Nerve pain often untreated

By Deborah Condon

As many as one in five people with diabetes go on to develop a type of chronic pain which is difficult to recognise. As a result, many are left untreated, a leading pain specialist has warned.

According to Dr Declan O'Keeffe of St Vincent's hospital in Dublin, up to 20% of people with diabetes develop neuropathic pain, also known as nerve pain. However Ireland's growing diabetes problem is expected to make the condition even more common in the future.

The pain can also be triggered by surgery, multiple sclerosis, shingles and AIDS.

"Neuropathic pain is hard to recognise and many patients have gone untreated, but as we learn more about the condition, new cases are being identified all the time", Dr O'Keeffe explained.

Those affected experience a shooting, stabbing, burning sensation. This can leave sufferers struggling to cope with even basic daily activities. Due to a lack of outward symptoms however, doctors can find it difficult to diagnose. However treatments are improving.

"Growing knowledge has led to the development of treatments better able to provide superior relief. This could potentially return patients' lives to the way they were before the recurring pain interfered with work, sleep and personal activities, such as parenting", said Dr O'Keeffe.

GPs can provide advice on the latest treatments for different types of chronic pain and can also refer patients on to specialist services if necessary, he added.

Comments

Dean(PRK27583) - 22/04/2005 12:50

Nerve pain is something that often disguises other MS symptoms. For years, nerve pain radiating into my legs was diagnosed as a spinal problem resulting in 8 surgical procedures, implantation of two internal nerve stimulators, etc. When "dead certain" MS symptoms appeared, then the Docs finally admitted that some of the surgery may not have been necessary. I thank Irish Health for their insights into this difficult problem.

Anonymous - 06/09/2005 11:09

please can you advise of treatments for throbbing pain on the outside of my leg. i have seen my g.p. and they have said i need to walk more often!

Anonymous - 04/10/2005 17:00

please help! coming from the US, i have been on hydrocodone for osteo and DDD. what is a comparable drug here? i cannot take any type of true opiates and i'm at a loss....please help!

teresa(FIA39701) - 04/01/2006 21:46

would a neurologist be the person to diagnose chronic pain due to nerve pain eg. shooting, stabbing and burning sensations

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