Neuropathic Pain

Chronic pain disorders caused as a consequence of a lesion or by disease

Nerver compression - Damaged nerve through compression, entrapment, bruising or stretching

Nerve compression

Damaged nerve through

  • Compression ( e.g. shifted disks)
  • Entrapment
  • Sections
  • Bruising or stretching


Neuropathic pain is relatively common, occurring in about 1% of the population1. Neuropathic pain syndromes are chronic pain disorders caused as a consequence of a lesion or by disease of the parts of the nervous system that normally signal pain.

The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines neuropathic pain as ‘a pain arising as a direct consequence of a lesion or disease affecting the somatosensory system’2. Chronic neuropathic pain is common in clinical practice, and it greatly impairs the quality of life of patients.

Neuropathic pain is often persistent and the quality of the pain sensation can differ from that of nociceptive pain3. Clinically, neuropathic pain is a multidimensional phenomenon that can vary in intensity, location, time pattern, and quality.

A distinction is made between stimulus-evoked pain (e.g. by movement or touch) and spontaneous (stimulus-independent) pain which can be either constant or intermittent. Causes for neuropathic pain might be postherpetic neuralgia, diabetes, HIV, trigeminal neuralgia, cancer, back pain and surgery4.

It might also happen that nociceptive and neuropathic pain simultaneously occur. A good example is back pain, where injured nerves might cause the pain (e. g. entrapment) and in addition strong hardening are present.

1 Stacey BR. Management of peripheral neuropathic pain. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2005;84:S4-16. Eng

2 IASP. International Association for the Study of Pain | IASP Taxonomy, 2011. (Accessed May 2, 2011, at…isplay.cfm&ContentID=1728).

3 Backonja MM, Stacey B. Neuropathic pain symptoms relative to overall pain rating. J Pain 2004;5:491–7. eng.

4 Hansson P. Neuropathic pain, Pathophysiology and treatment. Seattle, WA: IASP Press, 2001. x, 277. ISBN: 9780931092381.