In a new study, British scientists have discovered that one of the most widespread and difficult-to-treat pain conditions, Nerve pain, was found to be eliminated by knocking out a gene in mice. This novel discovery could pave the way for the development of new therapeutic drugs to treat chronic, long-lasting, relentless pain.
Chronic pain affects one in every five Canadians. The factors causing pain could be numerous, including inflammatory conditions such as arthritis or low back pain. However, neuropathic pain is considered to be the most uncontrollable and worst of all pains. It is characterized by burning, shooting, or stabbing pain caused by damaged nerves and can last for a lifetime.
Neuropathic pain affects a wide variety of people including those living with diabetes, shingles, and multiple sclerosis. Surgery, or cancer chemotherapy, are triggers of neuropathic pain, which is reported to be so excruciating even in response to the lightest touch. For instance: even wearing clothes becomes a painful task.
Current available therapies are only capable of treating nearly one-third of all neuropathic pains.
Head of the pharmacology department at the University of Cambridge, Peter McNaughton, said: “In many cases, they provide basically no alleviation at all.”
Although a nerve injury may trigger neuropathic pain, what exactly the injury does to cause permanent pain continues to be a mystery.