Difference between Neurogenic and Neuropathic

Difference Between Neurogenic and Neuropathic

Discover the difference between neurogenic and neuropathic pain and effective treatments for both conditions.

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Difference Between Neurogenic and Neuropathic

The concept of pain can be difficult to understand. This is partly because people have different pain thresholds, so what is painful for one person may not be painful for another. Another factor to consider is the fact that there are different types or classifications of pain, such as physical injury and emotional pain. So what pain classifications do neurogenic pain and neuropathic pain fall under, and how do they differ?
Neurogenic pain and neuropathy are two closely-associated terms that many people use interchangeably; however, there are a few notable differences between these two conditions.

Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic pain, also known as neuropathy, can be defined as pain due to an injury or disease of the somatosensory nervous system. This includes damage to the neuraxis, which consists of the spinal, peripheral, and supraspinal nervous systems. Approximately fifteen million people with chronic pain across the U.S. and Europe suffer from neuropathy.1

Neurogenic Pain

Neurogenic pain is any pain caused by or originating from the nervous system. It is an umbrella term for pain usually caused by a “malfunction” of the central or peripheral nervous system. It is estimated that 10% of the population has neurogenic pain.2

Major Difference

The major difference between neurogenic and neuropathic pain is the cause of the condition. Neurogenic is pain caused by central or peripheral nervous system dysfunction, while neuropathic is pain caused by injury or disease of the somatosensory nervous system.

What Is Neurogenic Shock?

Neurogenic shock is a very severe medical condition or disorder induced by a disruption in the circulation of blood in the body. This interruption of blood circulation can occur as a result of spinal injury or trauma. One thing that makes neurogenic shock so dangerous and life-threatening is that it can cause a sudden, sharp drop in blood pressure, thereby causing irreversible damage to body tissues.

What Causes Neurogenic Shock?

Causes of neurogenic shock can include nervous system damage from car accidents, spinal wounds, and drugs that affect autonomic nervous system (ANS) functioning. In rare cases, complications with spinal anesthesia, such as improper administration or an adverse reaction, can result in neurogenic shock.

Neurogenic shock treatment or medical intervention must be done immediately to prevent severe neurogenic shock complications, such as breathing difficulties, bradycardia, and death. Data shows that between eight and ten thousand people experience spinal injuries every year in the United States, with 19.3% caused by neurogenic shock.3

Spinal Shock vs. Neurogenic Shock

Since neurogenic shock can occur due to spinal damage, a common misconception is that spinal shock and neurogenic shock are essentially the same; however, they differ in several ways.
For example, spinal shock occurs in four different phases over time, whereas neurogenic shock is usually sudden and unexpected. Additionally, spinal shock conditions can last from days to months and usually resolve independently. On the other hand, neurogenic shock usually lasts up to six weeks and requires rapid medical intervention, as it could be fatal.

Symptoms of Neuropathic Pain

Identifying the symptoms of nerve pain is essential for knowing when to seek treatment and carrying out successful treatment plans. The most common symptoms of chronic neuropathic pain include the following:

  • Severe nerve pain, such as sharp, shooting, searing, or stabbing sensations, throughout the body
  • Tingling sensations in various parts of the body
  • Extreme touch sensitivity
  • Numbness
  • Heat or cold insensitivity
  • Worsened nerve pain all over the body at night
  • Muscle weakness

Causes of Neurogenic and Neuropathic Pain

There are several different causes of neuropathic pain and neurogenic pain. These causes of nerve pain throughout the body can be classified into injury, disease, loss of body limbs, and infection. Generally, however, the causes of neuropathic pain and neurogenic pain include the following:
  • Alcoholism
  • Amputation
  • Chemotherapy
  • Diabetes
  • Facial nerve problems
  • HIV infection or AIDS
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Multiple sclerosis

Diagnosing Neurogenic and Neuropathic Pain

Effective neurogenic and neuropathic pain treatments rely heavily on accurate and early diagnosis. Neurogenic and neuropathic pain symptoms can be non-specific, so health care professionals must systematically rule out every other possible medical condition before providing suitable remedies for nerve pain.
Diagnosis before neuropathic pain management will include examining the patient’s medical history to evaluate the likelihood of nerve damage and identify symptoms. The doctor may also conduct tests such as CT scans, MRI scans, and urine testing using urinary catheters to ensure diagnosis accuracy, allowing them to develop effective and proper treatment plans for nerve pain.

Neurogenic and Neuropathic Pain Treatment

pain treatment
Despite being challenging to diagnose accurately, treating nerve pain is possible. Treatment aims to identify the cause of the pain and provide effective solutions for nerve pain relief. Neuropathic and neurogenic pain relief treatments could involve some or all of the following:

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy for neuropathic and neurogenic pain relief involves assisting individuals in moving the body parts where they’re experiencing pain in order to prevent muscle atrophy. It also helps reduce the affected area’s sensitivity to pain.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is particularly useful for people seeking relief from phantom limb pain. It is usually combined with nerve pain medications to help improve nerve pain relief results.


Medication is a standard treatment method for neurogenic and neuropathic pain. One study found that the most common medications for neuropathic pain were nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (44.2%), weak opioids (31.7%), antiepileptics (10.9%), and strong opioids (10.9%).4

Other Methods

Other methods of treating and managing nerve pain (with or without medications for neuropathic pain and neurogenic pain) include:
  • Acupuncture
  • Working with a counselor
  • Relaxation therapy

Get Help for Neurogenic and Neuropathic Pain at J. Flowers Health Institute

One of the best recovery facilities to get effective treatment for neuropathic and neurogenic pain is J. Flowers. At J. Flowers, patients have access to a seamless treatment experience with extraordinary care handled by licensed and experienced health care professionals. We offer an extensive suite of elite services and absolute privacy, so patients have the best opportunity to focus on getting better and improving their lives.

Contact us today to learn more about our programs and get started.