Contemporary Management of Neuropathic Pain for the Primary Care PhysicianNeuropathic pain (NP), caused by a primary lesion or dysfunction in the nervous system, affects approximately 4 million people in the United States each year. It is associated with many diseases, including diabetic peripheral neuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia, human immunodeficiency virus-related disorders, and chronic radiculopathy. Major pathophysiological mechanisms include peripheral sensitization, sympathetic activation, disinhibition, and central sensitization. Unlike most acute pain conditions, NP is extremely difficult to treat successfully with conventional analgesics.
Complex Regional Pain SyndromeComplex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), formerly known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy, is a regional, posttraumatic, neuropathic pain problem that most often affects 1 or more limbs. Like most medical conditions, early diagnosis and treatment increase the likelihood of a successful outcome. Accordingly, patients with clinical signs and symptoms of CRPS after an injury should be referred immediately to a physician with expertise in evaluating and treating this condition. Physical therapy is the cornerstone and first-line treatment for CRPS.