Causes of Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic pain can impact quality of life, but it is treatable. Learn more about the causes of neuropathic pain and how to treat it here.

Table of Contents

Understanding Neuropathic Pain

Pain, no matter the type or degree, can be very difficult to live with, and it can certainly complicate the living conditions of individuals. Of all the types of pain, one type that is often misunderstood is neuropathic pain. This is mostly because this type of pain usually seems to have no physical pain evidence such as wounds or noticeable signs of trauma.

According to a study, neuropathic pain is estimated to affect as much as 17% of the global population. This further highlights the importance of understanding neuropathic pain.1 So, what is neuropathy pain, and what are neuropathy causes?

Nerve Pain

According to the International Association for the Study of Pain, neuropathic pain (or neuropathy pain) can be defined as pain induced by the presence of a lesion or disease in the somatosensory nervous system. Simply put, neuropathic pain is the medical term for nerve pain.2
Neuropathic pain is usually chronic (chronic neuropathic pain), although it can be acute in some cases. For the most part, chronic neuropathic pain is caused by the presence of chronic nerve disease. It can also happen due to infection or trauma.3

Neuropathic Pain Management

Neuropathic pain can be challenging to manage because there are different types of neuropathic pain, and each has its peculiarities, although they share some common neuropathy symptoms. 


It also doesn’t help that some types of neuropathic pain are marked by experiences of sharp or burning pain sensations without any apparent trigger.3

Neuropathic Pain and Nerve Damage

Although neuropathic pain can be challenging to effectively deal with due to the sheer number of differences in the causes and underlying mechanisms of the different types of neuropathic pain, a link has been shown between neuropathic pain and nerve damage.

Types of Neuropathic Pain

There are different nerves in the body, and any of these nerves can be affected, so different nerve damage can occur in neuropathic pain conditions. 


Usually, the location of the nerve damage determines the type of neuropathic pain and the symptoms. However, neuropathic nerve pain can also be classified based on neuropathy causes. Neuropathic pain types will be detailed below.

Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is a type of neuropathic pain caused by damage to the nerves in the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system is responsible for the distribution and exchange of signals and information between the brain and the remaining part of the body.
Peripheral neuropathic pain can occur in body extremities such as the legs, arms, hands, and feet. Conditions like neuropathic pain in the legs fall under this category.4

Autonomic Neuropathy

Autonomic neuropathy affects the nerves responsible for regulating the normal functioning of internal body organs such as the lungs, heart, digestive system, etc. Autonomic neuropathy causes blood pressure issues, and digestive system complications, among other things.4

Focal Neuropathy

This type of neuropathy affects only one nerve in body parts like the head, hands, torso, or leg. Symptoms of this type of neuropathy can include sudden weakness in a particular side of the face or paralysis.4

Proximal Neuropathy

Proximal neuropathy is a rare type of neuropathic pain, usually characterized by nerve pain affecting one side of the body. Proximal neuropathy causes extreme discomfort, difficulties moving, weight loss, and muscle loss.4

Diabetic Neuropathy

This is the medical term for nerve pain caused by diabetes. Chronic diabetes damages blood arteries, thereby interfering with the supply of much-needed nutrients and oxygen to nerves in the body. As a result, nerves struggle to operate normally due to a lack of oxygen and nourishment.
Diabetic neuropathic pain examples include all the types mentioned above, although peripheral neuropathy accounts for up to 50% of all neuropathic conditions in diabetes patients.4

Compression Mononeuropathy

Compression mononeuropathy is caused by damage or injury to blood vessels in the body. As a result of this injury, the affected blood vessels narrow leading to a reduction in blood supply to the nerves. This type of nerve pain causes neuropathic symptoms like numbness, tingling, or even swellings in fingers.4

Phantom Limb Syndrome

Phantom limb syndrome is a form of neuropathy pain common in people with a missing limb. This nerve pain causes neuropathic symptoms like burning or sharp painful sensations in the missing limb. Phantom limb syndrome is caused by a mix of confusing impulses from the brain and spinal cord.4

Other Types of Neuropathic Pain

Other types of neuropathic pain include:
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Postherpetic neuralgia
  • Thoracic or lumbar radiculopathy

What Causes Neuropathic Pain?

There are various causes of neuropathic pain, depending on factors such as age and previous injury. Causes of neuropathic pain include:
  • Disease
  • Limb loss
  • Infection
  • Low Vitamin B levels in the body
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Injuries
  • Thyroid complications
  • Facial nerve problems
  • Spinal arthritis

Symptoms of Neuropathic Pain

Symptoms of neuropathic pain include the following:

  • Severe nerve pain all over body parts or a localized body area which may feel like shooting, throbbing, or burning
  • Electrical-like sensations
  • Body numbness
  • Tingling sensations that may be accompanied by nerve pain all over body parts
  • Mottled or red skin
  • Itchiness
  • Reduced sensory functioning
  • Changes in pain as a result of the weather

How is Neuropathic Pain Diagnosed?

Neuropathic pain management starts with an accurate diagnosis of the presence of constant neuropathic pain. Diagnosis is what guides the provision of neuropathic pain relief solutions. 


Diagnosis of neuropathic pain in patients usually starts with clinical evaluation. Clinical evaluation is done to rule out other possible disorders that might also be responsible for causing symptoms similar to those of constant neuropathy pain.

Clinical Evaluation

To do this, doctors will run tests such as X-rays, MRIs, and even CT scans to improve diagnosis precision and accuracy. These tests also help doctors determine if the pain results from damage to the muscle or nerves so they can provide the appropriate nerve pain help.5

How is Neuropathic Pain Treated?

Depending on the severity, type, and other factors, some treatments for neuropathic pain exist. Neuropathy solutions include the prescription of medicine for nerve pain. 


Over-the-counter pain medications like analgesics or topical creams and prescription medications like opioid analgesics are usually prescribed for neuropathic pain relief for mild to moderate neuropathic pain. Other medicine for nerve pain includes antidepressant drugs and anticonvulsants.

Neuropathic pain solutions also include using nerve blocks and implantable devices to block pain signals, especially when drugs do not provide adequate relief. In these cases, neuropathic pain medicines can be used as adjunct treatment options.5

What is the Outlook for People with Neuropathic Pain?

Even though neuropathy can be quite unpredictable, it is treatable. There are different options for effective treatment and management of neuropathic pain, so people with this condition are encouraged to explore the different treatment options they have access to.
Neuropathy treatment, especially when combined with the correct medicine, lifestyle adjustments, and underlying problem treatment, has yielded impressive results.

Early Medical Intervention Key

It must be said that seeking early medical intervention is important for optimum treatment results. This is because neuropathic pain only worsens over time, so the longer treatment is delayed, the higher the chances are that treatment will be ineffective.

Manage Your Symptoms of Neuropathic Pain at J. Flowers Health Institute

Are you looking for a treatment center to help you deal with neuropathic pain and receive evidence-based treatment? J. Flowers Health Institute offers an uncompromising approach to whole-person health and wellness, ensuring a seamless treatment experience and results.

J. Flowers Health Institute has teams of licensed and experienced professionals that will leave no stone unturned in ensuring optimum treatment results.


Reach out and begin healing.