Damage to or dysfunction in the nervous system, injuries, and nutritional deficiencies can cause burning sensations. Treatments are helpful in ...
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burning sensation is a particular type of pain distinct from dull, stabbing, or
aching pains. A burning kind of pain is often related to nerves, but there are
many other potential causes. Injuries, natural wear and tear, infections, and
autoimmune disorders all have the potential to cause nerve damage and pain.
Many causes of a burning sensation have no cure, but treatments are helpful in
controlling the pain.
Causes of Burning Sensation
One of the most prevalent reasons for
burning pain in the body is damage or dysfunction in the nervous system. This
includes the central nervous system, the brain and spine, but also the peripheral nerves that run
throughout the body. Several different types of nerve and spine conditions
cause burning pain as a symptom.
or a pinched nerve in
the spine, is a natural part of aging. It causes burning pain in some
cases, but not all.
- Cervical spondylosis is
also a result of aging. Wear and tear on the neck bones and cartilage
cause this condition and chronic neck pain.
- Herniated disk occurs
when a disk in the spine slips out of place.
- Mononeuropathy is
any damage to a single nerve or group of nerves. It causes pain in that
part of the body. Examples include carpal tunnel syndrome, which causes
pain in the wrist, ulnar nerve dysfunction,
which causes pain in the arm, and sciatica,
which affects a nerve running down the legs.
- Peripheral neuropathy affects
any peripheral nerve in the body and is a common source of pain. It’s most
often caused by diabetes. When at least two nerves or areas are affected,
as can happen in leprosy,
it’s called mononeuritis multiplex.
- Central pain syndrome refers
to damage to the nerves in the central nervous system. There are many
causes including tumors, epilepsy, spine damage, stroke,
and Parkinson’s disease.
- Neuralgia is burning
pain along a nerve caused by irritation to that nerve. It can be caused by
infections like shingles, chemical irritants, pressure from bones or
tumors, trauma, or diabetes.
- Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the nervous
system. It’s characterized by damage to the protective material that
surrounds nerve cells and causes a variety of symptoms, including burning
injuries, and traumas are other possible causes of burning sensations.
- Whiplash is an
injury that causes pain in the soft tissues of the neck. It’s caused by a
sudden whipping motion, such as that caused by a car accident.
- Stings and bites from
insects or animals that are venomous, such as snakes, produce a burning
sensation at the affected area.
- Frostbite occurs when skin
and the tissue under it freezes. Before numbness sets in, frostbite
produces a burning sensation.
nutritional deficiencies can also include burning pain as a symptom.
are other potential causes of a burning sensation in different parts of the
- Rosacea is a skin
condition that produces redness that can sometimes feel hot.
- Canker sores are ulcers of the mouth, sometimes caused by a virus, that feel painful.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is chronic acid reflux that causes burning
pain in the esophagus.
- Peripheral vascular disease is a disorder of blood circulation that can cause
burning pain because of damaged veins.
Treatments for Burning
How a burning sensation is treated depends
on the underlying cause. Regardless of how that condition is treated, the pain
can be controlled with over-the-counter or prescription painkillers and
anti-inflammatory medications. Damage in the spine is treated with pain
medications or steroid injections or with surgical procedures.
the nerve pain of neuralgia or neuropathy, treatment depends on the cause of the
nerve damage, or irritation. Treatments may include painkillers, physical
therapy to improve range of motion, care for diabetes or shingles, steroid
injections to reduce swelling, or the surgical removal of a tumor. There is no
cure for multiple sclerosis, but certain medications can slow down the
disease’s progression and control symptoms.
and traumas are treated in different ways. For whiplash, rest and a collar to prevent neck movement
may help. Venomous bites can be treated with anti-venom. Frostbite is treated
with warmth, but may require surgical removal of tissue in severe
cases. Nutritional deficiencies can be treated with supplements and dietary
changes. Hypoparathyroidism requires a
long-term treatment plan with calcium supplements.
Rosacea can’t be
cured, but can be treated with medications as well as lifestyle and dietary
changes. Canker sores often don’t
require treatment, as they go away after a few days. Topical medicines can
reduce the pain of the sores in the meantime. GERD can
be treated with medications, and can also be surgically corrected. Peripheral vascular disease is
typically treated with lifestyle changes and medications, but surgery is also
Outlook for Burning Sensation
conditions that cause a burning sensation have no cure, but treatments can make
a big difference. Medications are helpful in reducing pain and inflammation in
many conditions. For nutritional deficiencies, changing your diet can correct
the problem. MS can’t be cured and may either go into remission or get
progressively worse. Surgery carries the risk of complications, but for severe
cases of certain conditions, it can help reduce symptoms significantly.
Mary Ellen Ellis
Medically Reviewed by:
George Krucik, MD, MBA
Dec 15, 2014
Published By: Healthline Networks, Inc.