Neuralgia

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FAQ's For Neuralgia

Neuralgia causes very intense, recurrent pain which feels like burning, shooting, or stabbing in the affected area. The condition is debilitating and long-term.

There are no apparent causes for a neuralgia attack. However, the disease itself can be brought on by a number of factors such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, nerve pressure, infection, surgical trauma, etc.

Neuralgia is treated with surgery, nerve block injections, physical therapy, and pain relief medication. In diabetes patients, controlling blood sugar levels also helps in treating the condition.

There is no known cure for neuralgia, however there are many treatment options available to relieve pain.

While neuralgia is not caused by stress, an attack can often be stress-induced, or aggravated by stress.

Neuralgia is a condition which causes intense shooting, burning or stabbing pain due to a damaged or irritated nerve. The three main neuralgia types are:

Postherpetic neuralgia—this is often a complication of shingles, a disease which causes painful rashes and blisters on the body. Neuralgia will usually occur along the nerve, wherever the shingles outbreak is or was on the body. It causes persistent or intermittent pain which may happen for months or years.

Trigeminal neuralgia—This occurs due to damage or injury to the trigeminal nerve, which travels from the brain to various parts of the face. It can also be caused by a blood vessel pressing down on the trigeminal nerve where it meets the brainstem, or multiple sclerosis. It is characterized by intense facial neuralgia or severe, recurrent pain on the face.

Glossopharyngeal neuralgia—This is caused by damage to the glossopharyngeal nerve. Located in the throat it results in neck and throat pain. The condition is not very common.

Some causes of neuralgia include:
Infection
Multiple sclerosis (often a factor in diagnosing trigeminal neuralgia)
Pressure on nerves from a bone, blood vessel, tumor or ligament
Diabetes
Chemical irritation
Kidney disease
Surgical trauma
Cancer medication
Antibiotic medication containing fluoroquinolone

Treatment of neuralgia will involve finding and fixing the underlying cause. If no cause is found however, doctors will focus in relieving the patient’s pain. Some common treatment options include:
• Surgery to relieve the pressure on the nerve; trigeminal neuralgia pain relief often involves surgery to alleviate pressure from a swollen blood vessel on the trigeminal nerve.
• Controlling blood sugar levels in diabetes patients who experience neuralgia
• Physical therapy
• Nerve block injections, which help switch off pain signals directed toward a particular nerve or group of nerves
• Medications to relieve the pain; commonly prescribed medications include short-term narcotics like codeine, anti-seizure medication (carbamazepine) used in trigeminal nerve pain relief, antidepressants (amitriptyline or nortriptyline) and topical creams containing capsaicin.

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