Neuropathic pain is persistent nerve discomfort. It can be debilitating for those who suffer from it. Nearly 50 million Americans live with persistent discomfort that restricts their life in some way. Limited mobility at work affects productivity, costing billions every year. Loss of physical independence at home negatively impacts the quality of life. If mobility is lost, family members often become caregivers, adding another stress layer.
Numbness, tingling, or prickling in the hands and feet are often the first symptoms of neuropathy. Stabbing, throbbing, burning pains, and extreme sensitivity to touch are the symptoms that soon follow. It can create a sensation that everything hurts if nerves in multiple areas are affected.
How Is Neuropathic Pain Treated?
Treating neuropathic pain is challenging due to the diversity of underlying diseases and lesions that cause it. It can result from damage to the nervous system, neurological diseases, infectious diseases, metabolic disorders like diabetes, drugs, or heredity. Treating neuropathic pain requires diagnosing the underlying conditions first. Neuropathic pain can also have no known causes, which is exceedingly tortuous for the sufferer.
A responsible whole health approach to care can not ignore the psychological effects of living with chronic pain. Persistent pain can be disabling and impede self-reliance. Loss of self-reliance is the reason most cited for seeking medical help. Losing the ability to care for themselves can negatively impact mental health further for someone with neuropathy.
Can Stress Cause Neuropathic Pain?
Psychological Stress influences pain. Hormones that comprise the physiological response to Stress, such as corticosterone, may exacerbate neuropathic pain.
Prolonged, chronic stress alone cannot cause neuropathic pain but can affect the severity of the symptoms.
Research has shown that individuals under a constant state of stress experience a decline or damage of cognitive features to the brain and a reduced IQ. Prolonged stress creates a feedback loop of pain. The more pain the person experiences, the more stressed they become, resulting in more pain.
How Can Stress and Neuropathy Be Treated?
People with neuropathy can quickly develop depression or anxiety, requiring mental healthcare and physical therapy to break the cycle of stress and pain. Addressing psychological health and wellness can make treating physical pain more effective.
The best way to start is to have a medical team that does mental health screenings for people with neuropathy. Chronic pain is a risk factor for prolonged stress, which can negatively impact mental health. Medical professionals can refer patients to specialists that can determine if further treatment is required.
What Types of Treatment Are There?
Treatment for neuropathy often focuses on the underlying conditions. In mild cases, over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications can help, but prescription medicines, like opioids, are usually needed.
Lidocaine injections and patches may help with pain in other instances. Severe cases can require surgery to destroy nerves or repair injuries causing neuropathic pain and symptoms.
While ketamine is primarily an anesthetic used for surgical procedures, it can also treat many chronic pain and mental health conditions.
How Does Ketamine Treat Neuropathy?
With neuropathy, the changes in the central nervous system trigger the pain signals in your body. The pain is linked to the activation of one of the nerve cell receptors — the NMDA receptor. Ketamine blocks these receptors from firing, which decreases pain.
Traditional neuropathic pain treatments can take weeks or even months before getting symptom relief. Ketamine can provide relief from symptoms within days or even hours.
The Isolation of Neuropathic Pain
People that live with chronic pain can suffer greatly, physically and mentally. Knowing they are not alone is essential in creating a treatment plan. A support system of medical professionals, family, and friends is crucial to a whole health treatment approach.
The very first step to dealing with neuropathic discomfort is recognizing what underlying conditions could be responsible. From there, your healthcare provider will work with you to find ways to eliminate the constant discomfort and also boost your lifestyle. There is a myriad of means to treat the signs of neuropathic pain.
At Thrive Center for Health, we are proud to offer the latest mental health treatment options. In addition to high levels of safety standards and patient care, Thrive Center for Health utilizes ketamine infusion therapy to treat neuropathic pain and other chronic pain disorders.
If you or a loved one is struggling with neuropathic pain and other treatment methods have failed to provide relief, then ketamine may be a viable treatment option. Contact us today to learn more.