What is Lidocaine? Lidocaine is a type of anesthetic, a substance which numbs tissues to block pain perception. Lidocaine is often used as a topical anesthetic in forms such as gels, liquids, or creams, but is also available via injections. It is often used as a local anesthetic administered to block pain perception in a specific area instead of all over. IT provides the numbing effects mentioned by inhibiting pain signals from nerves and altering the condition of nerves. This mechanism inhibits nerves from firing and creates the anesthetic (numbing) effect.
Lidocaine has a variety of uses such as to treat pain and itching from skin conditions like scrapes or burns; and, is used in the beauty industry for example prior to eyebrow micro blading where the eyebrow is sliced into with a small knife.
It’s role in neuropathic pain is to diminish pain perception caused by damaged nerves. Lidocaine acts to block the pain messages being sent on healthy nerves by compromised or damaged nerves. It has a role in minimizing the stabbing or burning pains often experienced in neuropathy.
Additionally, Lidocaine has anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce pain caused by nerves being squished or pinched by inflammation. The anti-inflammatory effects are said to be significantly more effective than traditional anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.
Topical lidocaine can be obtained in patches, sprays and creams most commonly. Because the lidocaine must enter through the skin, a tough surface to penetrate, these topical methods contain high levels of lidocaine which may provide their effects throughout the day.
Although there is still research to be done regarding lidocaine’s ability to decrease pain associated with peripheral neuropathy, it is a viable option for pain relief. As per usual, discuss this option with your physician to see if it is right for you and your pain.
For more information on topicals also see: #18 Arnica – A Natural Solution to Neuropathy Symptoms, #28 Capsaicin – Turning up the heat on Neuropathy, #36 Medical Cannabis, #49 Herbal Healing: Careful with Comfrey
Derry, S, et al. Topical Lidocaine for Neuropathic Pain in Adults – The …onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD010958.pub2/references.
Derry, S, et al. “Topical Lidocaine for Neuropathic Pain in Adults.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 24 July 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25058164/.
“Lidocaine for Neuropathy Pain.” HBOT Therapy for Neuropathy, www.peripheralneuropathytreatments.com/lidocaine.htm.
Sabrina Martini is a student entering the 4th year of her Bachelors of Science, majoring in Neuroscience at the University of Lethbridge.