Neuropathic Pain Prevention
Since the most common cause of chronic pain, including neuropathic pain, is primarily due to neglected, ignored, or inadequately treated acute pain, prevention is accomplished by treating acute pain before it can become chronic. Therefore, the prevention of neuropathic pain is by aggressively treating acute syndromes that result from trauma and injury, burns, chemical exposure, fractures, nerve compression, and other painful sources.
Acute nerve compression can be relieved surgically to prevent further pain. Medication can mitigate acute pain’s severity so that the spinal inhibitory pathways don’t become overwhelmed, setting up the dominoes that fall to result in chronic pain.
Any acute inflammation associated with injury, while serving as part of the healing process, can continue past its welcome and usefulness to result in neuropathic pain, so any inflammatory conditions that last beyond what is expected in an injury or infection should be cooled down with non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or corticosteroids.
Some complications of injury result in pain syndromes that are hard to explain or treat, such as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), which causes expanding areas of pain, motor dysfunction, and other manifestations. Early mobilization (physical therapy) after a limb injury may prevent CRPS. Nerve blocks may pause its progression, and behavioral therapy is useful to limit its impact or longevity.
Treatment of hopelessness is important in neuropathic pain, since a chronic pain syndrome can jeopardize relationships and threaten employment and income. The pain experience is consuming, but adding divorce and other estrangements and stopping the flow of income and support will severely impact anyone’s coping skills negatively, making the vicious cycle of pain-depression-pain spiral down more viciously. Because of the codependent nature of pain and the changes in the brain ic creates, treating neuropathic pain physically and the social and financial deterioration it causes, psychologically, at the same time, is the best way to prevent worsening of an already-challenging situation.