The Five Different Kinds of Nerve Pain And How To Treat Them


Nerve pain, or neuropathy, is a debilitating condition that can wreak havoc on your daily life. Whether caused by an underlying disease or previous injury, pain without reason can wear down someone’s physical and mental wellbeing. After a few months of chronic nerve pain, even the most resilient patients can become depressed and anxious. Treating nerve pain should be the first priority for these patients, so they can go back to enjoying life free of constant pain. 

Symptoms and Causes of Neuropathy

Nerve pain is often caused by an underlying medical condition. Diabetes is the most common, but it can also be caused by HIV, cancer, shingles, or degenerative bone diseases. Nerve pain is also a common symptom of spinal and skeletal injuries that put pressure on the nerves. Symptoms can range from mild pain and tingling at the damaged site to debilitating daily pain. Some of the common sensations include: 

  • Burning or tingling sensations
  • Pinpricks at the tips of fingers and toes
  • Sudden shocks throughout the body
  • Aching pain

Patients with nerve pain also suffer from varying side effects including higher rates of sleep problems, anxiety, and depression. The constant pain can limit mobility and daily activity, leaving sufferers limited in their lives until the pain is treated. 

The Five Types of Neuropathy

  • Peripheral neuropathy – This is the most common type of nerve pain, and includes damage to any nerve in the extremities. Pain and tingling are felt in the fingers, toes, hands, feet, arms, and legs, which can lead to mobility and dexterity issues.
  • Proximal neuropathy – Proximal neuropathy is another common type of neuropathy, defined by nerve damage in the thighs, glutes, and hips. Proximal neuropathy typically begins in one side of the body but can spread to both if left untreated. 
  • Autonomic neuropathy – This type of nerve pain involves the involuntary nerves connected to musculature and organs such as the heart, sweat glands, bowels, bladder, and sex organs. Like the other types of neuropathy, it can be caused by an underlying condition or can be a side effect of certain medications. 
  • Cranial neuropathy – Cranial neuropathy involves damage to the nerves connected to the brainstem. This results in conditions such as Bell’s palsy; microvascular cranial nerve palsy; third, fourth, and sixth nerve palsy; and multiple cranial neuropathies. 
  • Focal Neuropathy – Focal neuropathy is the damage of a single nerve, often found in the extremities but possible throughout the body. Though this type of neuropathy is not as widespread, it can be just as debilitating as other types of neuropathy. 

How To Treat Neuropathy

No matter what type of neuropathy you experience, seeking treatment is the right first step toward a better quality of life. No one should have to live in constant pain, and with the help of a pain specialist, you can regain your life, mobility, and happiness through a variety of pain management options. 

For medical conditions such as diabetes and cancer, treating the underlying condition can help eliminate or reduce the pain. People experiencing nerve pain due to alcohol addiction may also find relief through rehabilitative programs and detox. However, sometimes treating the disease or condition is not enough. Treatments including medications, physical therapy, and surgical intervention in the case of orthopedic injury may help alleviate neuropathy symptoms and help you get your life back on track. 

Talk to your local PPOA clinic to find treatment options and procedures that can help with your specific diagnosis. We believe that everyone can live a pain-free and medication-free life, and provide a variety of long-term treatment options that will get you back on your feet in no time. 

Schedule an appointment with your local PPOA physician today to learn more.