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Neuralgia or Nerve Pain

Nerve pain (often called “neuralgia”) is defined as pain that follows the path of a nerve.

Nerve damage is defined as a condition that can cause nerve pain.  This pain can be located anywhere, but is usually on or near the surface of the body.   

Neuralgia (nerve pain) caused by nerve damage:

Neuralgia is frequently caused by nerve damage as a result of the side effect of drugs and medications, chemicals and chemotherapy, medical conditions such as diabetes, as well as damage caused during surgery and physical injury.

Touch or pressure is felt as pain, movement may also be painful.  There is increased sensitivity of the skin or numbness.   There can be sharp, stabbing pain that comes and goes, or it can be a constant burning pain.

Trigeminal neuralgia is the most common form of neuralgia. A related but uncommon neuralgia affects the glossopharyngeal nerve, which provides feeling to the throat. 

There can be an impaired function of the part of the body affected due to pain, and muscle weakness.  This is due to motor nerve damage. 

Other symptoms include loss of deep tendon reflexes, loss of muscle mass, lack of sweating (sweating is controlled by nerves), tenderness along a nerve, and trigger points where even a slight touch triggers pain. 

Causes of neuralgia: 

  • Certain drugs
  • Chemical irritation
  • Chronic renal insufficiency
  • Diabetes
  • Infections such as shingles, syphilis, and lyme disease
  • Porphyria
  • Pressure on nerves by nearby structures (for instance, tumors)
  • Swelling and irritation (inflammation)
  • Trauma (including surgery)

Another name for Neuralgia: 

Neuropathic pain, also known as  neuralgia,  is a disease that affects the nervous system. ‘Neuro’ means nerves and ‘pathy’ means disease. It thus affects the nerve pathways running between the central nervous system – the brain and spinal cord – and the peripheral nervous system – motor and sensory neurons.

Neuralgia is dissimilar from the common type of pain that one might experience when bring struck by something as neuropathic pain is steady and constant, characterized by a burning or pricking sensation, which does not result from an obvious stimulus. Whereas common pain influences only the pain nerves, neuropathy triggers both pain and non-pain sensory nerves.  

Treatments for Neuralgia:

Medical treatment: is to reverse or control the cause of the nerve problem (if found) and to provide pain relief. 

If the cause is a tumor or some structure pressing on the nerve, surgery is done to remove the nerve from whatever is pressing on it.   This can be done for some cases of carpel tunnel syndrome and trigeminal neuralgia. 

Strict control of blood sugar may speed recovery in people with diabetes who develop neuralgia.

Medications are given to cover up the pain and may include:

  • Antidepressant medications (amitriptyline, nortriptyline, duloxitine)
  • Antiseizure medications (carbamazepine, gabapentin, lamotrigine or phenytoin).
  • Mild over-the-counter analgesics (aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen)
  • Narcotic analgesics (codeine) for short-term relief of severe pain (however, these do not always work well)
  • Topical creams containing capsaicin
  • Local injections of pain-relieving drugs.
  • Nerve blocks
  • Surgical procedures, heat, balloon compression or injection of chemicals to reduce feeling in the nerve. 

Unfortunately, these procedures do not guarantee improvement and can cause loss of feeling or abnormal sensations.

When other treatment methods fail, medical doctors may try motor cortex stimulation (MCS). An electrode is placed over the sensory cortex of the brain and is hooked to a pulse generator under the skin.

Physical therapy may be helpful for some types of neuralgia. 

Natural Neuralgia Pain Treatment:  

Fish Oil and Nerve Pain Relief

Building Healthy Nerves:

The many medications given for this problem only attempts to cover up the pain.  Sometimes the medications actually makes the problem worse due to side effects of the drug given. This can cause more problems instead of correcting the problem.

The body will build healthy nerves if it is given the correct tools to do so.  The correct tools are specific nutrition needed.  What are they?  Read about Building Healthy Nerves

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