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Neuropathic Pain leaflet

We are delighted to announce that our popular booklet on neuropathic pain has been revised and reprinted, thanks to an award from Foundation Scotland.

The booklet, originally written by Dr John Lee, has been revised and updated by Dr Alan Fayaz, Consultant in Chronic Pain Medicine, Anaesthesia and Perioperative Care at the University College London Hospitals NHS Trust.

This booklet starts by addressing the causes of neuropathic pain, from the more common causes, such as nerve damage and entrapment, diabetes or post-herpetic neuralgia (pain after shingles); to less common causes, such as trigeminal neuralgia (a form of facial pain), multiple sclerosis, phantom limb pain or pain related to cancer or cancer treatment.

There is an extensive section on the drug treatments available for people with neuropathic pain, and why standard painkillers, such as paracetamol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (e.g. ibuprofen) and simple opioid drugs (e.g. codeine) are often not effective in treating neuropathic pain. In some cases, antidepressants like amitriptyline and antiepileptics like those in the gabapentinoid family (such as gabapentin and pregabalin) are prescribed instead, as they are found to be more effective in a lot of cases. This revised booklet does, however, mention the recent law classification changes to gabapentin and pregabalin, which are a common treatment for people with neuropathic pain, and how these changes might affect the people who find these drugs effective. This was a subject Pain Concern delved into more deeply in programme 114 of Airing Pain, ‘You, Your Drugs, and the Law: Gabapentinoids & Medicinal Cannabis’, also funded by the Foundation Scotland grant.

The final section of the booklet studies non-drug treatments for neuropathic pain. Many people with neuropathic pain find standard pain management techniques are not as applicable to their pain (a subject which Tina from goes into in a lot of detail in the issue 73 of Pain Matters magazine). Drs Lee and Fayaz look at pain self-management techniques for people with neuropathic pain, as well as other non-drug treatments such as physiotherapy, pain management programmes and stimulation procedures like TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) and PENS (percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), where an electrical signal is used to stimulate the nerves.

The revised leaflet has been published on our website and we welcome your comments. We are extremely grateful to the Trigeminal Neuralgia Association UK and the Shingles Support Society for their support and collaboration in the publication of this leaflet.

You can read the full leaflet here.

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I’ve tried all the anti-epileptic drugs but they just make me a zombie in day. My PN has moved through from cramps, spasms in both lower legs to acute “sunburn” pain when laying down. Interrupting sleep. I am on 20mg Fluoxetine which has helped with cold hands & feet. I should be on hypertension meds but everything tried by my GP has an adverse effect. So co-codamol, Voltarol, Deep Heat & in middle of night Deep Freeze cream, sunburn lotion & more co-codol. But eventually burning pain in legs mainly to front & side wake me up. I’ve a referral letter to see a Specialist privately but have no idea where to go. NY I am going for walk every day.

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