Neuropathic pain is a type of chronic pain that is caused by damage to one or several nerves that send signals to the brain. When the nerves are compromised, you may experience symptoms such as numbness, tingling, or a burning sensation, which are indicative of nerves not working as they should.
A thorough medical history and physical examination are essential for diagnosing neuropathic pain and its underlying cause. There are many potential causes for neuropathic pain, the most common being diabetes, infection, autoimmune disease, and aggressive treatments for certain medical conditions.
If you are experiencing symptoms of neuropathic pain, here are some of the tests your doctor may use to diagnose your condition.
Review of Your Medical History
Doctors will be looking at any previous injuries or illnesses that you have had that may have resulted in nerve damage. They will also ask about any medications that you are currently taking or other treatments you are on that can contribute to the condition. The doctor will also ask you to describe your symptoms, where they occur, and what causes them to worsen.
This type of test is used to assess how well the nervous system can detect different types of stimuli, such as touch, temperature, and pain. The doctor will ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 1-10 and will then use a variety of stimuli to see how you respond. If the response is abnormal, it may be indicative of neuropathic pain.
Nerve Conduction Test (NCS)
During an NCS, electrical impulses are passed through electrodes placed on the skin over the affected area. The electrical impulses stimulate the nerves and cause them to fire off signals. The resulting response is then measured and recorded. NCS can help doctors determine the speed and strength of nerve signals.
EMG is a procedure used to assess muscle response and the nerve cells that control them, also known as the motor neurons. A small needle is inserted into the muscle, and electrical activity is monitored as the patient contracts the muscle. Abnormalities in EMG results may indicate a neuromuscular disorder, such as neuropathic pain.
Both the nerve conduction test and electromyography test determine if there is dysfunction in the nerves and muscles. Doctors may also order imaging tests to correlate the findings of the tests.
These tests help doctors visualize structures within the body and look for abnormalities that may be causing neuropathic pain. Examples include X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, which can show a herniated disc, pinched nerve, swelling, or tumor that may be causing the symptoms.
Neuropathic Pain Diagnosis and Treatment at NIVA Health
The experienced healthcare providers at NIVA Health specialize in providing natural and cutting-edge treatments for patients suffering from neuropathic pain. Our goal is to help improve your symptoms with therapies that are non-invasive, non-surgical, and pain-free, so you can focus on living your best life. NIVA Health has a neuropathy program that we individualize to each patient. To schedule an appointment with one of our providers, call our NIVA Health location nearest you or use our convenient online appointment request form.