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A European-wide awareness campaign for people with a chronic condition called neuropathic pain has been kick-started in Ireland by the Irish Chronic Pain Association and Pfizer Healthcare Ireland.
A website www.mysterypain.ie has been launched as part of the campaign to provide information and support for people that are unable to describe their 'mystery pain'.
Neuropathic pain can be distressing for patients and puzzling for doctors who have to treat it. It is often misdiagnosed and undertreated partly because patients find it difficult to put their pain into words.
The initiative aims to lessen the gap between the language used by the GP and that used by the patient in describing their pain, thus assisting with earlier diagnosis and treatment of the condition.
Common descriptors used by patients include burning, crawling, stabbing and shocking.
Neuropathic pain is a chronic pain condition that results from damage to either the nerves that normally sense pain or other parts of the nervous system that transmit pain signals, such as the spine or the brain .
It is estimated that up to 120,000 people are affected by neuropathic pain in Ireland with more than a third of neuropathic pain patients saying the condition is a source of daily physical suffering.