Thursday, October 23, 2014

Saturday, October 25, 2008 missmari, Community Member, asks

Q: What exactly is nerve pain?

What exactly is nerve pain and what causes it ? Will it ever go away

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Answers (11)
Cort, Health Guide
10/25/08 9:15pm

Nerve pain is a kind of broad term that refers to pain that generally follows the path of a nerve and is the result of nerve damage.  Lots of different factors can cause a nerve to elicit pain; they can be compressed by some sort of wound or trauma or inflammation in the area, nerve pain can occur as a result of surgery; infections such as shingles can cause nerves to flare up (very painful!), in diabetes poor blood flows to the nerves can cause them  to become activated.


Nerve pain is often sharp and stabbing and burning but nerve damage can also simply cause numbness and hot and cold sensations. 


How long it will last depends on its cause. If nerve pain is due to inflammation it should subside when the inflammation does; if its due to an infection it usually (but not always) subside when the body finally fights off the infection. If its due to diabetes then keeping the diabetes under control will obviously help. 


Nerve damage/pain can be difficult to treat, however.  You can find more out about peripheral neuropathy here.


Good luck! 

nessa13, Community Member
7/30/12 1:57am

What if it is cause by prolonged compression? Will that take a while? or is it not reversible?

Plinker, Community Member
10/28/13 12:47am

If the pressure is not relieved it may continue.

Pom Gal, Community Member
10/25/08 7:08pm

Nerve pain is generally a burning sensation.Can be caused by an injury if it is damaged.Mine is caused by Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy which is a misfiring of the sympathetic nerve.I think it depends on the type of nerve pain whether your physician can do surgery or nerve blocks to help with the pain.

Plinker, Community Member
10/28/13 12:51am

If itrs a peripheral nerve this may be indicated as its easier to nerve block it but a nerve conduit is far more difficult if possible and other nerves may be affected in trying to reduce the pain. I chose to not have explorative surgery as the risk was to great of other damage, loss of use of the arm.

Stacey, Community Member
10/30/08 10:07am

Nerve Pain, to me, is an unbearable source of misery.What causes it, I believe, is the brain sending signals, (nerve impulses), via the spinal cord and peripheral nerves, to areas of the body that are in distress due to any number of reasons. My nerve pain was caused by an injury in which I tore my rectus abdominus muscles and nerves off of my ribcage. The pain I feel is a sharp stabbing pain right in the middle of my chest, which radiates around my side to my spine. My entire left upper quadrant is effected. Will it ever go away? Not in my case. I was on massive doses of narcotics, have had every form of treatment available,unsuccessfully. Then finally I had a 3rd Spinal Cord Stimulator implanted, which was extremely successful. This implanted device was made by Boston Scientific, unlike my previous two, that were made by Medtronics. The new implant works so much better than the previous ones that I was able to take myself off all of the narcotics that I had been dependant on for almost 10 years. The unit acts as a substitute for the pain impulses that are sent from my brain. When I have the unit turned on, I feel a tingling sensation instead of the pain where my injury sites are. It is only a masking of the pain signals. But it feels soooo good as opposed to my typical sharp stabbing pain that I normally feel. This unit is rechargeable, and I can use it whenever I want to. But the battery in the implanted unit will run out someday, an average of 7-10 years depending on how much I use it. When the day comes when I try and turn the unit on and it doesn't work anymore, then I'll have to go back on meds until I either have another unit implanted, or some other device may have come out by then which will be more effective. Until that day comes, I can omly hope that this unit will work as well as it has been working for me since it was inplanted. I'll deal with it when it comes. Until then, I am enjoying not being dependant on medications and take one day at a time.

Plinker, Community Member
10/28/13 12:20am

Hi Stacey,


I have had burning nerve pain from a damaged nerve conduit running through the upper right arm within the "Tricept Muscle" for over twenty eight years, most of that time it was 12~13 on a 1 to 10 scale until early last year.


Also had xrays, mri's, ultrasounds, nerve conduction tests and excellent doctors without any resolution.  I have a tens machine and found this works better than anything else used at the high end 240 hz or cycles.


Last March I also found out through a strange circumstance that I had an established pain memory, this was solved because I hurt my left hip and started to say my right arm was hurting when it was my left hip, this led to realizing it was a pain memory and the pain reduced to 6~7 at the top still awful but lots better than 12~13.


Now I have very little pain until I move the right arm in the morning and then a general burning pain sweeping over my right arm, shoulders, left arm and associated head ache.  The reference for the pain memory is Dr. Norman Doidge "The Brain That Rethinks Itself" he is at University of Toronto, Canada and Columbia University and researches the plasticity of the human brain.


I find it very interesting that you have an implanted stimulator and assume it works just as an external TENS machine does while perhaps being far more effective.  Indeed I wonder if it would be possible to use this with my arm.


An exploratory operation was offered to me some twenty years ago however I refused as many people actually have sustain more damage, pain and probability of losing ability to use the arm.  I have no loss of use or muscle loss just shaking along with the pain.


Thanks very much for your story of what you went through as it may help me.



Samuel Croft, Community Member
10/30/08 7:19pm

Nerve pain is caused when the sheath that is the exterior covering around the nerve disintagrates and leaves the nerve open and bare in the body.  Many times the lack of vitamin B-12 causes the sheath disolves and leaves the nerve raw.  In this case you will have to give yourself vitamin B-12 shots in order to cause the sheath to repair itself.  Pill won't work becasue, they are not strong enough and don't stay in the body log enough to do what is needed to regrow the sheath.

Plinker, Community Member
10/28/13 12:45am

My pharmacy has these new strips sort of like strips of chewing gum but that held near the tongue cause B12 to be absorbed better than orally, I was looking at them last night but the cost was pretty high but if they work to restore the nerve conduit sheath it would be great. Are the B12 shots subdermal or intermuscular?

ladytiye, Community Member
10/30/08 8:13pm

Nerve pain is one of the most horrific pains that can inflict the body.  Because our nerves are related to feeling, when a nerve is damaged any pain related to that damaged nerve is going to be 100 times worse than any other pain that you ever go through.  Nerve pain has many symptoms; burning, throbbing, steady unending and unbearable pain, electric-like, or lightening-strike pain which seems to come from anywhere and nowhere at the same time, hit a place along your nerve path and strike it like lightening from the sky during a horrible thunderstorm.  Only you can't hide from it because it's your very own damaged nerve that is attacking you.

Some nerve pain gets better with time, but if you are unlucky you may have a nerve injury that can not be healed and you will have to live with it for the rest of your life.  My sciatic nerve was damaged, right in the buttock over 13 years ago now, and I have been in the most horrible pain, non-stop since the day it happened.  No amount of narcotics helps it and by now I have been on very large doses of morphine for 13 years and my doctors will not raise the amount given so I really just take them to keep my body from going into withdrawal.  Don't get me wrong now, they help take the edge off, but that is all.  I can not sit on my butt because it increases the pain, standing increases the pain, exercise increases the pain and being absolutely still is excruciating.  My life is unbearable and I can't take extra meds cause if I do I will run out before my next refill which I have to get from my doctor each month and if I run out, they won't give a new prescription, you will instead be sent to the hospital to keep from going into seizures and having a heart attack.  You also will be labled a drug addict if you take more than is prescribed, it doesn't matter that your pain is not being controlled, it only matters that YOU are being controlled by the very people who are supposed to help you, but don't.

 Sorry if I sound bitter, but walk in my shoes and you will understand that everything is bitter when it's hard to swallow what they tell me each month which is, "weelllll, you are on large doses, let's see how you get by next month...okay?  then a shrug of the shoulders and out he goes!"  Yep, that's hard to swallow when you want to be on the floor screaming from the intense pain that everybody ignores because they don't feel it.

Sorry.  But thanks for listening.  That's what nerve pain is for me.



Rebecca79, Community Member
12/ 1/09 8:32pm

 Wow- that is the best description of nerve pain I have ever heard. I have suffered from nerve pain for the past 15 years and I am only 30 and it will never go away. Thank you for your definition- I have never heard this type of pain described better. I can relate to your pain and am always here if you need to talk.

hills24, Community Member
12/24/09 9:34pm

hi rebecca i am going through some kind of nerve pain due to some procedure called evlt that i did for varicose veins it was like a laser that closed some veins for my ciculation to be better on my leg now i dont know if this nerve damage is permanent or i am going to be like this forever...

hills24, Community Member
12/24/09 9:36pm

i would like to know what kind of nerve pain you are were kind of young when you started with your nerve pain and what types of medicines are you on...............

3littlebirds, Community Member
10/ 7/11 6:29am


My mother had the ELVT procedure and she is 6 months out and still in pain.

Did you recover?


Pain, Community Member
2/ 9/10 11:51pm

In your paragraph above you state that you can relate to rebecca's pain.  You don't explain what kind of nerve pain you have.  What caused you to have nerve pain?  I too experience chronic pain daily from two back surgeries 2 years ago.  I always thought it would be nice to talk to people that I could relate too.  Talking to people that are not in pain is very difficult sometimes.  When people see me they say, you look good, therefore they don't understand the degree of pain that we go through from day to day.  I would really like to talk some more about this.

Nerve Pain, Community Member
5/ 4/13 4:11pm

I had a spinal fusion L5-S1 with screws and plates four screws and two plates to be exact. I was able to return back to work eleven months later pain free, about five weeks after back to work I started having pain in the surgery area. A screw broke this was in November I went in for surgery in January to have the broken screw replaced well they found another screw had broke from November to January a total of two now. New screws and plates were installed, when I woke from the surgery I had the most terrible pain that anyone could ever have. The pain was in my left leg and foot it felt as if my foot was on the sun it was burning, sharp,radiating,dull,and cold all at the same time.

I had all the hardware removed and bone was then packed in my spine, I then had Three Spine stimulators a Morphine pump and every pain meds you can think of from A to Z. This all started in 1992 when a 1800 lb piece of metal twisted me at work because a weld broke on the equipment I was using. I now take Oxycodone 5mg six a day I will not allow myself to take any more than that. So sorry but you are not alone and you do feel weird because people treat you like you are a dope head because you take pain pills.

RobertC, Community Member
5/ 6/10 9:26am

My name is Robert and i am only 25 and suffer nerve pain down both of my legs. Its a burning stabbing numbing sensation and there is nothing i can do to take it away. I ve tried everything from warm baths to narcotiv drugs. The drugs work to a certain degree but dont take it away. This pain is by far the worst pain ive ever felt in my life and it incapacitates me where i cant wallk sometimes. It akso affedts my everyday life. Im only 25 and i cant run or do any phisical activities and on top of all this my joint are bad. I dont want tio be in a wheel chair when im 30. Does anyone know if there is anything i can do about this to help make life bearable so i casn live again.

Pain, Community Member
2/ 9/10 11:45pm

I would really like to talk with you some more.  I too, am experiencing painful nerve pain.  I had two back surgeries a little over 2 years ago and I have nerve pain constantly so I quite understand what you are going through and what you are feeling.  Most people don't get it, if they have never experienced the degree of pain that I and you have had they can't possibly know.  Most people don't know how to handle someone in pain.  Please I would love to talk to you.  I have longed to talk to similar people like me but am having trouble finding people to talk to.

Living in Pain, Community Member
3/ 4/10 1:44pm

Hello, nice to meet you, I have been in pain everyday for one year from nerve pain from a botched root canal.  It is off and on all day, mostly on but it is burning, aching, twinging pain. What are you taking for your nerve pain?

I am on Tegretol but may change to Trilipital (sp). I do not know if it is getting better or if I am just tolerating it more now. I also take a lot of vitamin supplements which I think helps but who knows.

Everytime I talk about my pain I cry and I am trying to raise my daughter on my own it is so hard being in this kind of burning boring pain!

At least I can usually sleep during the night as my brain is in sleep mode but in the morning it starts all over again. I am working in pain and just want it to go away, I want my life back and I know you feel the same way. Will this ever go away, It has to, I will try anything and have tried a lot of different things and had very test imaginable. Please write back if you can.  Better days have to be coming!

Moltenlava, Community Member
8/ 7/12 5:23pm

You describe the doctors exactly even though I don't feel your pain i have nerve pain too and the doctors are cruel thank you for sharing I hear you -that is all I can say God bless

Ilovefroggies, Community Member
11/11/12 7:32am
Have had nerve pain and damage for 3 years now, I was pushed basically thrown into the kitchen bench by my exhusband. My life is unbearable at times. My sixteen yr old and 12 yr old son look after me. The medications don't really help. I spend my life at home in my recliner with my feet up drawing. I used to be an active hardworking dynamo. Now each day I cry, take tablets and stumble through life. It feels like someone has slashed my ankles and my spine then poured acid down it. I've hurt my back before doing weights but not like this, my legs tingle and burn, my insides hurt, I can't have physical affection it hurts. I'm so unable to do general every day things. I am on a disability pension and I have someone who cleans and takes me shopping. I can only drive locally, and sometimes I can't even do that. It feels like I've been kicked in between the legs with steel caps. Like childbirth, it has truly ruined my life. Reply
lizzy, Community Member
3/31/14 4:45pm

I too know the nerve pain u suffer ,lil different but pain it is.I too have been looked at like a drugee..shame on them..Nerve pain is mostly never helped by any narcotic,hell morphine gave me lil relief..My relief came 1st with high dose steroids ,about 40 mg prednisone daily..Only to finallllyy get Lyrica omg ...RELIEF. first 25 mg twice daily helped lil. Needless to say im at 75 mg 4 times a day...And im living again!!#! Thank god..hope this help

grannyof8, Community Member
10/30/08 10:58pm

I live with nerve damage in my face from having teeth pulled.  It is a horrible pain. When it hits, I would rather be dead, then to feel it.  Right now I am on 2 different types of seizure medication which helps alot.  They control the pain, but my face still goes numb sometimes and my eye burns when the neuralgia is actting up..A small price to pay for the controlling of the pain.  The neuralgia I have in my face is the worst type of pain you can have, and believe me it is true...I would not wish it on my worst enemy...Now my Dr. told me that seizure medication has been found to be very successful in treating nerve pain, also called neuralgia, and maybe you might want to bring that up on your next visit.

kenise, Community Member
9/18/09 3:12pm

Nerve pain which causes the face to become numb, sensations of burning in the eyes, and facial pain is most commonly due to Trigeminal Neuralgia.  The trigeminal nerve controls three areas of the body, in the face/jaw/neck, eyes, forehead/head/scalp.  There are several treatments.  Some doctors begin with medications to calm the nerve path, but if this doesn't work there are several surgical and non-invasive "surgical" treatments which work in great percentages of sufferers.

blossom, Community Member
11/ 1/08 3:20am

Chronic,permanent ,nerve damage -"nerve pain"-is living hell-except that you are here,no-one understands it(people don't "see" an injury-to them it doesn't exist),life as you knew it went away-you HAVE no life.

wen30, Community Member
3/16/12 5:47pm

has anyone got nerve damage from iud insertion

Annie, Community Member
7/ 7/12 7:10pm
Today is the one year anniversary of my contracting shingles. Just a few spots that cleared up quickly. But the resulting nerve pain caused by the shingles is debilitating. No words can explain the itching, stabbing, deep seated pain that has taken over my life during this time. Paracetamol/codeine and lyrical have surely helped but the doctors are reluctant to prescribe the doses to totally stop the pain because of side effects of high quantities. The pain affects all areas of my life. Pain breakthroughs have me wanting to scream when they come. They are so unbearable. I am stopped from enjoying my grandchildren who are so precious to me. I no longer do my own shopping and also now have a carer to help me with day to day needs. I am sure people don't understand how this affects me. Being unable to do anything because of the pain I am house bound. I can't drive because the suddenness of breakthrough pain spikes makes that dangerous. Basically I want my life back!!! Reply
Gilly1, Community Member
7/23/12 7:39am

7 years ago I fainted from anxiety and fell off a chair, landing hard on my left shoulder. I tore the ligaments in it and ever since have had pain, caused by nerve messages from the brain- as told by physio's- in the shoulder and down the arm into the hand. 3 years after the injury I had 7mm of collar bone shaved away to aleviate rubbing, push the bone down that was protruding and stop the pain. the latter didn't stop. Recently finished accupuncture with NHS and 4th physio treatment. more excercises, nothing works. Don't sleep well, much pain, fed up and very down with it. Affects so much in life, from driving- even an automatic is painful!- to hanging washing out and cycling! Have been told pain will go, just habit messages from brain.

Any advice will be welcomed with open arms- the right one more open though!

Plinker, Community Member
10/28/13 12:39am

Gilly what we experience in pain others cannot feel and cannot understand the intensity of it at all.  I have lived with it for over twenty eight years, cared for elderly parents, been a volunteer, done most things normal people without pain do.


I am sorry to say this and hope it does not offend anyone but pain even takes away those precious and private moments like being in your lovers arms and making love. 


What I have found that helped me somewhat is making sure my serotonin level was normal as we feel pain more if its lower, reduce stress if possible, get lots of sleep and exercise even if we don't feel like it.  Get out and around people as pain reduces your desire to be around people, this makes us more depressed.


The pain memory concept Norman Doidge is being used in many pain clinics now as when someone goes for a long or prolonged time with pain there brain develops a pain memory and snaps back to it rather than the actual injury site! If one can see that the pain is just a memory or part of the pain this can go away as the brain just deletes it as not being true any more.  Dr. Norman Doidge is on youtube and is not trying to sell anything.  I did go to a pain clinic and the doctor in charge told me they are experiment with the pain memory concept, for me it worked and reduced my pain from 12~13 to 6~7 on a 1 to 10 scale.


The comment on B12 inbterested me as well because it seems that its the sheath that may be damaged and leave nerves at risk.


Incidentally when someone asks me how I feel I tell them I am hurting like !!!!!!!!

JunkSpine, Community Member
10/28/13 3:11pm

At age 45 I took a disability retirement due to back problems and resultant depression.  My primary MD would see me each month, run his fingers through his hair and say "See you in a month".  This was the "Just say no" era and pain meds were even more scarce than they are today.  I was so angry and had no real target for the anger, hence the depression.  I was even put in the hospital one night because I told this MD I was contemplating suicide.  Then, I was even MORW angry!  I have since had 7 yes, that is seven spinal surgeries.  I have had the double whammie of degenerative disc disease and spinal arthritis.  The body spurs grew into the central canal as well as into the spinal foraminae.  They would act like scissors snipping at the spinal nerves causing the pain down arms or legs, depending on where the spurs or ruptured discs were.  


The last spinal surgery was a major rebuild of my lumbar spine with a "fixture" and screws so I am fused/stabilized from L-1 to S-1.  Was all of this surgery worth it?  YES.  It was worth it even though I am left with peripheral neuropathy and with a tethered cord in my neck.  My pain level is mostly bearable now.  Even the peripheral neuropathy is mild compared to the excruciating pain of the ruptured discs and the nerves  scissored by the bone spurs.  Even the arthritis pain pales in comparison to the pain of crushed nerves!


It took 25 years, a ton of medications, 7 spinal surgeries, 2 neurosurgeons, 2 rheumatologists, one orthopedic surgeon, a psychiatrist, a pain doctor, a handful of primary care physicians and a very supportive family and spouse to get me here.


I am now 72 years of age and in fairly good condition. I write this to urge you each to keep trying.  There may be light at the end of the tunnel for you if you keep fighting.   

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By missmari, Community Member— Last Modified: 04/09/14, First Published: 10/25/08