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Neuropathic pain: diagnosis and treatment


Neuropathic pain (NP) develops as a consequence of a lesion or disease affecting the somatosensory pathways in the peripheral or central nervous system, and occurs in many neurological diseases (eg, peripheral neuropathy, radiculopathy, spinal cord injury, stroke and multiple sclerosis). It affects 6%–8% of the general population and its impact on quality of life, mood and sleep exceeds the burden of its causative pathology. A peculiar feature of NP is the coexistence of negative and positive symptoms and signs, reflecting loss-of-function and gain-of-function of the somatosensory system, respectively. NP has long been considered a difficult clinical issue because of the lack of a diagnostic gold standard and the unsatisfactory response to treatment. In recent years, a redefinition, diagnostic algorithm, and some guidelines on diagnosis and treatment of NP have been published. This review offers an updated overview on the definition, pathophysiology, clinical evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of NP and focuses on some of the most frequent NP conditions. We intend to help overcome uncertainties on NP and bridge the gap between evidence based medicine and the real clinical world.

  • Neuropathic pain
  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment
  • Assessment
  • Pathophysiology

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