Causes of Neuropathic Shooting Pain in Face, Neck, Back, Arms, Legs, Abdomen

What Is Shooting Pain?

Shooting pain is either acute or chronic nociceptive or neuropathic pain. Shooting pain is severe, sharp and lashing in character.

What Is Acute Shooting Pain?

Acute shooting pain lasts for less than 3 to 6 months.

What Is Chronic Shooting Pain?

Chronic shooting pain lasts for more than 6 months.

What Is Nociceptive Shooting Pain?

Nociceptive shooting pain is often caused by irritation of peripheral receptors and nerve ending. Nociceptive shooting pain is mostly acute pain. Shooting nociceptive pain is defined as sharp, demarcated and localized penetrating pain.

What Is Neuropathic Shooting Pain?

Neuropathic shooting pain is burning and shooting in character. Shooting burning pain is often continuous despite obnoxious stimuli being removed. Pain is triggered by irritation of peripheral receptors and nerve fibers. Neuropathic shooting pain is caused by abnormalities of impulse transmission and modulation at neurons (nerve cells) in spinal cord.

What Is Normal Transmission Of Pain Impulses?

Pain impulses are transmitted to spinal cord by sensory nerve fibers from peripheral receptors when receptors are irritated or stimulated. Pain impulses are relayed over neurons (nerve cells) in spinal cord. Neurons modulate or regulate pain impulses.

What Is Modulation Of Pain Impulses?

Pain impulses are relayed over nerve cells at spinal cord. Nerve cells modulate pain impulses. Modulation involves multiple neurotransmitters. Modulation regulates the impulse transmission to brain and controls local reflexes. Modulation also discontinues impulse transmission to brain when peripheral impulses stop coming to spinal cord.

What Causes Shooting Neuropathic Pain?

Neuropathic pain is caused by abnormal secretion of neurotransmitter or irregular modulation of pain impulses in spinal cord or pain centers in brain. Pain impulses are generated in absence of obnoxious impulses by pain receptors. Behavioral changes of pain receptors at peripheral tissue and neurons in spinal cord and brain are observed in patients suffering with neuropathic pain.

Causes of Neuropathic Shooting Pain

Causes of Neuropathic Shooting Pain in Head, Neck, Back, Arms, Legs, Abdomen, Chest

  1. Soft Tissue Trauma Causing Shooting Pain in Neck, Back, Arms and Legs

    1. Knife or Penetrating Wound of Skin– Such injury causes shooting pain over extremities, chest and abdomen
    2. Muscle Tear– Muscle tear of neck, back and extremities are often caused by sports injury or domestic fall. Shooting pain as a result of muscle tear is spread over back, neck, arms or legs.
    3. Tendon Rupture– Observed in arms and legs following twist of joint or sports injury.
    4. Ligament Tear or Rupture– Ligamental tear causes shooting pain over the ligament and observed in neck, back, arms or legs.
    5. Tendon Dislocation– Tendon dislocation is separation of tendon from its attachment to bone. Tendon dislocation causes sudden intense shooting pain over dislocated tendon often in arms and legs.
    6. Ligament Dislocation– Ligament is separated from its attachment to adjacent bone and such injury results in severe sharp intense shooting pain. Pain is observed over injured ligaments in arms and legs.
    7. Pneumothorax– Sudden rupture of parietal pleura or visceral pleura causes pneumothorax, which results in sudden air pocket outside lungs and severe shooting pain. Such condition may or may not be associated with difficulties in breathing.
  2. Inflammation That Cause Shooting Pain in Abdomen and Pelvis

    1. Gallbladder Pain Caused By Cholecystitis– Shooting pain is observed over right upper abdomen.
    2. Appendicitis– Shooting pain observed over umbilicus and right lower abdomen.
    3. Rupture Ovarian Cyst– Rupture of ovarian cyst causes sudden intense shooting pain in right or left lower abdomen and pelvis.
  3. Infections Causing Shooting Pain in the Head and Neck

    1. Meningitis– Shooting pain over back of the neck is caused by meningitis.
    2. Encephalitis– Shooting pain in the head is caused by encephalitis
    3. Brain Abscess– Increased intracranial (within skull) pressure because of space occupying lesion, which follows abscess collection which results in severe shooting headache or pain.
    4. Epidural Abscess– Shooting lower back pain or neck pain is rarely caused by epidural abscess.
    5. Tooth Abscess– Tooth abscess causes severe shooting pain over tooth and gum. The pain is often spread over maxillary or mandibular bone.
  4. Ulcers as a Cause For Shooting Pain in Abdomen and Mouth

    1. Stomach ulcer– Mucosal ulcer of stomach and duodenum causes shooting pain. Pain is often felt over right upper abdomen and umbilicus.
    2. Oral Ulcer– Multiple oral ulcer causes shooting pain during mastication and drinking citric juices.
  5. Vascular Diseases Causing Shooting Pain

    1. Shooting Pain in Abdomen and Lower Back Due To Abdominal Aneurysm – Partial ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm causes classic shooting pain over lower back and abdomen. The symptom can be life saving if investigated to rule out aneurysm. Early investigation and diagnosis can prevent life threatening rupture of aneurysm.
    2. Shooting Pain in the Head Due To Cerebral Aneurysm– Cerebral (brain) aneurysm causes shooting pain in the head of shooting headache, which is often pulsatile. Early diagnosis can prevent rupture of aneurysm resulting in bleeding and life threatening complications.
    3. Shooting Pain in Chest and Abdomen Due To Thoracic Aneurysm– Thoracic aneurysm is divided as type 1 to 3 depending on location of aneurysm over the thoracic aorta. Aneurysm when causes dissection of aorta then patient feels severe shooting pain. Such pain often follows life-threatening complications such rupture of aorta and profuse bleeding.
  6. Cancers Causing Shooting Pain

    1. Benign Cancer– Benign cancer grows in size and eventually causes pressure over surrounding organs. Pressure over surrounding nerve and nerve plexus causes severe shooting pain mostly distributed along the nerve, which is affected by pressure.
    2. Malignant Cancer– Malignant cancer penetrate through surrounding organs and often causes rupture of blood vessels resulting in shooting pain. Similarly local spread of cancer encroaches into surrounding nerve and nerve plexus resulting in severe shooting pain.
    3. Metastatic Malignant Cancer– Metastatic cancer spreads through distant bones and soft tissue. Spread over vertebrae causes pressure over spinal cord and shooting pain in lower leg.
  7. Fractures Causing Shooting Pain in Chest, Arms and Legs

    1. Shooting Chest Wall Pain– Shooting pain in chest wall is often associated with fractured rib. Fractured rib may be associated with pneumothorax or air pocket out side lung in chest wall.
    2. Shooting Pain in Arms and Legs– Shooting pain in arms and legs is caused by fracture of one of the extremities bone. Fracture is caused by sports injury, domestic fall, automobile accident or work injury.
  8. Joint Dislocation Causing Shooting Pain in Joints

    1. Sudden Severe Pain– Dislocation causes sudden intense shooting pain in dislocated joint followed by joint swelling and deformity.
  9. Nerve Lesions Causing Shooting Pain in Face, Chest, Arms and Legs

    1. Shooting Pain in Face Cause By Postherpetic Neuralgia– Shingles or herpes zoster is a viral inflammatory disease mostly affects nerve cells in spinal cord. Herpes zoster causes severe shooting nerve pain known as postherpetic neuralgia. Postherpetic neuralgia is observed in trigeminal, intercostal (thoracic spinal nerve), cervical and lumbar nerve. Trigeminal postherpetic neuralgia pain is spread over one side of face. Intercostal neuralgia is observed over chest wall under the ribs. Cervical and lumber postherpetic neuralgia shooting pain is observed over arms and legs.
    2. Radicular Shooting Pain in Arms and Legs– Disc herniation or bulge disc causes pressure over spinal nerve resulting in shooting pain along the nerve known as radicular pain. Most of the radicular pain results in shooting pain. Cervical radicular pain is observed along the arm, thoracic radicular pain is spread along chest wall under the ribs and lumbar radicular pain is spread along the nerves in leg.
Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 24, 2018

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