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Neuropathic Pain

What is neuropathic pain? 

Neuropathic pain happens when the nerves in your body are irritated or damaged.  

The body’s nerves carry messages about what your body is experiencing back to the brain. They let your body know if the pain is sharp or dull.  

The sensations you feel when your arm or leg go to sleep are a type of neuropathic pain. This type of pain is annoying, but it usually goes away quickly. 

But neuropathic pain can happen: 

  • When nerves are cut or stretched 
  • If a tumor or swelling puts pressure on a nerve 
  • After limb salvage/sparing procedures 
  • After certain types of chemotherapy or radiation 

How neuropathic pain feels 

Depending on your child’s age, they might describe neuropathic pain as: 

  • Stabbing 
  • Shooting 
  • Tight 

If your child is younger, they may not use these words. They may cry or say something “it hurts.”  

Neuropathic pain can be constant. Or it can come and go, depending on the time of day. Sometimes it is worse at night or when your child is trying to sleep. 

If your child is experiencing neuropathic pain, let your care team know. There are treatment options that can help. 

Neuropathic pain treatment 

Your child’s doctor and care team can help find the best type of medicine for their pain. Depending on your child’s situation, these may be given in addition to other pain medicines. 

Some of the medicines your child might be given include: 

All these medicines will take 3 to 5 days to begin relieving pain.  

Your child should continue taking any other medicines as prescribed unless their doctor tells you to make changes. 

Other neuropathic pain relief options 

These options might relieve neuropathic pain: 

These are not a substitute for medicines. But they may help your child with pain. 

Key Points

  • Neuropathic pain happens when the nerves in your body are irritated or damaged.  
  • It can be the result of surgeries, swelling, tumors, or other serious health conditions. 
  • Your child’s care team can help with neuropathic pain treatment. 
  • Your child should take any medicines exactly as prescribed. 
  • Talk to your child’s care team if you have questions or concerns. 

Reviewed: September 2022