How to control nerve pain

Pain plays an important role in your health. If you step on a tack, you will feel pain in the sole of your foot, warning your body to pull away from the danger. If you experience pain when there is no cause, or don’t experience pain when you should, it means that your nerves have been damaged.

Nerve pain can feel like a prickling, tingling, burning or even a stabbing pain. It can be different between individuals, and generally worsens over time. It often starts in your hands and feet, which are furthest from the nerve centres in your brain and spinal cord.

It may be triggered by a number of things. For some people certain body positions such as sitting or lying down may trigger nerve pain. For others, even having a sheet resting on them at night is excruciating. 

Nerve pain may also cause a lack of feeling, usually beginning in the fingers or toes. This loss of sensation can make everyday tasks such as typing or holding a cup of tea more difficult.

Nerve damage can also increase your risk of falls as it may impair your sense of balance. The use of a cane, brace or walker may help to lower the risk of falls associated with nerve pain.

Nerve damage can prevent you from feeling certain injuries, which my worsen or become infected if left untreated. If you think you may be experiencing nerve pain or a loss of sensation, check your body for injuries regularly, especially the soles of your feet.

Nerve pain may be linked to conditions such as cancer, shingles and diabetes, or may have no known cause. Some of these causes may be treatable, meaning you may be able to slow or stop the worsening of nerve pain with medical assistance. If you suspect you may be experiencing nerve pain, or a loss of sensitivity, consult your doctor. WebMD recommends you prepare to answer these questions, as they will help your doctor determine the cause and treatment of your nerve damage. What does your pain feel like? How long have you been experiencing it for? How does it affect you?

Doctors may recommend over-the-counter painkillers including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. Medications originally used for treating epilepsy and depression or other prescription medicines may also be used to relieve nerve pain. Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, oils or painkilling creams can also assist in treatment.

Have you experienced nerve pain? Have you resolved the problem?

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Health disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.

Written by Liv Gardiner

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