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Neuropathic pain and stress: how are they linked?

Jun 27, 2023

Neuropathic pain and stress are two phenomena that can have a significant impact on an individual's quality of life . Although these two conditions may seem distinct, recent research suggests that they may be closely related. This article looks at the underlying mechanisms of this relationship, based on recent scientific research. We provide you with PUBMED links which allow you to find all the articles at the end of the text.

Understanding neuropathic pain

Neuropathic pain is a form of chronic pain that results from an injury or disease affecting the somatosensory system. It is often associated with neurodegenerative pathologies such as Parkinson's disease. Patients with neuropathic pain may experience a variety of symptoms , including severe pain, increased sensitivity to pain, or pain in response to stimuli that are not normally painful; this is called allodynia. Often these patients are also followed in pain centers , where the care can be multidisciplinary and accompanied by paramedical care.
The somatosensory system is a complex network of sensory sensors and nerve pathways in the body that allow individuals to perceive different physical sensations. These sensations include pressure, temperature, pain, touch, and perception of our body's position and movements. This information is collected by sensory receptors in the skin, muscles, joints and is transmitted to the brain for interpretation. Thus, the somatosensory system plays an essential role in our interaction with our environment and in the control of our movements.

Stress and its impact on the nervous system

Stress is a biological response to perceived challenges or threats. It can have both beneficial and harmful effects on the body . In the context of neuropathic pain, stress can make pain worse by increasing inflammation and changing the way the body perceives pain. Additionally, chronic stress can also contribute to central sensitization, a phenomenon that makes the nervous system more reactive to pain. This phenomenon of central sensitization is also found as one of the mechanisms of migraine. Read the Migraine Guide if you want to know more.

Link between neuropathic pain and stress

Recent research has begun to reveal how neuropathic pain and stress may be linked . One study showed that stress can increase pain sensitivity by changing the activity of neurons in the spinal cord . Additionally, stress can also increase the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines , which may contribute to neuropathic pain. Another study found that neuropathic pain can itself induce chronic stress , creating a vicious cycle. Researchers have found that neuropathic pain can disrupt the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which plays a key role in the stress response . This disruption can lead to increased chronic stress, which in turn can worsen neuropathic pain.

Implications for treatment

Understanding the link between neuropathic pain and stress may have important implications for treatment . For example, interventions that reduce stress, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or meditation, could be beneficial for patients with neuropathic pain. Additionally, medications that target inflammatory pathways might also be helpful.Natural treatments against stress like HERBA MIG are also being studied in research against neuropathic pain .


Neuropathic pain and stress are two conditions that can have a significant impact on quality of life . Although they may seem distinct, recent research suggests that they are closely related . Understanding this link may help develop new treatment strategies for people suffering from these conditions.

https://actaneurocomms.biomedcentral.com/counter/pdf/10.1186/s40478-021-01131-8.pdf https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1744806919840098 https://pubmed.ncbi. nlm.nih.gov/30857460/ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28325815/

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