pain see their lives now.

AgrAbility:Growing Well With Pain

Penney Cowan talks about chronic pain and pain management with farmers and ranchers.

Welcome to the ACPA

Since 1980 we have been providing peer support and teaching coping skills to people with pain and their families.

Related Resources

AfterShingles.com
http://www.aftershingles.com/

AfterShingles.com is an educational resource offering tools and information to help educate consumers about shingles and postherpetic neuralgia...

Peripheral Neuropathy
http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/peripheralneuropathy/peripheralneuropathy.htm

Peripheral neuropathy describes damage to the peripheral nervous system, which transmits information from the brain and spinal cord to every other...

Tips

Tip:

These tips are designed to help you understand the importance of regular check-ups and establishing open communication with your health care provider.

Some points you might want to think about:

  • Establish a baseline (a time when you are well and feeling good) so that the health care provider will understand when you tell them how you are feeling at the time of a visit.
  • You have the right to make another choice in health care providers if you do not like your treatment team
  • Your medical records belong to you and you have a right to take them if you change doctors
  • Find a new health care provider within the first three months if you move so that you can establish your baseline
  • New symptoms do not necessarily mean that your pain problems has progressed
  • Don't neglect your eyes and dental needs
  • "Flair ups" don't mean that you're failing at pain management

 

Understand Your Medications
 If you are given a prescription, it's important that you take it as directed. If you worry about remembering your doctor's or pharmacist's instructions, take along a copy of the ACPA Pharmacists CARE sheet and ask your provider to complete it with you. It's available at the link below.  

Click here to download the Care Card

 

Maintaining a Good Relationship with Your Doctor

 Before you go to the doctor, write down exactly what you think is wrong. Also include the following:

  • list only the new symptoms
  • include over the counter medicines taken
  • methods of relief tried, i.e. heat, message, exercise
  • changes in your daily level of functioning
  • changes in mood, appetite and s leep
  •

questions you have

The following form can help to prepare for a visit to the doctor.

Doctor Visit Fact Sheet

 Complete the following documents and take then to your doctor visit.
Click here to download the Doctor Visit Fact sheet in PDF format.
Click here to download the ACPA Quality of Life Scale in PDF format.

Here are a few things to keep in mind during a visit to your doctor:

  • Restate instructions the doctor gave you to ensure that you understood.
  • If you don't understand what he or she is saying, you have the right to ask for clarification.
  • Don't discuss what others have told you or thought might be wrong with you. Your doctor is familiar with your case history; allow him or her to make the diagnosis.
  • Before leaving the doctor's office, check your understanding by quickly summarizing what you've been told.
  •

If you are not sure about the recommendations of your doctor, get a second opinion, especially before having surgery.

It is important to understand that there won't always be an answer to your health care questions. Medicine is not an exact science. There are many things that doctors know. However, there are many things they still don't know. Health care research is ongoing. Just because current research may not explain the reason for your pain does not mean that you pain is not real. You feel the pain and, therefore, it is real to you and must be taken seriously. Following these guidelines will enable you to make the most of your visit with your doctor. You will have a clearer understanding of what you need to do to stay involved in your own recovery.

 

Having a productive conversation with your healt care provider:

1. Take charge of the conversation from the beginning.
2. Prepare a list of questions that you need to have answered.
3. State your concerns and the reason for the visit immediately.
4. If you need something from the doctor, tell him; don't wait for him to guess what you want.
5. State your main concern up front and briefly then if necessary, give the details.
6. Believe in yourself and what you are saying, don't stumble over words.
7. Don't be afraid to ask questions about what you do not understand. You are paying the doctor for her expertise.

 

Finding a Doctor

There are physicians who are specially trained and board-certified for dealing with ongoing pain problems. If you want to talk to a specialist, you can find a list of those in your area on the American Board of Pain Medicine web site. Click on the menu item titled, "List of Diplomates."

American Board of Pain Management

You also can learn more about selecting a physician at:

The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

The American Board of Medical Specialties

Important:

This information should not be used as a substitute for necessary consultations with a qualified health care professional to meet your individual needs. Always consult a medically trained professional with questions and concerns you have regarding your medical condition.

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Development of this new ACPA web site was made possible through an unrestricted educational grant from Medtronic Foundation and Purdue Pharma.

Medtronic Foundation and Purdue have no influence on the editorial content of the site. Ongoing funding also comes from memberships/donations from a range of individual contributors.

Last Updated: 10/30/2014
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