The latest advances in neuropathic pain

What is neuropathic pain?

It is a highly disabling condition, affecting approximately 20 million people in Europe alone. It is defined as pain caused by injuries or pathologies that affect the somatosensory nervous system, altering its structure and function.

This sequel usually appears after a neurological injury, and can significantly affect the patient’s quality of life, both in daily life and emotional well-being.

The latest advances and development of new drugs have not been able to solve the problem of neuropathic pain, and it is difficult to control the pain. In fact, it is eradicated in very specific cases, so the basic objective is usually to achieve a tolerable level of pain.

Causes of neuropathic pain

Neuropathic pain is part of a group of neurological symptoms, and can be caused by:

  • Peripheral nervous system lesions: diabetic polyneuropathies or other causes.
  • Trauma.
  • Neurotoxicity or tumors.
  • Lesions in the central nervous system: spinal cord injury, cerebral ictus.
  • Disinhibition of synaptic transmission at the level of the dorsal Astra of the spinal cord or remodeling of central somatotopic projections, and interactions with the inflammatory system.

Symptoms of neuropathic pain

Some examples of symptoms that patients with this disease may suffer from are as follows:

  • Unbearable pain when clothing rubs against the skin.
  • Constant burning sensation.
  • Feeling of stepping on pins in the feet when walking.
  • Feeling of continuous crushing pain.

Therapeutic innovation

The Institut Guttmann, with initiatives such as the annual scientific-technical conferences, works with the aim of deepening the dissemination and knowledge of specific topics related to disability of neurological origin.

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Although the current challenge is to understand the mechanisms and consequences of neuropathic pain, research has been carried out on new techniques to treat pain. In this sense, non-invasive stimulation techniques have been studied in motor cortex, such as transcarenal stimulation by direct current to tDCS.

For more information about neuropathic pain, do not hesitate to contact the Institut Guttmann.