Benefits of Physiotherapy for Neuropathic Pain

Many patients, and their physicians, will find that they hit a roadblock when they attempt to treat neuropathic pain. Instead of muscle or bone pain, this type of pain is caused by the nerves themselves which may have been damaged by a certain condition or injury, or may be idiopathic, which means it has no known cause. The pain can feel like a burning, itching, or stabbing sensation in many parts of the body, and be very uncomfortable and in some cases debilitating.

Physicians have many medications they can utilize to help control or reduce neuropathic pain. However, medication may have a very limited effect, even when neuropathic pain is disabling. Besides, when idiopathic or the result of a long-term condition, patients may be reluctant to use medication to control this pain, as they will need to continue taking it for many years. Thus, many physicians and patients turn to physiotherapy techniques for relief and long-term control of nerve pain.

Causes of Neuropathic Pain

There are a wide range of causes that may be the culprit of your nerve pain:

  • Injury to the neck, back, spinal cord, or other nerves
  • Stroke
  • Certain surgeries
  • Diabetes
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • HIV
  • Toxins
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Cancer or cancer treatment
  • Metabolic conditions
  • Autoimmune conditions

If you experience nerve pain from many of these causes, resolving the initial injury or condition may not relieve the pain. After the damage has been done to nerves, they struggle to heal themselves. Complete recovery is possible in some cases, but most neuropathic pain will need long-term management. Sometimes, neuropathic pain will become recurring, where the pain is reduced for periods of time and then you experience a flare-up.

Physiotherapy for Neuropathic Pain

Once a physician has diagnosed the underlying cause of your neuropathic pain, they will pursue treatment. Research suggests that the best treatment for neuropathic pain in general is multi-modal, or a treatment plan that takes advantages of many different strategies. Medication may only be one part of the larger plan.

Physiotherapy techniques that can reduce neuropathic pain include:

  • TENS: A TENS machine is used to stimulate different nerves in the body. Certain TENS methods have been shown to help alleviate neuropathic pain. Although, you will need a physiotherapist to perform this treatment, as only specific TENS therapies have been shown to help.
  • Manual therapy: Manual therapy can increase flexibility and stability in the joints that are affected by nerve pain.
  • Yoga and Pilates: The muscle strength developed in yoga and Pilates can help take pressure off your nerves. It can also help improve posture, as poor posture can make nerve pain worse.

Other physiotherapy techniques that focus on gentle, targeted exercise can help treat neuropathic pain. Just as other forms of chronic pain do, neuropathic pain responds to 30-minute intervals of exercise, repeated regularly throughout the week. A physiotherapist can show you which movements and exercises are best to target your nerve pain.

Neuropathic Pain Treatment from Meadowlands

If you suffer from neuropathic pain, physiotherapy can help. Reach out to the certified physiotherapists at Meadowlands Physiotherapy to develop a treatment plan that can decrease your nerve pain, with or without pain medication.