Neuropathy and Chronic Back Pain
As many as ten percent of the world’s population are currently suffering from neuropathic pain. Chronic neuropathic pain, sometimes referred to as peripheral neuropathy and peripheral neuritis, does not go away and usually gets worse as the disease progresses.
How Does Neuropathic Pain Develop?
Neuropathic pain is different than other forms of pain. For example, when a person breaks their bone, the nerves located at the site of the break carry pain signals to the brain. But with neuropathic pain, the pain signals begin in the nerves themselves.
In most cases, neuropathy is caused when there is a dysfunction in the way nerves respond to trauma or an injury. The nerves tend to cause hypersensitivity to pain and send faulty signals to the brain even when the injury or trauma has healed. Most injuries usually begin in the peripheral or central nervous system.
Back Pain May Result In Neuropathy
Any type of pain that compresses a nerve can lead to neuropathy. A herniated disc is a good example of a back injury resulting in neuropathy. Other forms of neuropathic pain that originate in the spine or back may include:
- Sciatica or chronic pain that radiates down the leg
- Cervical radiculopathy or chronic pain that runs down the arm
- Failed back surgery, or any pain that occurs after surgery and persists
Other forms of neuropathy may be caused by regional pain syndrome, diabetes, injections, injuries, disease, substance abuse or exposure to toxins. It should be noted that the cause of neuropathy is not always apparent.
Early Treatment Is Critical
When neuropathy pain is not addressed right away, it may get worse. Exposure to chronic pain may cause the central nervous system to become hypersensitive over time. This may result in central sensitization, or when even the slightest touch causes pain.
Neuropathy may also lead to other health problems, such as the inability to walk, difficulty sleeping, anxiety or depression, and social isolation.