Neuropathic Pain Needs A Holistic Approach
Nerve pain is one of the most difficult kinds of acute and chronic pain to treat for a variety of reasons. Also known as neuropathic pain, nerve pain is typically a result of damage or dysfunction in the nervous system. This can be due to a variety of causes, including injuries, infections, systemic diseases like diabetes, or even treatments like chemotherapy. The diversity of potential causes adds to the complexity of diagnosing and treating nerve pain effectively.
Recently, a highly-publicized interview in Patient Care explored the reasons why this kind of pain demands a more holistic approach than a number of other kinds of pain. For example, symptoms can vary widely from person to person, and the pain might not correspond to a specific injury or visible sign of damage. Nerve pain symptoms can also be highly variable and unpredictable. Some patients experience constant pain, while others might have intermittent episodes. The intensity can also range from mild to debilitating. This variability makes it challenging to find a one-size-fits-all treatment approach.
Treating Neuropathic Pain
Nerve pain often doesn’t respond well to traditional pain management methods, such as over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Even prescription painkillers may have limited effectiveness and can come with significant side effects. Effectively managing nerve pain often requires a multifaceted treatment approach. This might include medications specifically for nerve pain, physical therapy, lifestyle changes, and sometimes psychological support. Coordinating these various treatments can be complex.
As an experienced chiropractor – including those who practice at AmeriWell Clinics – can confirm, working with a chiropractor is often one of the most effective steps that a patient can take when attempting to address neuropathic pain.
One of the primary treatments used by chiropractors is spinal adjustment. Misalignments in the spine (subluxations) can compress nerves, leading to pain. Chiropractors use controlled force to realign the spine, which can relieve pressure on the nerves and reduce pain. This realignment can improve nerve function and promote healing.
Inflammation is a common contributor to nerve pain. Chiropractic care, through spinal adjustments and other techniques, can help reduce inflammation. This reduction in inflammation can decrease nerve irritation and alleviate pain. Additionally, chiropractic treatment often involves restoring mobility to stiff joints and improving the function of the musculoskeletal system. This can be particularly beneficial in cases where nerve pain is caused by physical injuries or conditions like herniated discs.
Along with adjustments, chiropractors may use soft tissue therapies such as massage, myofascial release, or trigger point therapy. These therapies can help relieve muscle tension that might be contributing to nerve pain. Chiropractic care takes a holistic view of the patient’s health. In addition to treating the physical aspects of nerve pain, chiropractors may also address other factors that could be contributing to the pain, such as stress or poor nutrition.
For those seeking alternatives to medications or invasive procedures, chiropractic care offers a non-invasive, drug-free option. This is particularly appealing for patients looking for natural pain relief methods that can be used alongside other approaches to better manage acute or chronic nerve pain.