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Chronic neuropathic, 'phantom' pain comes from affected nerve and spinal cord, not brain

ther possibility may be to suppress the immune system for the initial five days after injury. This may curtail the inflammation associated with peripheral nerves that appears to trigger many aspects of neuropathic pain.

  • According to lead author Sridhar Balasubramanyan: "Clearly, what needs to be done now is to go back to the periphery and concentrate on finding what physiological mechanisms might be at work closer to the removed part or the original injury site, as in cases of diabetic neuropathy, shingles and surgery."
  • The whole issue of treating chronic and neuropathic pain continues to mystify clinicians and researchers, Smith noted. For instance "opiates work well in almost all cases of regular pain, but morphine is of limited use in chronic pain."

A recent article in Psychiatric Times by Steven A. King reported that while the "apparent neuropathic nature of phantom limb pain (PLP) would suggest that antidepressants, anticonvulsants and similar medications would be most efficaciousmost (PLP) patients are treated with acetaminophen, nonsteroidal antiinflammatories and opioids." A survey article by M.A. Hanley and associates found that just over half of PLP patients, and over one-third of severe PLSP patients, "had never been treated" at all for their pain.


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Contact: Mayer Resnick
mresnick@the-aps.org
301-634-7209
American Physiological Society
5-Jun-2006


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