Article reviewed and approved by Dr. Ibtissama Boukas, physician specializing in family medicine
La neuropathic pain is in general a multifactorial pain that can be felt anywhere in our body. It can lead to permanent or sometimes periodic, but more intense pain. These pains can affect the quality of life of the person who suffers from them, because they can persist for a long time. However, there are some ways to mitigate them. We are going to discover them in this article after having clarified what is the neuropathic pain.
Definition of neuropathic pain
La neuropathic pain is defined by pain related to an injury or nervous system dysfunction. It can affect the nervous system (peripheral or central) in particular the brain, the spinal cord or nerves.
La peripheral neuropathic pain corresponds to a lesion of the peripheral nervous system. It can reach the plexus, the root like the sciatica, median or peroneal.
La neuropathic pain Central as for it, it is observed in case of lesion of the sensory tract system, in particular the posterior cords of the spinal cord and the spinothalamic tract. It can also come directly from a lesion of the pain control system. This neuropathic pain often sits in a specific place such as at the level of a hemibody. This is what makes it different from peripheral neuropathic pain.
Any neurological lesion is likely to cause neuropathic pain such as :
- trauma located at any level of the nervous system (truncular, radicular, plexus)
- a squeeze (herniated disc, syringomyelia, tumour, etc.)
- a neuropathic infection (shingles, Lyme disease, HIV, etc.)
- deficiency or diabetic neuropathy
- brain damage (degenerative disease, brain damage)
- damage to the sympathetic nervous system (algodystrophy).
- postherpetic neuralgia
- alcohol abuse
- a deficiency in certain vitamins
- side effects of certain medications.
Symptoms of this nerve pain
In the case of neuropathic pain, the patient may feel permanent burning sensations, tingling or tingling, feelings of hot or cold or both at the same time.
It can also manifest as transient pain to paroxysmal bouts of pain. These are characterized by a spontaneous intensification of pain for a short time. At this time, the pain can be deep and unbearable (dysesthesia). They are difficult to describe for children under 8 years old. Some describe them as being a stab or an electric shock.
Fullerenes neuropathic pain are triggered or aggravated in certain situations such as strong emotion, stress, depression, change in atmospheric condition, intellectual or physical effort, etc.
Added to these symptoms are muscle twitching, interrupted sleep (the pain intensifies at night), tender skin, and itching.
Link between back pain and neuropathic pain
La neuropathic pain can occur due to certain pathologies in the back or after surgery related to them.
After herniated disc surgery
A spinal surgery, in particular that of a herniated disc is sometimes marked by neuropathic pain. These can be triggered by bad movements made by the patient during his convalescence. In fact, after a herniated disc operation, no constraint should be exerted on the spine. Among other things, the patient is deprived of getting into a car at least in the two weeks following the operation.
La fibromyalgia designates a neurological disorder which mainly affects the cervico-scapular and lumbo-gluteal regions. People who suffer from it feel delicate pains such as burning, stinging or stabbing. These pains are qualified as being neuropathic pains, because they result in a suffering of the nervous system.
Other back diseases may beorigin of neuropathic pain. Among them, the sciatica. This is a pain located along the sciatic nerve. It is caused by compression of the sciatic nerves at the base of the spine. Usually, the pains correspond to a burning and stabbing sensation.
In addition, any pain in the tendons, muscles and joints can also be a source of neuropathic pain. Indeed, in the long term, this suffering leads to involuntary muscle contractions which in turn also cause pain and so on.
Prognosis: Can neuropathic pain disappear?
La disappearance of neuropathic pain is very difficult to predict. It depends on the case of the patient. These pains can still persist even after the healing of their initial cause (nerve damage). As with the case of shingles, it is present only at the beginning of the infection when the affected nerves cause pain for several months or even years.
The persistence of pain has nothing to do with the severity of the disease. Indeed, neuropathic pain corresponds to the dysfunction of nerve fibers. The persistence of pain then indicates that the nervous system is not completely repaired. Thus, these pains are considered as sequelae. It is therefore necessary to keep to the fact that these pains are no longer signs of any disease.
Neuropathic (peripheral) pain is resistant to conventional analgesics. They can go away on their own or settle in over time.
What treatment for neuropathic pain?
First of all, it should be noted that the total disappearance of neuropathic pain is rare. However, it is possible to relieve symptoms, learn to live with pain and so improve the quality of life.
It is possible to apply drug treatment. The choice of drug differs according to several parameters including: type of neuropathic pain, the cause and the patient's tolerance to treatment. The drugs used in the treatment of neuropathic pain are usually antiepileptics and antidepressants with large numbers of adverse effects.
Under these conditions, the ideal is therefore to adopt a natural treatment appropriate for the patient. To alleviate the patient's suffering, for example, there are certain means such as massage, osteopathy, kinesitherapy (physiotherapy), transcutaneous electrostimulation, etc.
The essential oil to treat neuropathic pain?
Essential oils are often used to relieve neuropathic pain.
Bergamot essential oil
It is known for its analgesic properties. Studies were carried out in 2015 and revealed that aromatherapy with this oil particularly helps to reduce neuropathic pain opioid resistant. Inhaled, bathed, sprayed or applied to the skin… bergamot essential oil can be used according to your choice and the benefits you hope to receive. However, to enjoy the benefits corresponding to neuropathic pain, it is better to use it in massage.
Like all other essential oils, bergamot essential oil cannot be used alone because of its dermocaustic and irritant properties. Before use, remember to mix it with vegetable oil (coconut oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, etc.). In fact, you only need a few drops. The ideal dose is about 10 drops of essential oil for each tablespoon of carrier oil.
Clove essential oil
It contains eugenol, an aromatic active ingredient which binds to nociceptors (pain receptors). This molecule blocks the nerve tissue pain and thus acts on neuropathic pain.
Essential oils of wintergreen, peppermint, lemon eucalyptus and lavandin are also effective against neuropathic pain.