Many workers’ compensation clients have back pain. After a low back injury is healed, sometimes there remains chronic pain. Nerve pain, or neuropathy, is a common causes of chronic pain. Chronic pain can lead to depression and devastating effects on a person’s family, social lives and careers. Understanding the source of your pain is the first step to finding a solution.
Neuropathy is pain that results from damage to the nervous system. The damage could occur in the peripheral or the central nervous system.
The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord, while the peripheral nervous system is made up of the many smaller nerves that branch out from the spinal cord. A disc injury in the neck or back can result in peripheral neuropathy.
Even after the disc problem is solved, perhaps through surgery, chronic pain associated with neuropathy does not necessarily go away. The pain itself is the disease. In other words, instead of responding to an injury located in the disc, the nerves themselves malfunction and are the source of pain.
Symptoms caused by neuropathy are described as severe, sharp and shooting or deep and burning pain; or persistent numbness, tingling or weakness that travels into the arms, hands, legs or feet. Neuropathy can also be characterized by pain resulting from light touch or another stimulus that does not typically cause pain, as well as hypersensitivity to other stimuli.
With neuropathy, the first step is to understand that the treatment options are very different than for other types of back pain. Treatments could include certain medications, nerve block injections, and other interventions generally used for chronic pain.