Common pain is a reaction to any sort of detrimental stimulus that teaches us not to repeat the action that caused the pain in the first place. Neuropathic pain is very distinct from every other type of pain a patient may experience. Neuropathic pain, or chronic pain, is not a symptom of another disease, but is itself the disease. Usually if there is pain in any part of the body, nerves from there send signals to the brain about that pain. But when the nerves are damaged, they cause pain all the time.
The delivery of pain will be along a particular peripheral nerve or groups of peripheral nerves. Neuropathic pain can be distinguished from common pain by a neurologist, who is expert in knowing the difference.
Common characteristics of neuropathic pain are severe pain, profound burning sensation, weakness, lack of sensation, and itchy sensation. In general, such pain develops in a glove format, meaning that it starts in the fingers and progresses to the palms, then the arms, and so on. Sharp pains are caused not only by normal injuries, but also to minor ones that people without neuropathy would hardly notice. In chronic pain patients, the affected part of the body is often hypersensitive, so that if they were pricked with a pin on the affected area, they would experience intolerable pain.
Neuropathic pain may be caused by shingles, diabetes, or limb amputation. In the last of these, the patient feels pain in a leg or arm that is no longer attached to them. This is known as a phantom limb. Neuropathic pain can also result from failed back surgery. Normally, after a few days, the patient feels the pain, and in most cases it is persistent and gets worse by the day.
Neuropathic pain can be dangerous. For example, if a part of the patients body is numb, the patient would not feel the pain even if he/she gets hurt. One must be careful to check the numb parts for injuries, or else further injuries could result.