Treatments for Neurological Pain
There are two types of pain associated with damage to the nervous system (neuropathic pain):
- Peripheral neuropathic pain that is located in nerves outside the spinal cord (e.g. in diabetics, amputees)
- central neuropathic pain that originates in the brain or spinal cord (e.g. following a stroke or spinal cord injury causing paraplegia).
Usually, people with this type of pain describe it as electric shocks, twinging, burning, tingling or itching, or hypersensitivity to heat or cold. They may be caused by muscle weakness or persistent muscle contraction and are felt intensely at night.
There are a wide range of pain relievers or analgesics available to help reduce the pain that occurs when tissue is damaged, such as when a fall, cut or osteoarthritis problem occurs. Neuropathic pain, on the other hand, is treated differently and your doctor may suggest pharmacological treatment with various types of medications such as certain antidepressants (amitriptiline or duloxetine) or anti-epileptic drugs (gabapentin or pregabalin). Some opiates (tramadol, morphine) may also help relieve pain, but their use is controversial. Some over-the-counter creams containing capsaicin or lidocaine are other options.
In addition to medication, approaches such as motor imagery and mirror therapy can be used to try to teach the brain to process information and transform the processing of stimuli that trigger neuropathic pain. Dr. Murielle Grangeon, PhD, the founder of Neuro-Concept, has written a book on the use of motor imagery with neurological clients. Mirror therapy is a rehabilitation therapy in which a mirror is placed between the arms or legs so that the image of a moving unaffected limb gives the illusion of normal movement in the affected limb. Through this configuration, different areas of the brain for movement, sensation and pain are stimulated.
During your visit to the Neuro-Concept centre, our therapists will ask you detailed information about your pain in order to identify it. The team will also assess your abilities to see which therapy would best meet your needs. Taking medication can sometimes cause side effects such as dizziness or fatigue. We take into consideration all the elements that can influence your condition at the time of therapy.