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Current Neuropharmacology

Editor-in-Chief

ISSN (Print): 1570-159X
ISSN (Online): 1875-6190

Painful Peripheral Neuropathies

Author(s): P. Marchettini, M. Lacerenza, E. Mauri and C. Marangoni

Volume 4, Issue 3, 2006

Page: [175 - 181] Pages: 7

DOI: 10.2174/157015906778019536

Price: $65

Abstract

Peripheral neuropathies are a heterogeneous group of diseases affecting peripheral nerves. The causes are multiple: hereditary, metabolic, infectious, inflammatory, toxic, traumatic. The temporal profile includes acute, subacute and chronic conditions. The majority of peripheral neuropathies cause mainly muscle weakness and sensory loss, positive sensory symptoms and sometimes pain. When pain is present, however, it is usually extremely intense and among the most disabling symptoms for the patients. In addition, the neurological origin of the pain is often missed and patients receive inadequate or delayed specific treatment. Independently of the disease causing the peripheral nerve injury, pain originating from axonal pathology or ganglionopathy privileges neuropathies affecting smaller fibres, a clinical observation that points towards abnormal activity within nociceptive afferents as a main generator of pain. Natural activation of blood vessels or perineurial nociceptive network by pathology also causes intense pain. Pain of this kind, i.e. nerve trunk pain, is among the heralding symptoms of inflammatory or ischemic mononeuropathy and for its intensity represents itself a medical emergency. Neuropathic pain quality rekindles the psychophysical experience of peripheral nerves intraneural microstimulation i.e. a combination of large and small fibres sensation temporally distorted compared to physiological perception evoked by natural stimuli. Pins and needles, burning, cramping mixed with numbness, and tingling are the wording most used by patients. Nociceptive pain instead is most often described as aching, deep and dull. Good command of peripheral nerve anatomy and pathophysiology allows timely recognition of the different pain components and targeted treatment, selected according to intensity, type and temporal profile of the pain.

Keywords: Pain, neuropathic, polyneuropathy, small fibres neuropathy, diabetic neuropathy, post herpetic neuralgia, paraneoplastic polyneuropathy, hereditary neuropathy


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