What is mirror pain?
Maybe you had been in pain for a while because of a broken arm or leg. Then one day, the opposite limb started hurting — even though it wasn’t injured.
That’s mirror pain.
Mirror pain happens in the exact same body part or body area on the opposite side of a trauma-affected or diseased body part.
And it can strike anywhere in the body — even in healthy teeth on the other side of diseased, painful teeth. Fortunately, mirror pain is usually not as bad as the injured side.
When does mirror pain strike?
Mirror pain symptoms usually begin after the nerve pain has turned chronic, typically three or more months after the original injury.
Chronic neuropathic pain can lead to nerve sensitization or increased sensitivity and spread the pain around the body.
In general, the greater the pain and inflammation in the injured area, the more likely the uninjured side will develop mirror pain.
How does mirror pain work?
You aren’t imagining it.
When you suffer an injury, your body’s immune response kicks on, and it starts attending to the injured limb or area.
That’s part of the healing process, and that’s good.
But sometimes, long after an injury, the body’s immune response affects the opposite, non-injured area. And that can cause nerve damage and pain.
Why does your body do this?
Though it may seem like the opposite of helpful, mirror pain may be the body’s way of sending you the message that you need to stay out of harm’s way for a while.
It may be trying to communicate something like, “Double the pain, double the caution.”
Is mirror pain treatable?
Like other nerve pain, mirror pain is treatable — but it’s also preventable. Indeed, nerve pain resulting from injury does not have to evolve into chronic nerve pain and spread to otherwise healthy limbs.
When treating patients with acute nerve pain from trauma or disease, doctors and pain specialists need to devise the most effective pain management plan and apply it early and aggressively.
But even if you already have mirror pain, there’s no reason to worry because it’s very treatable.
Pain specialists can effectively manage and treat it using medicines, therapies, and non-invasive techniques like electrical nerve stimulation.
Pain Treatment You Can Trust
Do you have mirror pain or think you may have it? Our pain management specialists can devise a pain treatment plan that works for you.
To find out how our multidisciplinary, interventional pain management treatment options can change your life, please give us a call or book an appointment online.