This Blog Covers:
- Anticonvulsants, or anti-seizure medications, are designed to treat epilepsy but may also help those suffering from neuropathy (nerve damage).
- These medications have “nerve-calming” qualities that help reduce symptoms associated with various neuropathies (i.e. diabetic neuropathy, shingles, trigeminal neuralgia).
- The pain management specialists at American Spine discuss the use of anticonvulsants for nerve pain.
Nerve damage often develops from a traumatic injury, complication after surgery, underlying condition, exposure to toxic chemicals, or for no apparent reason at all. When nerve damage is present, most patients experience uncomfortable, sometimes debilitating symptoms such as shooting or burning pain, numbness, tingling, and sensitivity to touch.
Because there is no cure or proven treatment, the pain management specialists at American Spine may recommend a number of therapies to reduce pain and discomfort from nerve damage. Some of the most common forms of treatment include nerve blocks, implantable systems, and various prescription medications like anticonvulsants.
Although the primary goal of anticonvulsants is to reduce or eliminate seizures in individuals with epilepsy, they may also be used to alleviate pain caused by nerve damage. After much testing, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of anticonvulsant medication to patients with:
- Diabetic and peripheral neuropathy (nerve pain)
- Trigeminal neuralgia (face pain)
- Migraine headaches
- Multiple sclerosis pain
- Post-stroke pain
- Spinal cord injuries
Many have wondered how anticonvulsants help nerve pain. Unfortunately, their function is still slightly misunderstood, but many physicians and scientists have speculated they interfere with the transmission of overactive pain signals from damaged nerves in the body.
Despite their appeal, anti-seizure medications should be used sparingly, if at all. These drugs can produce side effects such as fatigue, rash, headache, seizures, liver dysfunction, drowsiness, confusion, swelling in the feet and legs, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
Talk to your American Spine about anticonvulsants and other therapies for your nerve pain.
At American Spine, we are dedicated to treating chronic pain and spine conditions. Offering the latest in minimally invasive spine surgery and other effective treatment options, American Spine is the leading pain physician group of California. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call us at (951)-734-PAIN (7246).
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.