What Is Peripheral Nerve Pain?
Peripheral nerves are all of the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord: the nerves in your arms and legs, in your face, and in your chest, abdomen and back. Whether caused by injury, surgery, or conditions such as diabetic neuropathy or shingles (post-herpetic neuropathy, PHN), damage to the peripheral nerves can lead to chronic pain that is difficult to diagnose and find solutions to treat.
Our surgeons use cutting-edge surgical treatment for pain caused by injury and/or compression of nerves.
Surgery for Chronic Pain
Some causes of chronic pain can be successfully treated with surgery. Chronic pain after surgery, accidents, trauma, and sports injuries that has not been relieved by first-line methods may be due to injury to peripheral nerves. Patients often visit several doctors and engage in multiple therapies including physical therapy, medications, orthopedic treatment, or spinal nerve blocks without significant relief. Medications often only reduce or mask the symptoms — unfortunately, patients with chronic pain from peripheral nerve injury rarely experience lasting relief from medications.
New techniques have been shown to reduce or eliminate pain for many of these patients. Neuropax Clinic is one of a handful of institutions currently offering surgery as an option for patients who may have exhausted other methods of treating their pain.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Nerve Surgery?
THE OPTIMAL PATIENT FOR POTENTIAL SURGICAL TREATMENT FOR PERIPHERAL NERVE INJURY HAS:
- Pain in a specific area for more than three months that has not been relieved by other methods like physical therapy or medications.
- A prior workup by other specialists such as orthopedic surgeons, physical medicine doctors, pain specialists, or neurologists — without discovering an obvious cause for the pain.
- Prior tests can be particularly helpful in suggesting nerve injury, such as EMG/NCV, diagnostic nerve blocks, and MRIs.
PATIENTS WITH PAIN LASTING MORE THAN 3 MONTHS FOLLOWING:
- Knee replacement
- Leg, ankle or foot operations
- Hip replacement
- Abdominal surgery, laparoscopic surgery, abdominoplasty, etc.
- Hernia repair
- Mastectomy, breast reconstruction or augmentation
- Chest surgery
- Back pain with or without prior spine surgery
- Shoulder, neck and facial surgery
- Amputations, including phantom pain
- Falls (low back, buttock and leg pain)
- Sports injuries (ankle sprains, ligament tears)
- Car accidents
- Carpal tunnel
- A.C.N.E.S. – Abdominal cutaneous nerve entrapment syndrome
- Nerve compression in the legs (lateral femoral, saphenous, peroneal nerves)
- P.H.N. – Post-herpetic neuralgia (chronic pain following shingles)
- Significant weight loss with pain in one area
- Diabetes — new onset of foot pain or ulcers
How is Nerve Pain Diagnosed?
Diagnosing peripheral nerve injury as the cause for chronic pain is oftentimes quite straightforward. Surgeons at Neuropax Clinic can localize the cause and recommend treatment often within one visit. The process includes:
- A thorough patient history – when the pain started, potential causes, locations of pain, prior medical care
- A focused physical examination – to relate the pain to a particular nerve
- Nerve block – the doctor may suggest a local anesthetic numbing of the nerve(s) in order to confirm:
- That the pain is due to an injured nerve.
- Which nerve(s) are involved.
- Where is the injury to the nerve.