We have been talking about pain the last few weeks. There are different types of pain and you can read our first two blogs here. Our final post (for now!) talks about neuropathy and physical therapy. Neuropathy is one of the most challenging types of pain to manage. There are many challenges posed by this type of ongoing discomfort. These challenges go beyond the pain itself and include attempts to address it at its source. The source is often difficult to determine. Sometimes a brain injury or spinal cord injury is the cause. Damage to nerves from illness or accident can also be a factor.
Neuropathy is defined as pain that is generated from “injury to sensory or motor nerves in the the peripheral nervous system.” It is usually chronic, in terms of its persistence. It is, however, described as feeling different than musculoskeletal pain. Sufferers use these words to define it: severe, sharp, stabbing, burning, cold. It might also occur with ongoing numbness, tingling and weakness.
Neuropathy has another dark side. Opioids and NSAIDS are generally not very effective. These drugs also come with a variety of unpleasant side effects. So not only is this type of pain poorly handled by these drugs, they pose complications of their own.
So what is a person with neuropathic pain to do? In addition to working with a qualified physician, a physical therapist can help.
Physical therapists have a lot of options and tools.
Specific exercises to help make the person stronger can make a difference over time. Techniques to improve movement without pain help lessen pain. Targeted light exercises and stretching can also provide improved function and reduced pain. Manual therapy and therapeutic massage might be prescribed. Electrical stimulation might be an appropriate treatment for painful muscle spasms. Neuropathic pain, especially when chronic, can be a major challenge. Physical therapy can help a person cope and feel stronger. We can help you.