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Treatment for neuropathic pain typically includes medication, physical therapy and psychological treatment.
- Underlying conditions
- Psychological therapy
- Pain management programmes
- Alternative therapies
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In certain cases treatment for neuropathic pain may be focused on an underlying cause so that if the neuropathic pain is linked to say a vitamin deficiency or diabetes, as is sometimes the case, then control of the underlying condition through healthy lifestyle changes or the taking of vitamin supplements can help to improve the symptoms of the condition and prevent it from progressing.
“Andrew, I feel so lucky to have found you. What a difference you made! Let’s face it, with [previous solicitors] the claim was heading for the rocks. Thank you so much.” TR (£265,000 compensation recovered), October 2018
Unlike many types of pain, neuropathic pain doesn’t usually improve with common over-the-counter painkillers such as Paracetamol or anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), recommends that doctors should commence treatment with medications such as:
- Amitriptyline and Duloxetine – both antidressants also used to treat nerve pain;
- Pregabalin and Gabapentin – both anticonvulsants also used to treat nerve pain.
There are also some medications used to relieve pain in a specific area of the body or to treat severe pain for a limited periods:
- Tramadol – a powerful opioid painkiller;
- Capsaicin cream – is the substance that gives chilli its heat, but applied to a particular area of the body it can also sometimes help to relieve neuropathic pain by preventing the nerves in that area sending pain signals to the brain.
If you suffer neuropathic pain, pain may not be your only symptom. Muscle weakness is common and physiotherapy may help with this.
Sufferers also commonly report gastric and related problems, which may require specific medication.
Many people suffering neuropathic pain develop related psychological symptoms, often as a result frustration over their physical limitations. Psychological therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can be particularly helpful in addressing these issues.
Pain Management Programmes
The idea behind pain management is to turn existing with chronic pain into living with chronic pain.
There is no one universal approach offered by pain management programmes, who instead have at their disposal a wide range of treatments and multi-disciplinary support, which to a certain degree they can use to tailor therapy to the individual. Whilst a programme will usually be coordinated by a consultant in pain medicine, the patient will also receive input from physiotherapists, occupational therapists and psychologists.
As they cannot ‘cure’ the patient’s pain, the role of the pain clinic is best summarised as supporting a patient in developing self-help skills to control and relieve their pain. It is hoped that through these coping strategies, the patient will experience an overall improvement in their quality of life.
Most large hospitals run pain management programmes. In addition to the more common outpatient approach, a few centres are equipped to offer inpatient programmes. The advantage of inpatient pain management is that for a limited period, usually between two and four weeks, both the patient and the multi-disciplinary team are focused entirely on working together to develop coping strategies. This is often more difficult and therefore less successful when attending as an outpatient once a week over the course of a number of weeks or months.
BLB Solicitors have been hugely successful in arranging funding for clients to attend these residential programmes. However, we are also conscious of the potential for ‘crash and burn‘ following attendance on such a programme.
The treatment of neuropathic pain is all about finding what works for you. Some people find that combining one or more forms of alternative or complementary therapy with their more mainstream treatment works well for them. Common examples are acupuncture, herbal remedies and vitamin supplements (particularly Benfotiamine and Alpha-Lipoic Acid).
However, before considering any form of alternative therapy, always check first with your doctor. They will almost certainly be supportive but it is important that the alternative therapy does not have a negative impact on your mainstream treatment.
“Richard’s understanding, professionalism and sheer tenacity was inspirational and his hard work turned the case around resulting in my receiving a settlement which included funds that allow me to receive treatment that help make my condition more bearable. My husband and I are extremely grateful to Richard, his secretary Amanda and BLB for all they have done for me.” PS (£410,000 compensation recovered), September 2017