2021-06-22T14:11:12-06:00June 25th, 2022|

Neurologists can help patients treat neuropathic pain, which is pain caused by a nervous system injury or illness.

This shooting, burning pain can be managed with non-narcotic medications. Dr. Jesus Martinez works closely with patients to find the right medication dosage and schedule to address their concerns.

Helping patients deal with chronic pain is one of the biggest challenges doctors face. It’s also one of the most important things they can do to improve quality of life.

Pain is one of the top reasons patients see their primary care doctor. There are also specialists who can help with many types of pain. For certain types of pain, the best option is a neurologist.

Neurologist Jesus Martinez, MD, sees patients at Regional One Health’s East Campus. He said neurologists help educate patients about different forms of pain relief. They focus on helping patients understand what type of medicine works best for various types of pain.

“A neurologist can help you navigate that,” Dr. Martinez said. “That’s the art, not the science, of medicine. We help the patient find a strategy to get the most out of the medicine.”

Dr. Martinez said neuropathic pain is the most common type of pain neurologists treat.

Neuropathic pain is caused by an injury or illness that damages the nervous system. The pain is described as shooting or burning. It can be severe and continuous.

Neuropathic pain is caused by an injury or illness that damages the nervous system. It can have a significant impact on quality of life.

A variety of conditions can cause neuropathic pain, Dr. Martinez said:

  • Diabetes
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Bulging disc or pinched nerve
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Alcoholism
  • Thyroid disease

Spine surgery, amputation and chemotherapy can also result in neuropathic pain.

Dr. Martinez said diagnosing neuropathic pain takes careful analysis. He asks several questions: what the pain feels like, what triggers it, when it occurs, etc. He may do blood or nerve tests. There is also a comprehensive physical examination.

From there, Dr. Martinez looks to find the right medication at the right dose to help the patient find relief. “For a lot of patients, ibuprofen or other over-the-counter medication isn’t going to do anything,” he said. “This is where neuropathic pain medication works.”

The options vary based on the type and severity of the pain. Anticonvulsants such as Gabapentin and Lyrica are one option. Antidepressants like Cymbalta are also shown to relieve nerve pain. Various painkillers, topical treatments and combinations of treatments can also help.

Dr. Martinez helps patients find the right medication at the right dose to treat their pain – something that is as much art as science.

Dr. Martinez said one of the most important steps is helping patients find the right dose. The goal is to ease pain while minimizing side effects.

He said neurologists also counsel patients on drug interactions and how to take their medication, i.e. what time of day, with or without food, frequency, etc.

For some patients, medication may not help. Dr. Martinez said neurologists typically refer these patients to pain management doctors.

“In general, neurologists don’t perform procedures,” he said. “After you see a pain management doctor for a procedure, the neurologist can then help you with pain relief medication, including a variety of non-narcotic options.”

Dr. Martinez helps patients with a wide variety of neurological issues at the East Campus, 6555 Quince Rd. For an appointment, call 901-515-3150 or visit regionalonehealth.org/appointments.

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