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blog header image showing nerves activating a caption reads the many faces of nerve pain

The Many Faces of Nerve Pain

Did you know that there are many different types of nerve pain? In fact, nerve pain can present in a variety of ways, making it difficult to diagnose. This is why it is important to see a specialist if you are experiencing any unusual or persistent symptoms. According to the health news website (National Institutes of Health), 16 million Americans suffer from neuropathic pain. If you are one of the millions of people who suffer from nerve pain, don’t despair! There are treatment options available that can help you manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

In this blog post, we will discuss everything about nerve pain including:

  • Types of nerve pain
  • Causes
  • Most common Symptoms
  • Prevention Tips and
  • Diagnosis & Treatment Options

If you are experiencing any type of nerve pain, it is important to see a specialist. There are many treatment options available that can help you manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Treatment options for nerve pain include medication, physical therapy, nerve blocks, nerve ablation, spinal stimulation, and surgery. At Advanced Pain Care, we help you get the right treatment and identify the underlying cause of the condition. Contact us today to schedule a same or next-day appointment.

Let’s understand the types of Nerve Pain first.

Types of Nerve Pain

There are two types of nerve pain. One type is paresthesia. Paresthesia is a tingling or prickling sensation that is often felt in the hands, feet, or arms. It can also be accompanied by numbness, burning, or itching. Paresthesia can be caused by a variety of factors, including diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, and nerve damage.

Another type of neuropathic pain is pinched nerve pain. This occurs when the nerves are compressed or “pinched” by surrounding tissues. Pinched nerve pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including herniated discs, bone spurs, and muscle strain.

Causes of Paresthesia Can Include

  • Trauma or fracture: A physical injury to the nerves can cause paresthesia or pain. This may occur from a direct blow to the nerve, or from an indirect injury, such as when a nerve is stretched or compressed. A fracture is a break in the bone, and if it damages a nerve, can lead to paresthesia.
  • Diabetes: Poorly controlled blood sugar levels can damage the nerves, resulting in nerve pain. This is called diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
  • Neurological conditions: Conditions that affect the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), such as multiple sclerosis, can cause nerve damage and paresthesia, causing nerve pain. We also see this in stroke, trauma, and some infections. 
  • Chemotherapy: Some chemotherapy drugs can damage the nerves.
  • Vitamin deficiencies: A lack of certain vitamins, especially B12 and thiamine, can cause nerve damage.
  • Back and neck injuries – Back and neck injuries are common causes of paresthesia and pain. The nerve damage that results from these injuries can lead to tingling, numbness, and pain.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome – Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a nerve disorder that can cause paresthesia or nerve pain. This condition develops when the median nerve, which runs from the shoulder to the hand, becomes compressed or irritated at the wrist. 
  • Degenerative disk damage – Degenerative disk disease (DDD) is a common condition that can cause nerve compression and pain. The disks between the vertebrae act as cushioning pads that absorb shock. When these disks start to break down and shrink, they can put pressure on the nerve roots, leading to pain, tingling, and numbness.
  • Fibromyalgia – Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that causes widespread muscle pain and fatigue. One of the symptoms of fibromyalgia is paresthesia, where pins-and-needles sensation affects any part of the body, but is most common in the hands and feet.
  • Migraines – Many people with migraines also experience paresthesia, which can feel like tingling, numbness, or burning in the face, scalp, or neck.
  • Multiple sclerosis – Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. One of the most common symptoms of MS is nerve pain, which can include sensations of tingling, numbness, and pins and needles.
  • Osteoporosis – Osteoporosis is a condition that affects the bones, making them weak and brittle. This can lead to paresthesia, as well as other nerve-related issues, such as nerve pain and nerve damage.
  • Restless leg syndrome – Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a nerve disorder that causes an uncontrollable urge to move the legs. This can lead to a variety of symptoms, including paresthesia.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis – Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that can cause nerve pain, tingling, and numbness. The nerve damage is usually due to the inflammation that is characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Infections – Some infections, such as shingles (caused by the chicken pox virus) can lead to chronic nerve pain. Shingles often leads to post herpetic neuralgia.

The Symptoms of Paresthesia Can Vary Depending on the Underlying Cause

They may include:

A sensation of pins and needles

The sensation of pins and needles is a common type of paresthesia. It is often described as a prickling or tingling sensation that is felt in the hands, feet, or arms. This sensation can be accompanied by numbness, burning, or itching.

A feeling of numbness

The feeling of numbness is another common type of paresthesia. This sensation is often described as a loss of sensation or feeling in the hands, feet, or arms. People with paresthesia may feel like they are wearing gloves or socks even when their hands and feet are bare. In addition to the sensation of pins and needles, this can be quite disabling and frustrating.

An aching or burning sensation

People with paresthesia may also experience a burning sensation. This sensation is usually described as a burning, prickling, or tingling feeling that is felt in the hands, feet, or arms.

A tingling sensation

People with paresthesia may experience a tingling sensation. This sensation is often described as a prickling or tingling sensation that is felt in the hands, feet, or arms.

Prickling or itching feeling

Another paresthesia symptom is a prickling or tingling feeling that can occur in any part of the body but is most commonly felt in the hands, feet, arms, or legs.

Hot or cold skin

Paresthesia can also cause you to experience hot or cold skin. This symptom can be quite alarming, as it can make the sufferer feel like they are having a fever or experiencing an ice-cold sensation.

Factors that Increase the Risk of Having a Pinched Nerve

Various factors increase your chances of experiencing a pinched nerve. Some factors responsible for neuropathic pain include the following.

  • Age: The older you are, the greater your risk.
  • Obesity: Excess weight puts pressure on the nerves.
  • Repetitive motions: Repeating similar motions over and over can put pressure on the nerves.
  • Pregnancy: The extra weight of pregnancy can put pressure on the nerves.
  • Gender: There is some evidence that paresthesia may be more common in women than men. This may be due to differences in nerve conduction and the ways in which nerve damage can occur.
  • Thyroid disease: Thyroid diseases increase the risk of paresthesia by affecting nerve function.
  • Diabetes: High blood sugar levels in diabetes causes nerve problems in your feet and legs. These problems can lead to diabetic neuropathy.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is a risk factor for paresthesia because it is a form of an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and pain in the joints. This can lead to nerve damage and paresthesia.
  • Prolonged bed rest: When a person is inactive, they are more likely to experience circulatory problems. This can cause blood flow to slow or stop in the extremities, leading to nerve damage and an increased risk of paresthesia.

Patient Outlook and Paresthesia Prevention Tips

Temporary paresthesia doesn’t take more than a few minutes to resolve. The intensity of chronic paresthesia and the duration of time it will last mainly depends on the cause. In many cases, the treatment of the underlying condition is enough to relieve pain. Patients with paresthesia often have a good outlook. The condition is usually not life-threatening, and most cases improve with treatment.

Tips to preventing paresthesia, including:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Taking breaks during repetitive activities
  • Wearing comfortable and supportive shoes
  • Using wrist splints at night to improve the compression of the nerves
  • Moving around if you generally sit for extended periods of time

Paresthesia Diagnosis & Treatment Options

Paresthesia is diagnosed based on a specific set of symptoms. A physical exam and a review of the medical history can help to rule out other conditions. In some cases, additional testing may be needed, such as:

  • Blood tests: To check for vitamin deficiencies or diabetes.
  • Nerve conduction studies: To measure the electrical activity of the nerves.
  • MRI: To check for nerve damage or compression.
  • Ultrasound: This test uses sound waves to create an image of the inside of the body. It can identify the cause of nerve pain.
  • Electromyography: EMG tests can help identify the cause of nerve damage and are used to diagnose conditions such as paresthesia.
    Treatment for paresthesia will depend on the underlying cause. In some cases, no treatment is necessary, and the symptoms will improve on their own. In other cases, treatment may be needed to relieve the symptoms. Treatment options can include:
  • Changing medications: If paresthesia is caused by a medication, switching to a different medication may help.
  • Vitamin supplements: If paresthesia is caused by a vitamin deficiency, taking vitamin supplements may help.
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be needed to treat pressure on the nerves.
  • Nerve blocks and nerve ablation: in selected cases can relieve pain.

Is Nerve Pain Ever A Good Thing?

Nerve pain is not always a bad thing. In some cases, it can be a warning sign that something is wrong. Neuropathic pain can also be a sign of an infection or other serious condition. If you have nerve pain, it is important to see a doctor so that the cause can be found and treated. untreated nerve pain can lead to serious problems, such as loss of sensation or paralysis.

If you are experiencing nerve pain, don’t hesitate to seek treatment. There are many options available that can help you manage symptoms and improve your quality of life. Contact Advanced Pain Care today to schedule a consultation with one of our pain management specialists. We can help you find a custom treatment plan that provides lasting pain relief.

Advanced Pain Care facilities are open in Greater Austin (512-244-4272), Amarillo (806-350-7918), and Killeen ( 254-741-6641). Our advanced surgical centers are open at Round Rock, Amarillo, and Austin. All of our facilities accept insurance from In-network Carriers, Behavioral Health Networks, and Worker’s Compensation Certified networks. Contact Advanced Pain Care today.

Spinal stimulation is the ultimate treatment to relieve chronic nerve pain due to nerve damage. Ask about this therapy today at Advanced Pain Care.