Pain is a complicated and diverse experience that affects millions of people worldwide. It can have a significant impact on daily life and overall well-being. According to The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) pain is “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage.”
What’s interesting is that pain doesn’t always have a direct relationship with tissue damage. Sometimes, people experience pain even without any apparent injury, while others may have substantial tissue damage but feel little or no pain. This challenges the traditional belief that pain is solely caused by tissue damage. You can read more about this in our article on pain science.
Today we will be discussing neuropathic pain.
What is neuropathic pain?
Neuropathic pain is a complex type of pain that originates from damage or dysfunction in the nerves themselves. Unlike nociceptive pain, which is a response to potential tissue damage, neuropathic pain occurs due to abnormal pain signals being sent from the nerves to the brain. It is often described as shooting, burning, or tingling sensations, and can be accompanied by numbness or hypersensitivity in the affected area.
The causes of neuropathic pain can vary, including conditions such as nerve compression, diabetic neuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia, or nerve injuries. The abnormal functioning of the nerves can result in ongoing pain even after the initial injury or condition has healed.
Phantom limb pain is a type of neurogenic pain. In the case of phantom limb pain, individuals experience pain in a limb that is no longer there, typically following amputation. Phantom limb pain is a complex phenomenon that is not fully understood. It is believed to occur due to the rewiring of the brain’s neural pathways after amputation. The brain continues to receive signals from the missing limb, leading to the perception of pain. The pain experienced can range from mild discomfort to severe, debilitating sensations.
Disc Herniations or “slipped disc”
Disc herniations are a common source of back and neck pain that many people experience. The spine is made up of bones called vertebrae, and between each vertebra is a disc that acts as a cushion and shock absorber. Sometimes, the soft inner part of a disc can push through the outer layer, causing it to bulge or rupture. This is known as a disc herniation.
When a disc herniates, it can put pressure on nearby nerves, leading to various symptoms. You might feel pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the area where the affected nerve is located. For example, if the herniation is in your lower back, you may experience sciatica, which is characterised by pain radiating down your leg.
Disc herniations can occur due to age-related ages of the discs. Even though lifting heavy objects incorrectly is often thought to cause disc herniation, this is not true. Instead, factors like overweightness, living a sedentary lifestyle, or smoking increase your risk of developing herniated discs.
Treatment and Management of Neuropathic Pain
Managing neuropathic pain can be challenging, as traditional pain medications may not always provide sufficient relief. Treatment options may include medications specifically targeting nerve pain, such as anticonvulsants or antiepileptic drugs. They work by stabilising abnormal electrical activity in the nerves, which helps to alleviate pain. Some examples of anticonvulsants used for neuropathic pain include gabapentin and pregabalin.
It should be noted that Lyrica, a type of pregabalin, is not effective for treating nerve pain from sciatica or disc herniations. While it may be common prescribed in Singapore to treat sciatica, the latest clinical studies have found it to be no better than placebo.
Other interventions such as nerve blocks, exercise therapy, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) may also be considered.
Exercise Therapy for Sciatica
Exercise therapy is an effective approach for managing sciatica, a condition characterised by pain along the sciatic nerve. It involves a combination of neuromobilisation, strengthening, and aerobic exercises to alleviate compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. Neurodynamic exercises, which may target the hamstring and piriformis, can help reduce pressure on the nerve and improve flexibility. Strengthening exercises, like core and back muscle exercises, provide stability and support to the spine, reducing strain on the sciatic nerve.
Low-impact aerobic exercises, such as walking or swimming, promote blood circulation and overall fitness without adding excessive stress to the spine. For some patients, prolonged walking may further irritate the affected nerve. If that is the case, it is best to avoid excessive walking until you have consulted with a healthcare professional.
It is crucial to gradually progress the exercise program based on individual tolerance and pain levels. Working with a chiropractor or an exercise specialist ensures personalised guidance and prevents exacerbation of symptoms. Their expertise will ensure that exercise therapy is performed safely and effectively, leading to improved management of sciatica symptoms and overall well-being.
Finding the right chiropractor for your pain management
“At the start we very worried that Jesse’s approach only work for fit and strong people. We were wrong. His creative and yet systematic way of recovery worked wonders for my dad. Now my dad is back at work and can do housework like before. Not only is he pain free, his mood and self-esteem is better. Last time he always feel useless cos cannot do housework and cannot carry anything. If you want good results, go see Jesse. Highly endorse!”
– Rachel via our Google business profile
When you’re seeking help for managing your neuropathic pain, finding a chiropractor in Singapore who understands the complexity of your condition is crucial. Traditional adjustments may not be enough to address the underlying causes and provide long-term relief. That’s why at Square One Active Recovery, we take a comprehensive approach to neuropathic pain management that goes beyond adjustments.
Chiropractor Jesse Cai is not your average chiropractor. With a background in working with professional athletes and a deep understanding of exercise and the human body, Jesse is equipped to help you find freedom from your pain. But his expertise doesn’t stop there. He’s also trained in solution-focused coaching, which means he can guide you through the necessary lifestyle changes to make a real difference in managing your pain.
Don’t let neuropathic pain hold you back any longer. Take that first step towards finding relief by reaching out to us today. We’re excited to help you on your path to wellness and empower you to live a pain-free life.
WANT TO GET STARTED IMMEDIATELY?
Frustrated by the lack of results-driven and ethical chiropractic clinics in Singapore, Chiropractor Jesse Cai found Square One Active Recovery to deliver meaningful and sustainable pain solutions.
Our goal? To make our own services redundant to you.