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Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal Neuralgia
Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition characterized by pain coming from the trigeminal nerve, which affects the face — most commonly one side of the jaw or cheek.
The pain of trigeminal neuralgia is unlike facial pain caused by other problems. It is often described as stabbing, lancinating or electrical in sensation and so severe that the affected person cannot eat or drink.
Trigeminal neuralgia is sometimes known as tic douloureux, which means “painful tic.”

What You Need to Know
Trigeminal neuralgia most frequently affects people older than 50, and the condition is more common in women than men.
Trigeminal neuralgia is the most common cause of facial pain and is diagnosed in approximately 15,000 people per year in the United States.
Trigeminal neuralgia pain is exceptionally severe. Although the condition is not life-threatening, the intensity of the pain can be debilitating.
Trigeminal neuralgia relief is possible: Medical and surgical treatments can bring the pain under control, especially when managed by an expert physician and surgeon.
Causes of Trigeminal Neuralgia
Trigeminal neuralgia may be caused by a blood vessel pressing against the trigeminal nerve. Over time, the pulse of an artery rubbing against the nerve can wear away the insulation, which is called myelin, leaving the nerve exposed and highly sensitive.
These symptoms can be similar to those caused by dental problems, and sometimes people with undiagnosed trigeminal neuralgia explore multiple dental procedures in an effort to control the pain.
Multiple sclerosis or rarely a tumor can cause trigeminal neuralgia. Researchers are exploring whether or not postherpetic neuralgia (caused by shingles) can be related to this condition.

Trigeminal Neuralgia Symptoms
Episodes of sharp, stabbing pain in the cheek or jaw that may feel like an electric shock
Pain episodes that may be triggered by anything touching the face or teeth, including shaving, applying makeup, brushing teeth, eating, drinking or talking — or even a light breeze
Periods of relief between episodes
Anxiety from the thought of the pain returning
A flare-up of trigeminal neuralgia may begin with tingling or numbness in the face. Pain occurs in intermittent bursts that last anywhere from a few seconds to two minutes, becoming more and more frequent until the pain is almost continuous.
Flare-ups may continue for a few weeks or months followed by a pain-free period that can last a year or more.
Trigeminal Neuralgia Diagnosis
Diagnosing trigeminal neuralgia involves a physical exam and a detailed medical history to rule out other causes of facial pain. The health care provider will ask what the pain is like, what seems to set it off and what makes it feel better or worse.
The provider may recommend imaging or laboratory tests to determine if the pain is caused by a tumor or blood vessel abnormality or by undiagnosed multiple sclerosis. Certain advanced MRI techniques may help the doctor see where a blood vessel is pressing against a branch of the trigeminal nerve.
Treatment for Trigeminal Neuralgia
Most common over-the-counter and prescription pain medicines don’t work for people with trigeminal neuralgia, but many modern treatments can reduce or eliminate the pain. The doctor may recommend one or more of these approaches:
Medications: Seizure drugs like carbamazepine, gabapentin or other agents can be helpful. It is important to work closely with a neurologist or primary care provider to monitor dosages and side effects.
Surgery: Several procedures can often help bring trigeminal neuralgia pain under control.
Rhizotomy
There are several kinds of rhizotomies, which are all outpatient procedures performed under general anesthesia in the operating room. The surgeon inserts a long needle through the cheek on the affected side and uses an electrical current or a chemical to deaden the pain fibers of the trigeminal nerve.
Stereotactic Radiosurgery
Stereotactic radiosurgery, sometimes known as CyberKnife treatment, is another outpatient procedure that involves a very concentrated and precise beam of radiation that is directed at the trigeminal nerve to relieve the pain.
Microvascular Decompression (MVD) Surgery
This procedure is currently regarded as the most long-lasting treatment for trigeminal neuralgia and may be suitable for people in good health who can tolerate surgery and general anesthesia and whose lifestyles can accommodate a recovery period of four to six weeks.
The surgeon makes an incision behind the ear and removes a small piece of the skull to gain access to the nerve and blood vessels. Then, the surgeon places a cushion of insulation around the blood vessel so it no longer compresses or rubs against the nerve.
In about one third of people treated with MVD surgeries, trigeminal neuralgia pain returns, possibly due to the blood vessels growing back. The doctor will help individuals with recurring pain choose other options or may recommend repeating procedures.
Managing Trigeminal Neuralgia
Although not fatal, trigeminal neuralgia pain and the anxiety it causes can erode a person’s quality of life. It is essential to work closely with experienced and compassionate health care providers who can help find the best therapeutic approach for each individual.
The surgery for trigeminal neuralgia is delicate and precise since the involved area is very small. Look for experienced neurosurgeons who see and treat a large number of people with trigeminal neuralgia.

 

Article Provided By: hopkinsmedicine
Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SCIf you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com

 

 

 

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Why Is Neuropathy Worse at Night?

January 3, 2020 / Brain & Spine
Why Is Neuropathy Worse at Night?
Reasons why nerve pain is more painful at night
Peripheral neuropathy is when a nerve or group of nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord is injured or dysfunctions. It could be because of an injury to a single nerve, like carpal tunnel syndrome, or because a group of nerves have become defective, like with peripheral neuropathy of the feet.
“Across the board we know that neuropathy can cause pain depending on what type of nerves are involved,” says neurologist Benjamin Claytor, MD. “When people describe worsening symptoms at night they’re describing discomfort – pins and needles, tingling and burning pain.”
Here Dr. Claytor discusses what might be causing this nightly pain and how to find relief.
Distraction
Our attention level can influence how we perceive pain. So during the day when we’re at work or taking care of the kids – we’re distracted and busy. Although there hasn’t been much research around it, the idea is that we aren’t focusing on the pain during the day because we’re busy, we pay less attention to it and perceive less pain.
“Many patients will tell me that after they get home from work, have dinner and sit down to watch TV for the night that their pain flares up,” says Dr. Claytor. “This could be because the daytime distractions are now gone and you’re starting to unwind for the night.”
Temperature and sleep
Another thought behind nightly neuropathy has to do with temperature. At night our body temperature fluctuates and goes down a bit. Most people tend to sleep in a cooler room as well. The thought is that damaged nerves might interpret the temperature change as pain or tingling, which can heighten the sense of neuropathy.
Also consider poor sleep quality. If you’re not sleeping very well to begin with, either due to poor sleep habits or sleep related disorders, this could lead to increased pain perception.
Emotions and stress
Our emotional state can also influence how we perceive pain. Stress and anxiety can feed in to and amplify pain signaling. Living in a chronic state of stress wreaks havoc on your physical and mental health.
Medication
Sometimes medication dosing and timing might need to be adjusted, which could be particularly true for some short acting medications used for neuropathy pain.
How to stop neuropathy pain at night
“There are options we can explore if your neuropathy pain seems to be worsening at night,” explains Dr. Claytor. “There might be oral or topical medications we can prescribe, or maybe it’s getting your stress under control and being more mindful.”
Cognitive behavioral therapy, physical therapy and meditation may be complementary tools to reduce pain as well.
Dr. Claytor stresses the importance of talking to your doctor sooner rather than later. Often time’s people will wait so long to see their physician that there’s permanent nerve damage that might have been avoided.
“I think one of the most important things I can discuss with a patient who comes in with neuropathy pain at night is getting to the root cause of what is actually driving it,” says Dr. Claytor. “Depending on what the underlying cause is, treating that first and foremost can usually help reduce the pain overall – especially at night.”

 

Article Provided By: health.clevelandclinic
Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SCIf you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com

 

 

 

 

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Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic Pain

What is neuropathic pain?
Neuropathic pain can result after damage or dysfunction of the nervous system. Pain can rise from any level of the nervous system. These levels are the peripheral nerves, spinal cord, and brain. Pain centers receive the wrong signals from the damaged nerve fibers. Nerve function may change at the site of the nerve damage, as well as areas in the central nervous system (central sensitization).
Neuropathy is a disturbance of function or a change in one or several nerves. About 30% of neuropathy cases is caused by diabetes. It is not always easy to tell the source of the neuropathic pain. There are hundreds of diseases that are linked to this kind of pain.
What are some of the sources of neuropathic pain?
Alcoholism
Amputation (results in phantom pain)
Chemotherapy drugs (Cisplatin®, Paclitaxel®, Vincristine®, etc.)
Radiation therapy
Complex regional pain syndrome
Diabetes
Facial nerve problems
HIV infection or AIDS
Shingles
Spinal nerve compression or inflammation
Trauma or surgeries with resulting nerve damage
Nerve compression or infiltration by tumors
Central nervous system disorders (stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, etc.)
What are the symptoms of neuropathic pain?
Many symptoms may be present in the case of neuropathic pain. These symptoms include:
Spontaneous pain (pain that comes without stimulation): Shooting, burning, stabbing, or electric shock-like pain; tingling, numbness, or a “pins and needles” feeling
Evoked pain: Pain brought on by normally non-painful stimuli such as cold, gentle brushing against the skin, pressure, etc. This is called allodynia. Evoked pain also may mean the increase of pain by normally painful stimuli such as pinpricks and heat. This type of pain is called hyperalgesia.
An unpleasant, abnormal sensation whether spontaneous or evoked (dysesthesia)
Trouble sleeping
Emotional problems due to disturbed sleep and pain
Pain that may be lessened in response to a normally painful stimulus (hypoalgesia)
Diagnosis and Tests
How is neuropathic pain diagnosed?
Your doctor will take a medical history and do a physical exam. Neuropathic pain is suggested by its typical symptoms when nerve injury is known or suspected. Your doctor will then try to find the underlying cause of the neuropathy and then trace the symptoms.
Management and Treatment
How is neuropathic pain treated?
The goals of treatment are to:
Treat the underlying disease (for example, radiation or surgery to shrink a tumor that is pressing on a nerve)
Provide pain relief
Maintain functionality
Improve quality of life
Multimodal therapy (including medicines, physical therapy, psychological treatment, and sometimes surgery) is usually required to treat neuropathic pain.
Medicines commonly prescribed for neuropathic pain include anti-seizure drugs such as Neurontin®, Lyrica®, Topamax®, Tegretol®, and Lamictal®. Doctors also prescribe antidepressants such as Elavil®, Pamelor®, Effexor®, and Cymbalta®. A doctor’s prescription for anti-seizure drugs or antidepressants does not mean you have seizures or are depressed.
A topical patch (Lidocaine® or Capsaicin®) or a cream or ointment can be used on the painful area. Opioid analgesics can provide some relief. However, they generally are less effective in treating neuropathic pain. Negative effects may prevent their long-term use.
The pain can also be treated with nerve blocks given by pain specialists, including injections of steroids, local anesthetics, or other medicines into the affected nerves.
Neuropathic pain that has not responded to the therapies mentioned above can be treated with spinal cord stimulation, peripheral nerve stimulation, and brain stimulation.
Outlook / Prognosis
What is the outlook for people with neuropathic pain?
Neuropathic pain is difficult to get rid of, but is not life-threatening. Without rehabilitation and sometimes psychosocial support, treatment has a limited chance of success. With help from a pain specialist using the multimodal approaches listed above, your neuropathic pain can be managed to a level that improves your quality of life.
© Copyright 1995-2020 The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. All rights reserved.

Article Provided By: clevelandclinic
Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SCIf you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com

 

 

 

 

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Pudendal Neuralgia

What Is Pudendal Neuralgia?
Pudendal neuralgia is a condition that causes pain, discomfort, or numbness in your pelvis or genitals. It happens when a major nerve in the lower body is damaged or irritated, and it can make it hard to use the bathroom, have sex, or sit down. The pain comes and goes.
It’s not clear exactly how many people have this condition, but experts believe it’s rare.
The pudendal nerve runs from the back of the pelvis to near the base of your penis or vagina, where it branches off into other nerves.
It sends messages to the brain from your genitals, anus, and other nearby body parts. It controls the sphincter muscles that open and close when you use the bathroom.
Causes
There are several things that can damage your pudendal nerve.
It can happen when you’re injured, have surgery, or give birth. A tumor or an infection can squeeze or irritate it. And sometimes, certain types of exercise, like spending a lot of time on a bicycle, can cause the problem.
Symptoms
You usually feel pudendal neuralgia symptoms in your lower body, genitals, or perineum (the area between your genitals and anus). These may include:

A sharp or burning pain
More sensitivity
Numbness or a pins-and-needles feeling, like when your leg falls asleep
A swollen feeling
These feelings might be worse when you sit down. Or you may have symptoms on both sides of your body, and they might go into your belly, buttocks, or legs.
You also may have problems such as:
A sudden or frequent need to go to the bathroom
Trouble or pain during sex
For men, problems getting an erection

Diagnosis
If you have pelvic pain, tell your doctor. At your appointment, you’ll answer questions about your symptoms and get a physical examination. Your doctor will put a finger into your vagina or rectum and put pressure on the nerve to check on it.
You might also get an imaging test with an MRI machine. It uses powerful magnets and radio waves to take a picture of your body’s internal organs.
Your doctor may also give you a pudendal nerve block. This is a shot you get in your pelvis to numb the nerve and see if your symptoms go away.
Treatment
Most people with pudendal neuralgia get treatment with a combination of physical therapy, lifestyle changes, and medicines.
Sit up straight or stand more often to help with nerve pain. This can take pressure off the pudendal nerve.
Don’t do squats or cycle. Certain exercises can make pudendal neuralgia worse.
Go for physical therapy. It relaxes and stretches the muscles at the lower end of your pelvis, known as the pelvic floor. This can ease pressure that may irritate the pudendal nerve. If pudendal neuralgia makes it hard to control your bladder or bowels, physical therapy can help with that, too.
Try prescription medication. Muscle relaxants may help relieve symptoms of pudendal neuralgia. Drugs used to treat other conditions, like depression or epilepsy, might also help.
If these don’t work, your doctor may give you a shot of medications that numb the nerve or lower inflammation, which lessens pressure. These may take several weeks to fully take effect.
In rare cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove anything that presses on the nerve. You may also get a small electrical device put under your skin to stimulate the nerve and interrupt the pain signals it sends to the brain.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Tyler Wheeler, MD on January 27, 2020
Sources
SOURCES:
National Institutes of Health, Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center: “Pudendal Neuralgia.”
Health Organization for Pudendal Education: “Anatomy of the pudendal nerve.”
Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey: “Diagnostic criteria for pudendal neuralgia by pudendal nerve entrapment (Nantes criteria).”
U.K. National Health Service: “Pudendal neuralgia.”
University of Rochester Medical Center: “Pudendal neuralgia,” “Pudendal nerve block.”
Women’s Health Research Institute of Australia: “Pudendal Neuralgia.”
© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Article Provided By: webmd
Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SCIf you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com

 

 

 

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Sciatica

Sciatica

Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. Typically, sciatica affects only one side of your body.
Sciatica most commonly occurs when a herniated disk, bone spur on the spine or narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis) compresses part of the nerve. This causes inflammation, pain and often some numbness in the affected leg.

Although the pain associated with sciatica can be severe, most cases resolve with non-operative treatments in a few weeks. People who have severe sciatica that’s associated with significant leg weakness or bowel or bladder changes might be candidates for surgery.

Symptoms
Pain that radiates from your lower (lumbar) spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg is the hallmark of sciatica. You might feel the discomfort almost anywhere along the nerve pathway, but it’s especially likely to follow a path from your low back to your buttock and the back of your thigh and calf.
The pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating pain. Sometimes it can feel like a jolt or electric shock. It can be worse when you cough or sneeze, and prolonged sitting can aggravate symptoms. Usually only one side of your body is affected.
Some people also have numbness, tingling or muscle weakness in the affected leg or foot. You might have pain in one part of your leg and numbness in another part.
When to see a doctor
Mild sciatica usually goes away over time. Call your doctor if self-care measures fail to ease your symptoms or if your pain lasts longer than a week, is severe or becomes progressively worse. Get immediate medical care if:
You have sudden, severe pain in your low back or leg and numbness or muscle weakness in your leg
The pain follows a violent injury, such as a traffic accident
You have trouble controlling your bowels or bladder

Causes
Herniated disk
Bone spurs on spine
Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched, usually by a herniated disk in your spine or by an overgrowth of bone (bone spur) on your vertebrae. More rarely, the nerve can be compressed by a tumor or damaged by a disease such as diabetes.

Risk factors
Risk factors for sciatica include:
Age. Age-related changes in the spine, such as herniated disks and bone spurs, are the most common causes of sciatica.
Obesity. By increasing the stress on your spine, excess body weight can contribute to the spinal changes that trigger sciatica.
Occupation. A job that requires you to twist your back, carry heavy loads or drive a motor vehicle for long periods might play a role in sciatica, but there’s no conclusive evidence of this link.
Prolonged sitting. People who sit for prolonged periods or have a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to develop sciatica than active people are.
Diabetes. This condition, which affects the way your body uses blood sugar, increases your risk of nerve damage.

Complications
Although most people recover fully from sciatica, often without treatment, sciatica can potentially cause permanent nerve damage. Seek immediate medical attention if you have:
Loss of feeling in the affected leg
Weakness in the affected leg
Loss of bowel or bladder function

Prevention
It’s not always possible to prevent sciatica, and the condition may recur. The following can play a key role in protecting your back:
Exercise regularly. To keep your back strong, pay special attention to your core muscles — the muscles in your abdomen and lower back that are essential for proper posture and alignment. Ask your doctor to recommend specific activities.
Maintain proper posture when you sit. Choose a seat with good lower back support, armrests and a swivel base. Consider placing a pillow or rolled towel in the small of your back to maintain its normal curve. Keep your knees and hips level.
Use good body mechanics. If you stand for long periods, rest one foot on a stool or small box from time to time. When you lift something heavy, let your lower extremities do the work. Move straight up and down. Keep your back straight and bend only at the knees. Hold the load close to your body. Avoid lifting and twisting simultaneously. Find a lifting partner if the object is heavy or awkward.

Diagnosis
During the physical exam, your doctor may check your muscle strength and reflexes. For example, you may be asked to walk on your toes or heels, rise from a squatting position and, while lying on your back, lift your legs one at a time. Pain that results from sciatica will usually worsen during these activities.

Imaging tests
Many people have herniated disks or bone spurs that will show up on X-rays and other imaging tests but have no symptoms. So doctors don’t typically order these tests unless your pain is severe, or it doesn’t improve within a few weeks.
X-ray. An X-ray of your spine may reveal an overgrowth of bone (bone spur) that may be pressing on a nerve.
MRI. This procedure uses a powerful magnet and radio waves to produce cross-sectional images of your back. An MRI produces detailed images of bone and soft tissues such as herniated disks. During the test, you lie on a table that moves into the MRI machine.
CT scan. When a CT is used to image the spine, you may have a contrast dye injected into your spinal canal before the X-rays are taken — a procedure called a CT myelogram. The dye then circulates around your spinal cord and spinal nerves, which appear white on the scan.
Electromyography (EMG). This test measures the electrical impulses produced by the nerves and the responses of your muscles. This test can confirm nerve compression caused by herniated disks or narrowing of your spinal canal (spinal stenosis).
More Information
CT scan
MRI
X-ray

Treatment
If your pain doesn’t improve with self-care measures, your doctor might suggest some of the following treatments.
Medications
The types of drugs that might be prescribed for sciatica pain include:
Anti-inflammatories
Muscle relaxants
Narcotics
Tricyclic antidepressants
Anti-seizure medications
Physical therapy
Once your acute pain improves, your doctor or a physical therapist can design a rehabilitation program to help you prevent future injuries. This typically includes exercises to correct your posture, strengthen the muscles supporting your back and improve your flexibility.
Steroid injections
In some cases, your doctor might recommend injection of a corticosteroid medication into the area around the involved nerve root. Corticosteroids help reduce pain by suppressing inflammation around the irritated nerve. The effects usually wear off in a few months. The number of steroid injections you can receive is limited because the risk of serious side effects increases when the injections occur too frequently.
Surgery
This option is usually reserved for when the compressed nerve causes significant weakness, loss of bowel or bladder control, or when you have pain that progressively worsens or doesn’t improve with other therapies. Surgeons can remove the bone spur or the portion of the herniated disk that’s pressing on the pinched nerve.

Lifestyle and home remedies
For most people, sciatica responds to self-care measures. Although resting for a day or so may provide some relief, prolonged inactivity will make your signs and symptoms worse.
Other self-care treatments that might help include:
Cold packs. Initially, you might get relief from a cold pack placed on the painful area for up to 20 minutes several times a day. Use an ice pack or a package of frozen peas wrapped in a clean towel.
Hot packs. After two to three days, apply heat to the areas that hurt. Use hot packs, a heat lamp or a heating pad on the lowest setting. If you continue to have pain, try alternating warm and cold packs.
Stretching. Stretching exercises for your low back can help you feel better and might help relieve nerve root compression. Avoid jerking, bouncing or twisting during the stretch, and try to hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds.
Over-the-counter medications. Pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve) are sometimes helpful for sciatica.
Alternative medicine
Alternative therapies commonly used for low back pain include:
Acupuncture. In acupuncture, the practitioner inserts hair-thin needles into your skin at specific points on your body. Some studies have suggested that acupuncture can help back pain, while others have found no benefit. If you decide to try acupuncture, choose a licensed practitioner to ensure that he or she has had extensive training.
Chiropractic. Spinal adjustment (manipulation) is one form of therapy chiropractors use to treat restricted spinal mobility. The goal is to restore spinal movement and, as a result, improve function and decrease pain. Spinal manipulation appears to be as effective and safe as standard treatments for low back pain, but might not be appropriate for radiating pain.

Preparing for your appointment
Not everyone who has sciatica needs medical care. If your symptoms are severe or persist for more than a month, though, make an appointment with your primary care doctor.
What you can do
Write down your symptoms and when they began.
List key medical information, including other conditions you have and the names of medications, vitamins or supplements you take.
Note recent accidents or injuries that might have damaged your back.
Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Someone who accompanies you can help you remember what your doctor tells you.
Write down questions to ask your doctor to make the most of your appointment time.
For radiating low back pain, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
What’s the most likely cause of my back pain?
Are there other possible causes?
Do I need diagnostic tests?
What treatment do you recommend?
If you’re recommending medications, what are the possible side effects?
For how long will I need to take medication?
Am I a candidate for surgery? Why or why not?
Are there restrictions I need to follow?
What self-care measures should I take?
What can I do to prevent my symptoms from recurring?
Don’t hesitate to ask other questions.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
Do you have numbness or weakness in your legs?
Do certain body positions or activities make your pain better or worse?
How limiting is your pain?
Do you do heavy physical work?
Do you exercise regularly? If yes, with what types of activities?
What treatments or self-care measures have you tried? Has anything helped?

Article Provided By: Mayoclinic
Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SCIf you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com

 

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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

 

What is complex regional pain syndrome?
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic (lasting greater than six months) pain condition that most often affects one limb (arm, leg, hand, or foot) usually after an injury. CRPS is believed to be caused by damage to, or malfunction of, the peripheral and central nervous systems. The central nervous system is composed of the brain and spinal cord; the peripheral nervous system involves nerve signaling from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. CRPS is characterized by prolonged or excessive pain and changes in skin color, temperature, and/or swelling in the affected area.
CRPS is divided into two types: CRPS-I and CRPS-II. Individuals without a confirmed nerve injury are classified as having CRPS-I (previously known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome). CRPS-II (previously known as causalgia) is when there is an associated, confirmed nerve injury. As some research has identified evidence of nerve injury in CRPS-I, it is unclear if this disorders will always be divided into two types. Nonetheless, the treatment is similar.
CRPS symptoms vary in severity and duration, although some cases are mild and eventually go away. In more severe cases, individuals may not recover and may have long-term disability.

Who can get CRPS?
Although it is more common in women, CRPS can occur in anyone at any age, with a peak at age 40. CRPS is rare in the elderly. Very few children under age 10 and almost no children under age 5 are affected.

What are the symptoms of CRPS?
The key symptom is prolonged severe pain that may be constant. It has been described as “burning,” “pins and needles” sensation, or as if someone were squeezing the affected limb. The pain may spread to the entire arm or leg, even though the injury might have only involved a finger or toe. In rare cases, pain can sometimes even travel to the opposite extremity. There is often increased sensitivity in the affected area, known as allodynia, in which normal contact with the skin is experienced as very painful.
People with CRPS also experience changes in skin temperature, skin color, or swelling of the affected limb. This is due to abnormal microcirculation caused by damage to the nerves controlling blood flow and temperature. As a result, an affected arm or leg may feel warmer or cooler compared to the opposite limb. The skin on the affected limb may change color, becoming blotchy, blue, purple, pale, or red.
Other common features of CRPS include:
changes in skin texture on the affected area; it may appear shiny and thin
abnormal sweating pattern in the affected area or surrounding areas
changes in nail and hair growth patterns
stiffness in affected joints
problems coordinating muscle movement, with decreased ability to move the affected body part
abnormal movement in the affected limb, most often fixed abnormal posture (called dystonia) but also tremors in or jerking of the limb.

What causes CRPS?
It is unclear why some individuals develop CRPS while others with similar trauma do not. In more than 90 percent of cases, the condition is triggered by a clear history of trauma or injury. The most common triggers are fractures, sprains/strains, soft tissue injury (such as burns, cuts, or bruises), limb immobilization (such as being in a cast), surgery, or even minor medical procedures such as needle stick. CRPS represents an abnormal response that magnifies the effects of the injury. Some people respond excessively to a trigger that causes no problem for other people, such as what is observed in people who have food allergies.
Peripheral nerve abnormalities found in individuals with CRPS usually involve the small unmyelinated and thinly myelinated sensory nerve fibers (axons) that carry pain messages and signals to blood vessels. (Myelin is a mixture of proteins and fat-like substances that surround and insulate some nerve fibers.) Because small fibers in the nerves communicate with blood vessels, injuries to the fibers may trigger the many different symptoms of CRPS. Molecules secreted from the ends of hyperactive small nerve fibers are thought to contribute to inflammation and blood vessel abnormalities. These peripheral nerve abnormalities trigger abnormal neurological function in the spinal cord and brain.
Blood vessels in the affected limb may dilate (open wider) or leak fluid into the surrounding tissue, causing red, swollen skin. The dilation and constriction of small blood vessels is controlled by small nerve fiber axons as well as chemical messengers in the blood. The underlying muscles and deeper tissues can become starved of oxygen and nutrients, which causes muscle and joint pain as well as damage. The blood vessels may over-constrict (clamp down), causing old, white, or bluish skin.
CRPS also affects the immune system. High levels of inflammatory chemicals (cytokines) have been found in the tissues of people with CRPS. These contribute to the redness, swelling, and warmth reported by many patients. CRPS is more common in individuals with other inflammatory and autoimmune conditions such as asthma.
Limited data suggest that CRPS also may be influenced by genetics. Rare family clusters of CRPS have been reported. Familial CRPS may be more severe with earlier onset, greater dystonia, and more than one limb being affected.
Occasionally CRPS develops without any known injury. In these cases, an infection, a blood vessel problem, or entrapment of the nerves may have caused an internal injury. A physician will perform a thorough examination in order to identify a cause.
In many cases, CRPS results from a variety of causes. In such instances, treatments are directed at all of the contributing factors.

How is CRPS diagnosed?
Currently there is no specific test that can confirm CRPS. Its diagnosis is based on a person’s medical history, and signs and symptoms that match the definition. Since other conditions can cause similar symptoms, careful examination is important. As most people improve gradually over time, the diagnosis may be more difficult later in the course of the disorder.
Testing also may be used to help rule out other conditions, such as arthritis, Lyme disease, generalized muscle diseases, a clotted vein, or small fiber polyneuropathies, because these require different treatment. The distinguishing feature of CRPS is that of an injury to the affected area. Such individuals should be carefully assessed so that an alternative treatable disorder is not overlooked.
Magnetic resonance imaging or triple-phase bone scans may be requested to help confirm a diagnosis. While CRPS is often associated with excess bone resorption, a process in which certain cells break down the bone and release calcium into the blood, this finding may be observed in other illnesses as well.

What is the prognosis?
The outcome of CRPS is highly variable. Younger persons, children, and teenagers tend to have better outcomes. While older people can have good outcomes, there are some individuals who experience severe pain and disability despite treatment. Anecdotal evidence suggests early treatment, particularly rehabilitation, is helpful in limiting the disorder, a concept that has not yet been proven in clinical studies. More research is needed to understand the causes of CRPS, how it progresses, and the role of early treatment.

How is CRPS treated?
The following therapies are often used:
Rehabilitation and physical therapy. An exercise program to keep the painful limb or body part moving can improve blood flow and lessen the circulatory symptoms. Additionally, exercise can help improve the affected limb’s flexibility, strength, and function. Rehabilitating the affected limb also can help to prevent or reverse the secondary brain changes that are associated with chronic pain. Occupational therapy can help the individual learn new ways to work and perform daily tasks.
Psychotherapy. CRPS and other painful and disabling conditions often are associated with profound psychological symptoms for affected individuals and their families. People with CRPS may develop depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder, all of which heighten the perception of pain and make rehabilitation efforts more difficult. Treating these secondary conditions is important for helping people cope and recover from CRPS.
Medications. Several different classes of medication have been reported to be effective for CRPS, particularly when used early in the course of the disease. However, no drug is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration specifically for CRPS, and no single drug or combination of drugs is guaranteed to be effective in every person. Drugs to treat CRPS include:
bisphosphonates, such as high dose alendronate or intravenous pamidronate
non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to treat moderate pain, including over-the-counter aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen
corticosteroids that treat inflammation/swelling and edema, such as prednisolone and methylprednisolone (used mostly in the early stages of CRPS)
drugs initially developed to treat seizures or depression but now shown to be effective for neuropathic pain, such as gabapentin, pregabalin, amitriptyline, nortriptyline, and duloxetine
botulinum toxin injections
opioids such as oxycodone, morphine, hydrocodone, and fentanyl. These drugs must be prescribed and monitored under close supervision of a physician, as these drugs may be addictive.
N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists such as dextromethorphan and ketamine, and
topical local anesthetic creams and patches such as lidocaine.
All drugs or combination of drugs can have various side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, increased heartbeat, and impaired memory. Inform a healthcare professional of any changes once drug therapy begins.
Sympathetic nerve block. Some individuals report temporary pain relief from sympathetic nerve blocks, but there is no published evidence of long-term benefit. Sympathetic blocks involve injecting an anesthetic next to the spine to directly block the activity of sympathetic nerves and improve blood flow.
Surgical sympathectomy. The use of this operation that destroys some of the nerves is controversial. Some experts think it is unwarranted and makes CRPS worse, whereas others report a favorable outcome. Sympathectomy should be used only in individuals whose pain is dramatically relieved (although temporarily) by sympathetic nerve blocks.
Spinal cord stimulation. Placing stimulating electrodes through a needle into the spine near the spinal cord provides a tingling sensation in the painful area. Electrodes may be placed temporarily for a few days in order to assess whether stimulation is likely to be helpful. Minor surgery is required to implant all the parts of the stimulator, battery, and electrodes under the skin on the torso. Once implanted, the stimulator can be turned on and off, and adjusted using an external controller. Approximately 25 percent of individuals develop equipment problems that may require additional surgeries.
Other types of neural stimulation. Neurostimulation can be delivered at other locations along the pain pathway, not only at the spinal cord. These include near injured nerves (peripheral nerve stimulators), outside the membranes of the brain (motor cortex stimulation with dural electrodes), and within the parts of the brain that control pain (deep brain stimulation). A recent option involves the use of magnetic currents applied externally to the brain (known as repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or rTMS). A similar method that uses transcranial direct electrical stimulation is also being investigated. These stimulation methods have the advantage of being non-invasive, with the disadvantage that repeated treatment sessions are needed.
Intrathecal drug pumps. These devices pump pain-relieving medications directly into the fluid that bathes the spinal cord, typically opioids, local anesthetic agents, clonidine, and baclofen. The advantage is that pain-signaling targets in the spinal cord can be reached using doses far lower than those required for oral administration, which decreases side effects and increases drug effectiveness. There are no studies that show benefit specifically for CRPS.
Emerging treatments for CRPS include:
Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG). Researchers in Great Britain report low-dose IVIG reduced pain intensity in a small trial of 13 patients with CRPS for 6 to 30 months who did not respond well to other treatments. Those who received IVIG had a greater decrease in pain scores than those receiving saline during the following 14 days after infusion.
Ketamine. Investigators are using low doses of ketamine—a strong anesthetic—given intravenously for several days to either reduce substantially or eliminate the chronic pain of CRPS. In certain clinical settings, ketamine has been shown to be useful in treating pain that does not respond well to other treatments.
Graded Motor imagery. Several studies have demonstrated the benefits of graded motor imagery therapy for CRPS pain. Individuals do mental exercises including identifying left and right painful body parts while looking into a mirror and visualizing moving those painful body parts without actually moving them.
Several alternative therapies have been used to treat other painful conditions. Options include behavior modification, acupuncture, relaxation techniques (such as biofeedback, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided motion therapy), and chiropractic treatment.

What research is currently being done on CRPS?
The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. The NINDS is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world.
NINDS-supported scientists are studying new approaches to treat CRPS and to intervene more aggressively to limit the symptoms and disability associated with the syndrome. Other NIH institutes also support research on CRPS and other painful conditions.
Previous research has shown that CRPS-related inflammation is caused by the body’s own immune response. Researchers hope to better understand how CRPS develops by studying immune system activation and peripheral nerve signaling using an animal model of the disorder. The animal model was developed to mimic certain CRPS-like features following fracture or limb surgery, by activating certain molecules involved in the immune system process.
Limb trauma, such as a fracture, followed by immobilization in a cast, is the most common cause of CRPS. By studying an animal model, researchers hope to better understand the neuroinflammatory basis of CRPS in order to identify the relevant inflammatory signaling pathways that lead to the development of post-traumatic CRPS. They also will examine inflammatory effects of cast immobilization and exercise on the development of pain behaviors and CRPS symptoms.
Peripheral nerve injury and subsequent regeneration often lead to a variety of sensory changes. Researchers hope to identify specific cellular and molecular changes in sensory neurons following peripheral nerve injury to better understand the processes that underlie neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to reorganize or form new nerve connections and pathways following injury or death of nerve cells). Identifying these mechanisms could provide targets for new drug therapies that could improve recovery following regeneration.
Children and adolescents with CRPS generally have a better prognosis than adults, which may provide insights into mechanisms that can prevent chronic pain. Scientists are studying children with CRPS given that their brains are more adaptable through a mechanism known as neuroplasticity. Scientists hope to use these discoveries in order to develop more effective therapies for CRPS.
NINDS-funded scientists continue to investigate how inflammation and the release of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) may induce abnormal connections and signaling between sympathetic and sensory nerve cells in chronic pain conditions such as CRPS. (ATP is a molecule involved with energy production within cells that can also act as a neurotransmitter. Neurotransmitters are chemicals used by nervous system cells to communicate with one another.) A better understanding of changes in nerve connections following peripheral nerve injury may offer greater insight to pain and lead to new treatments.

Article Provided By: ninds
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Exercises for Peripheral Neuropathy

Exercises for Peripheral Neuropathy

Alternative treatments for peripheral neuropathy
About 20 million people across the country live with a form of peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage disorder that typically causes pain in your hands and feet. Other common symptoms of this disorder include:
muscle weakness
numbness
tingling
poor balance
inability to feel pain or temperature
Treatment options typically focus on pain relief and treating the underlying cause. However, studies show that exercise can effectively preserve nerve function and promote nerve regeneration.
Exercise techniques for peripheral neuropathy
There are three main types of exercises ideal for people with peripheral neuropathy: aerobic, balance, and stretching.
Before you start exercises, warm up your muscles with dynamic stretching like arm circles. This promotes flexibility and increases blood flow. It will boost your energy, too, and activate your nerve signals.
Aerobic exercises
Aerobic exercises move large muscles and cause you to breathe deeply. This increases blood flow and releases endorphins that act as the body’s natural painkillers.
Best practices for aerobic exercising include routine activity for about 30 minutes a day, at least three days a week. If you’re just starting out, try exercising for 10 minutes a day to start.
Some examples of aerobic exercises are:
brisk walking
swimming
bicycling
Balance training
Peripheral neuropathy can leave your muscles and joints feeling stiff and sometimes weak. Balance training can build your strength and reduce feelings of tightness. Improved balance also prevents falls.
Beginning balance training exercises include leg and calf raises.
Side leg raise
Using a chair or counter, steady your balance with one hand.
Stand straight with feet slightly apart.
Slowly lift one leg to the side and hold for 5–10 seconds.
Lower your leg at the same pace.
Repeat with the other leg.
As you improve balance, try this exercise without holding onto the counter.
Calf raise
Using a chair or counter, steady your balance.
Lift the heels of both feet off the ground so you’re standing on your toes.
Slowly lower yourself down.
Repeat for 10–15 reps.
Stretching exercises
Stretching increases your flexibility and warms up your body for other physical activity. Routine stretching can also reduce your risk of developing an injury while exercising. Common techniques are calf stretches and seated hamstring stretches.
Calf stretch
Place one leg behind you with your toe pointing forward.
Take a step forward with the opposite foot and slightly bend the knee.
Lean forward with the front leg while keeping the heel on your back leg planted on the floor.
Hold this stretch for 15 seconds.
Repeat three times per leg.
Seated hamstring stretch
Sit on the edge of a chair.
Extend one leg in front of you with your toe pointed upward.
Bend the opposite knee with your foot flat on the floor.
Position your chest over your straight leg, and straighten your back until you feel a muscle stretch.
Hold this position for 15 – 20 seconds.
Repeat three times per leg.

Outlook
Exercise can reduce pain symptoms from peripheral neuropathy. Be sure to stretch after any workout to increase your flexibility and reduce pain from muscle tightness.
Mild pain is normal after stretching and regular activity. However, if your pain worsens or if you develop joint swelling, visit your doctor.

Article Provided By: healthline
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Pinched Nerve In Shoulder

What happens with a pinched nerve in the shoulder?

A pinched nerve in the shoulder occurs when a nearby structure irritates or presses on a nerve coming from the neck. This can lead to shoulder pain and numbness of the arm and hand.
Doctors may also refer to a pinched nerve in the shoulder arising from the neck as cervical radiculopathy.
An acute injury or changes to the body over time can cause a pinched nerve in the shoulder. This article will identify common symptoms, causes, and treatments for the condition.
Signs and symptoms

Disk degeneration or herniation can cause a pinched nerve in the shoulder.
A pinched nerve in the shoulder will typically cause pain, numbness, or discomfort in the shoulder region.
A person may also have other symptoms, which include:

changes in feeling on the same side as the shoulder that hurts
muscle weakness in the arm, hand, or shoulder
neck pain, especially when turning the head from side to side
numbness and tingling in the fingers or hand
Causes
A pinched nerve in the shoulder occurs when material, such as bone, disk protrusions, or swollen tissue, puts pressure on the nerves extending from the spinal column toward the neck and shoulder.
The spinal column consists of 24 bones called vertebrae that sit atop each other with protective, cushion-like disks between each one.
Doctors divide the spinal column into three regions based on the area of the body and the appearance of the spinal bones. These include:
Cervical spine: Consisting of the first seven vertebrae.
Thoracic spine: Made up of the middle 12 vertebrae.
Lumbar spine: Consisting of the last five vertebrae.
A pinched nerve in the shoulder affects the cervical spine specifically. Extending from the cervical spine are nerves that transmit signals to and from the brain to other areas of the body.
Some common causes of a pinched nerve in the shoulder include:
Disk degeneration: Over time, the gel-like disks between the cervical vertebrae can start to wear down. As a result, the bones can get closer together and potentially rub against each other and the nerves. Sometimes, a person will develop bony growths on their vertebrae called bone spurs. These can also press on shoulder nerves.
Herniated disk: Sometimes a disk can stick out and press on nerves where they exit the spinal column. A person will tend to notice this pain more with activities, such as twisting, bending, or lifting.
Acute injury: A person can experience an injury, such as from a car accident or sports activity, that causes a herniated disk or tissue inflammation in the body that presses on the nerves.
A doctor can usually identify the cause of a pinched nerve in the shoulder by taking a medical history, doing a physical exam, and requesting imaging studies.

 

How does a doctor diagnose shoulder pain?

A doctor can use an X-ray to diagnose a pinched nerve.
Doctors will start to diagnose a person’s shoulder pain by taking a history and doing a physical examination.
They will ask a person about the symptoms they are experiencing, such as when they first noticed these, and what makes them worse or better. A doctor will also examine the shoulder, neck, and surrounding areas to try to identify any noticeable problems.
A doctor will often order further tests to confirm a diagnosis or rule out other causes. Examples of these tests include:
X-ray or computed tomography (CT) scan: These tests provide details of spinal bones to help identify changes to the bones that may be pressing on a nerve.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This test provides greater detail of soft tissue and nerves that a CT scan or X-ray cannot.
Electrodiagnostic studies: These tests use special needles that send electrical signals to different areas of the neck and shoulder. They can test the nerve functions in the body to work out where one is compressed.
These tests can help a doctor identify a pinched nerve in the shoulder or another condition that may also cause shoulder pain. Examples of other conditions include:
a tendon tear
arthritis or inflammation of the joints
bursitis or inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs that cushion the joints
shoulder fracture

Treatment options
Most people with a pinched nerve in the shoulder will get better over time and do not require any treatment.
When necessary to make treatment recommendations, a doctor will consider:
what is causing the pinched nerve
how severe the pain is
how the pinched nerve affects daily activities
A doctor will usually recommend nonsurgical treatments first. If a person’s pain does not respond to these treatments or gets worse, the doctor may then recommend surgery.
Nonsurgical treatments for a pinched nerve include:
taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen
taking oral corticosteroids to relieve inflammation
injecting corticosteroids to reduce swelling and inflammation
wearing a soft, cervical collar to limit movement in the neck to allow the nerves to heal
undertaking physical therapy and exercises to reduce stiffness and improve range of motion
taking pain-relieving medication for a short time to reduce the most immediate effects of shoulder pain
Sometimes pain due to a pinched nerve in the shoulder will come and go. But if a person’s pain is the result of degenerative changes, their pain may worsen with time.
If the above treatments no longer relieve pain, a doctor may recommend surgery. Types of surgery can include:
Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF): In this procedure, a surgeon accesses the neck bones from the front of the neck. They will remove the area of disk or bone that is causing pain before fusing areas of the spine together to reduce pain.
Artificial disk replacement: This procedure involves replacing a diseased or damaged disk with an artificial one made from metal, plastic, or a combination of both. As with an ACDF, a surgeon will access the spinal column from the front of the neck.
Posterior cervical laminoforaminotomy: This procedure involves making a 1- to 2-inch cut on the back of the neck and removing portions of the spine that may be pressing on the nerves in the back.
Decompression of the suprascapular nerve: This means the surgeon tries to free up the nerve in the region of the scapular notch if this nerve is compressed.
The surgical approach will depend on a person’s symptoms and what area of the spine or tissue is pressing on the nerves.

Managing a pinched nerve in the shoulder

An ice pack can help to manage intense symptoms of a pinched nerve.
The pain from a pinched nerve in the shoulder often comes and goes. When a person is experiencing intense symptoms, they may wish to try the following:
Apply cloth-covered ice packs to the neck and shoulder blade area over a period of up to 48 hours after the pain began. After this time, they can use warm, moist heat to relieve pain.
Sleep with a pillow designed to support the neck. These pillows are available to purchase online.
Take anti-inflammatory or pain-relieving medications.
When a person’s symptoms start to get better, they may want to try doing the following to help prevent further episodes of pain:
Focusing on proper postures when sleeping and sitting at a desk. People can use devices, such as a hands-free phone, to avoid having to strain or move the neck repetitively. Adjusting chair and keyboard height may also reduce strain on the back.
Engaging in regular exercise to reduce stiffness and help maintain a healthy weight.
Having massages that can boost circulation to inflamed areas, which can aid healing. Massages can also relieve muscle tension.
A physical or occupational therapist can be helpful in recommending exercises and giving advice on how to improve posture at home and at work.

Outlook
A pinched nerve in the shoulder can be a painful problem that can lead to weakness, tingling, and numbness in the hand and arm.
Over-the-counter measures can usually help to reduce symptoms. If these methods do not work, surgical options are available.
People should always talk to their doctor when they have shoulder pain that lasts beyond a few days.

Last medically reviewed on January 14, 2020

Article Provided By: Medicalnewstoday
Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SCIf you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com

 

 

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Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Recognizing and Treating Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

What is tarsal tunnel syndrome?
Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a condition caused by repeated pressure that results in damage on the posterior tibial nerve. Your tibial nerve branches off of the sciatic nerve and is found near your ankle.
The tibial nerve runs through the tarsal tunnel, which is a narrow passageway inside your ankle that is bound by bone and soft tissue. Damage of the tibial nerve typically occurs when the nerve is compressed as a result of consistent pressure.

What are the symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome?
People with tarsal tunnel syndrome may experience pain, numbness, or tingling. This pain can be felt anywhere along the tibial nerve, but it’s also common to feel pain in the sole of the foot or inside the ankle. This can feel like:
sharp, shooting pains
pins and needles
an electric shock
a burning sensation
Symptoms vary greatly depending on each individual. Some people experience symptoms that progress gradually, and some experience symptoms that begin very suddenly.
Pain and other symptoms are often aggravated by physical activity. But if the condition is long-standing, some people even experience pain or tingling at night or when resting.
What causes tarsal tunnel syndrome?
Tarsal tunnel syndrome results from compression of the tibial nerve, and it’s often caused by other conditions.
Causes can include:
severely flat feet, because flattened feet can stretch the tibial nerve
benign bony growths in the tarsal tunnel
varicose veins in the membrane surrounding the tibial nerve, which cause compression on the nerve
inflammation from arthritis
lesions and masses like tumors or lipomas near the tibial nerve
injuries or trauma, like an ankle sprain or fracture — inflammation and swelling from which lead to tarsal tunnel syndrome
diabetes, which makes the nerve more vulnerable to compression

 

How is tarsal tunnel syndrome diagnosed?
If you think you have tarsal tunnel syndrome, you should see your doctor so they can help you identify the cause and create a treatment plan so that the condition doesn’t get worse. Your general practitioner can refer you to an orthopedic surgeon or podiatrist.
At your appointment, your doctor will ask about the progression of your symptoms and about medical history like trauma to the area. They’ll examine your foot and ankle, looking for physical characteristics that could indicate tarsal tunnel syndrome. They’ll likely perform a Tinel’s test, which involves gently tapping the tibial nerve. If you experience a tingling sensation or pain as a result of that pressure, this indicates tarsal tunnel syndrome.
Your doctor may also order additional tests to look for an underlying cause, including an electromyography, which is a test that can detect nerve dysfunction. MRIs may also be ordered if your doctor suspects that a mass or bony growth could be causing the tarsal tunnel syndrome.

Can tarsal tunnel syndrome cause any complications?
If tarsal tunnel syndrome is left untreated, it can result in permanent and irreversible nerve damage. Because this nerve damage affects your foot, it could be painful or difficult to walk or resume normal activities.

How is tarsal tunnel syndrome treated?
Treating tarsal tunnel syndrome depends on your symptoms and the underlying cause of your pain.
At-home treatments
You can take anti-inflammatory medications (including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to reduce inflammation, which may alleviate compression of the nerve. Resting, icing, compression, and elevation, known as the RICE treatment, may also help reduce swelling and inflammation.
Doctor-prescribed treatments
Steroid injections may also be applied to the affected area to reduce swelling. In some cases, braces and splits may be used to immobilize the foot and limit movement that could compress the nerve. If you have naturally flat feet, you may want to have custom shoes made that support the arches of your feet.
Surgery
In severe, long-term cases, your doctor may recommend a surgery called the tarsal tunnel release. During this procedure, your surgeon will make an incision from behind your ankle down to the arch of your foot. They will release the ligament, relieving the nerve.
A minimally invasive surgery is also used by some surgeons, in which much smaller incisions are made inside your ankle. The surgeon uses tiny instruments to stretch out the ligament. Because there’s less trauma sustained by the tissues, the risk of complications and recovery time are both reduced.

Article Provided By: healthline

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Postherpetic Neuralgia

Postherpetic Neuralgia

What Is Postherpetic Neuralgia?
Postherpetic neuralgia is a painful condition that affects your nerves and skin. It is a complication of herpes zoster, commonly called shingles.
Shingles is a painful, blistering skin rash caused by a reactivation of a virus called varicella-zoster, which people usually get in childhood or adolescence as chicken pox. The virus can remain dormant in your body’s nerve cells after childhood and can reactivate years later.
When the pain caused by shingles doesn’t go away after the rash and blisters clear up, the condition is called postherpetic neuralgia. Postherpetic neuralgia is the most common complication of shingles, and it occurs when a person’s nerves are damaged during a shingles outbreak. The damaged nerves can’t send messages from the skin to the brain and the messages become confused, resulting in chronic, severe pain that can last for months or years.
According to a study by the American Academy of Family Physicians, about 20 percent of people who get shingles also develop postherpetic neuralgia. Additionally, this condition is more likely to occur in people over the age of 60.
What Are the Symptoms of Postherpetic Neuralgia?
Shingles typically causes a painful, blistering rash. Postherpetic neuralgia is a complication that only occurs in people who already have had shingles. Common signs and symptoms of postherpetic neuralgia include:
severe pain that continues for more than one to three months in the same place that the shingles occurred, even after the rash goes away
burning sensation on the skin, even from the slightest pressure
sensitivity to touch or temperature changes

What Are the Risk Factors for Postherpetic Neuralgia?
Age is a high risk factor for getting both shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. People over 60 have an increased risk, and people over 70 have an even higher risk.
Those who have acute pain and severe rash during shingles are also at a higher risk of developing postherpetic neuralgia.
People with lowered immunity due to disorders like HIV infection and Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer, have an increased risk of developing shingles. A study by the American Academy of Family Physicians shows that the incidence of shingles is up to 15 times greater in patients with HIV than in those who don’t have the virus.

 

How Is Postherpetic Neuralgia Diagnosed and Treated?
Tests are unnecessary. Most of the time, your doctor will diagnose postherpetic neuralgia based on the duration of pain symptoms following shingles.
Treatment for postherpetic neuralgia aims to control and reduce pain until the condition goes away. Pain therapy may include the following treatments.
Analgesics
Painkillers are also known as analgesics. Common analgesics used for postherpetic neuralgia include:
capsaicin cream: an analgesic extracted from hot chili peppers
lidocaine patches, a numbing medicine
over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), or ibuprofen (Advil)
stronger prescription drugs, such as codeine, hydrocodone, or oxycodone
Tricyclic Antidepressants
Tricyclic antidepressants are normally prescribed to treat depression, but they are also effective in treating pain caused by postherpetic neuralgia. They often have side effects, like dry mouth and blurred vision. They do not act as quickly as other types of painkillers. Commonly used tricyclic antidepressants to treat postherpetic neuralgia include:
amitriptyline (Elavil)
desipramine (Norpramin)
imipramine (Tofranil)
nortriptyline (Pamelor)
Anticonvulsants
Anticonvulsants are normally used for seizures, however clinical studies have shown that lower doses can be effective in treating pain for postherpetic neuralgia as well. Commonly used anticonvulsants include
carbamazepine (Tegretol)
pregabalin (Lyrica)
gabapentin (Neurontin)
phenytoin (Dilantin)

How Can Postherpetic Neuralgia Be Prevented?
A herpes zoster vaccine called Zostavax reduces the risk of shingles by 50 percent, and also protects against postherpetic neuralgia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Trusted Source
recommends that the vaccine be given to all adults over the age of 60, except for people with a weakened immune system. These people may be advised not to receive the vaccine because it contains a live virus.
The herpes zoster vaccine, Zostavax, is different from the chicken pox vaccine, Varivax, that is usually given to children. Zostavax has at least 14 times more live varicella viruses than Varivax. Zostavax can’t be used in children, and Varivax can’t be used to prevent herpes zoster.

Outlook
Painful, postherpetic neuralgia is treatable and preventable. Most cases disappear in one to two months, and rare cases last longer than a year.
If you’re over the age of 60, it’s wise to get vaccinated against it. If you do develop it, there are many analgesics and even antidepressants you can take to manage the pain. It may just take some time and patience.

Article Provided By: healthline

Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SCIf you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011  or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com

 

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