Expert consensus recommends exercise intervention for managing neuropathic pain

Neuropathic pain (NP), is a disruptive symptom associated with many diseases, which results in restricted physical function, anxiety, and depression. A recent systematic review and expert consensus published in Frontiers of Medicine has reported that exercise is very helpful in alleviating the intensity of neuropathic pain.

The newer expert recommendation highlights the need to consider proper exercise programs as an effective treatment alternative or complementary therapy in patients with NP.

NP is defined as the disease of the somatosensory nervous system or pain driven by a lesion. The symptoms of NP include evoked pain, spontaneous pain, aftersensation, hyperalgesia, which could result in impaired motor function and quality of life, anxiety, and depression.

The incidence of NP is reported to be around 50% in subjects with spinal cord injury and 21% in patients with diabetic neuropathy. It is reported to be predominant in the female population with chronic NP. Treatment of chronic NP is often challenging, as it is marked by hyperalgesia or pain induced by stimuli (allodynia).

Traditional pharmacological therapy is not sufficient to alleviate NP and it may cause anticholinergic/opioid-related adverse effects, cardiac conduction block, or sedation.

There are very few guidelines and reviews evaluating the role of exercise therapy in managing NP associated with specific diseases. The present expert consensus may help medical staff and policymakers to develop ideal intervention/ treatment plan-based exercise for managing symptoms associated with peripheral neuropathy.