Is there a cure for nerve pain?
Is there a cure for nerve pain?
Nerve or neuropathic pain is pain caused by diseases of the somatosensory nervous system such as HIV, diabetes, and shingles. Nerve pain affects about 10% of the population globally. Nerve pain can negatively affect the quality of a patient’s life. This condition may lead to anxiety, depression, and sleep abnormalities among other things. And that is without social media stresses!
People with nerve pain do not respond to traditional analgesics because they do not focus on treating neuropathic pain symptoms. The best way to control nerve pain is to visit a specialist. The specialist will provide a treatment option that works for you. The treatment options range from pain relief injections, oral medications, implants to regenerative therapies.
Read on to discover how to treat these painful nerve conditions.
- Antidepressants. Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) inhibit the body chemicals that send signals between nerves. Antidepressants have few side effects, and they are recommended for older patients or those that may experience adverse effects. However, caution must be taken for patients with known or suspected cardiac conditions. You should start TCAs at low doses of around 20mg per day. TCAs begin to show results after two to four weeks of usage. You should also take TCAs at bedtime because they have a drowsiness effect. Research shows that the effectiveness of TCAs in treating nerve pain is moderate.
- Opioid drugs. Specialists do not recommend opioid medications as first-line therapy because of concerns about misuse and diversions. A patient with a history of substance abuse should avoid these medications. The recommended agents include tramadol, tapentadol, oxycodone, and morphine. Tramadol inhibits norepinephrine and serotonin reuptake. Tapentadol is an acting opioid analgesic, and it inhibits noradrenaline reuptake. Their potential for abuse limits both of these medications, but their risk is lower than other opioids.
- Topical Therapies. Researchers recommend this treatment option as second or third-line therapies. Topical therapies include capsaicin, lidocaine, and botulinum toxin type A. Topical therapies are ideal for local nerve pain, such as postherpetic neuralgia. For older patients with differences in their drug distribution, this option may be considered first-line treatment. The benefits of topical therapies include lower systemic drug levels, fewer side effects, and fewer drug interactions. Capsaicin can reduce nerve pain for up to 12 weeks, but must be applied by a healthcare provider. Repeated application of capsaicin can lead to a long-lasting effect.
- Interventional Therapies. If medication does not relieve nerve pain, you can consider interventional therapies. Interventional therapies include transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, steroid injections, and sympathetic therapies. A specialist can also recommend spinal cord stimulation for patients who experience nerve pain for more than six months despite standard treatment.
- Non-pharmacological Treatment. Scientists consider this treatment option to be safe and effective in decreasing pain. The treatment requires the patient to reduce the use of medication to increase functionality. Non-pharmacological therapies can also improve the quality of life of the patients. Regular exercise can also help with muscle growth, functional ability, and fatigue. Psychotherapy is also a non-pharmacological treatment that can help patients with nerve pain. Cognitive-behavioral therapy uses methods that assess biases associated with pain and avoid negative thoughts. Other non-pharmacological therapies include supplements, physical and occupational therapies. Visit https://neuropathycure.org for more information about supplements for neuropathy.
- Combination treatments. Specialists recommend combination treatments to patients who have failed to show a response or only had a partial response to monotherapy. Using a lower dose of different classes of drugs can help reduce the effects seen with higher doses of monotherapy. For instance, a combination of gabapentin and an opioid proved to be superior to monotherapy. However, there is limited support for the effectiveness of combination treatments.
- Future Treatment. Scientists continue to look for new ways to treat nerve pain. Researchers have found new voltage-gated sodium channel blockers that are receptor-specific and may have fewer side effects. A type 2-receptor antagonist, EMA401, has focused on treating people with postherpetic neuralgia. Other medications that are under study include acetyl-L-carnitine and alpha-lipoic-acid.
A survey of stem cells also shows that adult stem cell therapy positively affects patients with nerve pain. Personalized pain therapy is another treatment that could be effective in treating nerve pain. Instead of using etiology, this approach categorizes patients by mechanisms responsible for nerve pain. The future treatment options of neuropathic pain may focus on genetics and subgrouping patients based on their phenotypes.
Living with neuropathic pain is very challenging. These treatment options can help you manage it but always speak to a doctor before trying any method. You should also educate yourself about neuropathic pain.