Purpose of review: The purpose of this review is to provide an update on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of neuropathic pain. Recent findings: Neuropathic pain can be debilitating, leading to poor quality of life and functional status. Neuropathic pain results from numerous mechanisms of nerve injury including infectious diseases, complication of medical diseases, and mechanical damage. As a result of the lack of class I evidence for the treatment of numerous neuropathic pain conditions, those diseases without such evidence are often managed, as though neuropathic pain is a singular condition. In diseases such as diabetes, HIV, and herpes infections, the resultant neuropathic pain is often modifiable with prevention strategies. In one of the more prevalent neuropathic pain conditions, radiculopathy, the commonly used treatments lack sufficient evidence to explain their widespread use. Summary: The literature reveals that neuropathic pain is underdiagnosed and often undertreated or treated with ineffective or untested modalities. Evolving definitions of neuropathic pain has broadened the range of therapeutic approaches and brought current treatment paradigms under increased scrutiny. The lack of a mechanism-based approach to treatment may be responsible for the lackluster responses seen in most neuropathic pain conditions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine