The Most Common Causes of Nerve Pain Explained


People from all walks of life have suffered from at least one kind of nerve pain in their lifetime. For most, it is a symptom of an underlying condition that may vary from viral infections like shingles to more severe diseases like cancer.

Nerve Pain: Forms of Neuropathy and Their Causes

Neuropathy is often described as the disorder of malfunctioning nerves. It is a condition that takes many forms, but one thing is certain: it always comes with pain. While it may vary in intensity, the neuropathic pain that comes with it remains as a frustrating symptom.

There are several causes and forms of neuropathy. Diabetes is one of the most common diseases that result in nerve pain as the high levels of blood sugar in the body tend to injure the nerves. Below are the different types of neuropathic pain based on the disease, injury, or condition that caused them:

  1. Toxic

Neuropathy that comes in toxic form is often caused by exposure to or ingestion of a strong drug or chemical. Patients undergoing chemotherapy often experience this kind of nerve pain, which medical experts refer to as chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). This type of nerve pain often comes in the form of tingling and burning sensations as well as numbness and loss of control over motor skills. Sometimes, people who suffer from CIPN also lose control of their passing of urine.

Aside from chemo, toxic never pain also happens when a person is exposed to mercury, thallium, or lead. Sometimes, those who consumed alcohol also suffer peripheral neuropathy, making them lose control over their motor skills.

  1. Trauma

Nerve pain caused by trauma is often experienced by people who suffered from severe injury or had medical interventions. Also referred to as post-traumatic neuropathy, this kind of nerve pain begins at the spot where the injury occurred and radiates outwards. Injuries that can cause this kind of nerve pain include stab wounds, muscle tears, and blunt force.

  1. Compressive

As the name indicates, compressive pain often occurs when a nerve is “pinched.” This means the uncomfortable pressure is being applied to the affected nerve, causing pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness to radiate from the pressure point. The best example of this kind of neuropathy is sciatica pain, a condition where the nerve located close to the spine’s base is compressed. The pain then spreads from the base of the spine to the buttocks, thighs, and knees, and may even reach as low as the person’s toes.

  1. Autoimmune

Autoimmune disorders, like vasculitis, also cause nerve pain. In the case of vasculitis, the blood vessels are inflamed, causing the nerves linked to it to experience neuropathy. In some cases, autoimmune nerve pain is also a result of the malfunctioning antibodies in the immune system.

  1. Metabolic

Nerve pain caused by diseases like diabetes is considered metabolic. Considered as the most popular of all forms of neuropathy, diabetic peripheral neuropathy is the result of high sugar levels in the blood that damage the nerves. Other symptoms include lack of control over urine passing, weakness, and gastric issues.

This kind of nerve pain also causes numbness on the feet which often causes the person to not notice injuries in the lower extremities, leaving them untreated.

  1. Infectious

As the name suggests, this type of nerve pain is caused by infections. Post-herpetic neuralgia, the nerve damage caused by shingles, is arguably the most common example of this kind of neuropathy and is characterized by lingering pain even after the rashes caused by the infection has passed.

  1. Congenital

Nerve pain may also be a result of congenital abnormalities like the Fabry disease, a condition where a specific gene is mutated and causes a build-up of fat that damage cells. Fortunately, this condition is rare as only one in 60,000 men or one in 40,000 women are affected in the United States.

For more information about neuropathy and nerve pain, visit