When trying to manage neuropathic pain, many patients and their doctors will find that they run against obstacles. This form of pain, which differs from muscle or bone pain, is brought on by the nerves themselves, which may have been harmed by an illness or injury or may be idiopathic, meaning it has no known cause. In many areas of the body, the pain can feel like a burning, itching, or stabbing sensation. It can be extremely painful and, in some circumstances, incapacitating.
There are numerous drugs available to doctors that they can use to help manage or lessen neuropathic pain. However, even when neuropathic pain is incapacitating, drugs may only have a very small impact. Additionally, people may be reluctant to utilize medicine to control this pain if it is idiopathic or the result of a chronic ailment because they will need to take it for a very long time. As a result, physiotherapy techniques are frequently used by medical professionals and people to treat and permanently manage nerve pain.
What is Neuropathic pain?
Abnormal signal processing in the peripheral or central nervous system is the root cause of neuropathic pain. In other words, neuropathic pain is a sign of damage or dysfunction to the neurological system. Trauma, inflammation, metabolic disorders (such as diabetes), infections (such as herpes zoster), tumors, poisons, and primary neurological diseases are among the common causes of neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain can be generally divided into central and peripheral origins.
Neuropathic Pain Factors
There are numerous factors that could be to blame for your nerve discomfort, including:
- Nutritional inadequacies
- Cancer or cancer therapy
- Specific surgeries
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Injury to the neck
- Spinal cord
- Other nerves
- Immune system disorders
If any of these causes of nerve pain are present in you, treating the original injury or condition might not be enough to stop the pain. Nerves fail to recover after being damaged, and this makes them vulnerable to infection. In rare circumstances, full healing is feasible, but most neuropathic pain requires long-term treatment. Neuropathic pain can occasionally become recurrent, when the discomfort subsides for a while before a flare-up occurs.
Exercise for Neuropathic Pain
Your doctor will pursue treatment after determining the underlying reason of your neuropathic pain. Research indicates that multi-modal, or a therapeutic strategy that makes use of numerous techniques, is the best treatment for neuropathic pain in general. The overall approach may include more than just medication.
The following are physiotherapy methods that help lessen neuropathic pain:
A TENS machine is employed to stimulate various bodily nerves. It has been demonstrated that several TENS techniques can reduce neuropathic pain. However, as only certain TENS therapies have been demonstrated to be effective, you will require a physiotherapist to provide this treatment.
• Manual therapy:
Manual therapy helps improve joint stability and flexibility in people with nerve pain.
• Yoga and Pilates:
The muscle strength gained from these exercises might assist relieve nerve pressure. Additionally, it can aid in posture improvement because bad posture can exacerbate nerve discomfort.
Other physiotherapy methods that emphasize mild, focused activity may be able to alleviate neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain responds to 30-minute exercise sessions that are repeated consistently throughout the week, much like it does for other types of chronic pain. Which exercises and motions are most effective for reducing nerve pain can be demonstrated to you by a physiotherapist?
How Physiotherapy Can Aid Neuropathy
Since the majority of them will collaborate closely with your doctors to care for you, a physiotherapist can frequently enhance a patient’s quality of life through therapies. In fact, because physiotherapists are recognized as experts in treating the illness, many doctors will recommend their patients seek treatment from them. Patients with neuropathy should first see a neurologist who is skilled in diagnosing and treating peripheral neuropathy. Before recommending you to a physiotherapist, the neurologist will review your medical history and be able to spot any risk factors.
After assessing you and consulting with your doctor, the physiotherapist will be able to pinpoint any specific functional limitations you may have. The therapists are skilled in locating, assessing, and treating your functional and baseline levels. You will be diagnosed by the therapist if you exhibit any symptoms of balance problems, pain, motion restrictions, weakness, endurance deficits, numbness, atypical gait patterns, hypersensitivity, joint stiffness, or a need for bracing or orthotics.
If physical therapy will help your particular issue, a physiotherapist will be able to let you know. Physical therapy and other sorts of treatment, however, won’t put many patients at risk and may even improve their quality of life. A skilled physiotherapist will ensure that the therapies won’t make the peripheral neuropathy worse in patients who have other illnesses in addition to their peripheral neuropathy. By developing a specialized and one-of-a-kind treatment plan for your particular condition, they can accomplish this.
The physiotherapist will frequently adopt a direct approach when it comes to a person’s functional impairment, depending on your condition. In other situations, the therapist could focus on what is known as a compensating strategy while working in a more indirect manner. To assist you enhance your functions, physiotherapists might employ a variety of modalities, tools, and therapy exercises. They are fully aware of the specific remedies that will benefit your ailment the most.
Benefits of Physiotherapy for Neuropathic Pain
The following are peripheral neuropathy’s objectives and available treatments:
Reduce discomfort and numbness
- A variety of therapeutic approaches, including stretching, nerve slides, and hands-on soft tissue work, are available to help the patient manage their symptoms. Exercises to “unstick” the afflicted nerves, such as nerve gliding or flossing, are successful. This kind of therapy aids in the treatment of mononeuropathies (peripheral neuropathy where only one nerve is affected)
Enhancing range of motion while preserving or enhancing overall function
- A physiotherapist can also suggest moderate-intensity exercises that are most appropriate for the patient and will help them improve their physical function. o This can be accomplished through hands-on soft tissue work, passive range of motion, or at-home exercises/stretching
Maintain or increase strength
- Depending on the patient’s present level of endurance, strength, and tolerance, a particular set of exercises would be taught.
- Fall prevention o Balance and coordination exercises will be given, and home prevention techniques will be discussed o Physiotherapists can also suggest braces and/or splints to improve balance and posture.
The patient may receive instruction from your physiotherapist on how to safely manage PN. Depending on each student’s needs, the teaching may concentrate on enhancing safety, averting more problems, or coming up with workarounds for particular activities.