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Neuralgia – symptoms, causes & types

This is a stabbing and burning pain and often it is severe pain due to damaged or irritated nerve. This nerve can be anywhere in the body. Generally, neuralgia is not illness on its own but it is a symptom of injury or particular disorder. There are many cases when the cause for the pain is not known. Older people have more chances of getting neuralgia but people of any age can be affected by this condition.

The damage can be caused by several things, such as an infections, such as sinusitis; diseases, such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis; aging. The treatment for the pain caused by neuralgia depends on the cause. Almost every single person will experience a mild neuralgia at some point of their lives, but these bouts are usually temporary and they tend to ease themselves in a period of few days.

There are some types of neuralgia that are long – lasting, agonizing and debilitating so the quality of person’s live is reduced. One of the most painful medical conditions is trigeminal neuralgia. This type of neuralgia usually affects one side of the face only. Physical therapy and medications can help in the management of neuralgia. When some cases are resistant, then surgery is an option.



Here are some symptoms

  • The muscles may spasm
  • The affected area is still functional
  • The pain caused by neuralgia can be sharp or burning, depending on the affected nerve
  • The area may be agonizingly sensitive to touch and any pressure is felt as pain
  • Localized pain


The cause for some types of it is not completely understood. You can feel a nerve pain from injury or damage to a nerve, changes in the way the nerves function and pressure on a nerve. Also, the cause in these cases can be unknown.

Here are some cases

Infection: It is known that infection can affect your nerves. It is known that the cause for postherpetic it is shingles which is an infection caused by chickenpox virus. The chance of having this infection is increasing as we are getting older. Also, the infection of specific part of the body can also affect a nearby nerve. If you have an infection of the tooth, then it can affect the nerve and cause pain.

Multiple sclerosis: This is a disease which is caused by the deterioration of the myelin which is covering the nerves. It is known that the trigeminal it can happen in some people who have multiple sclerosis.

Pressure on nerves: Compression or pressure of the nerves can lead to it. This pressure can come from a:

  • Tumor
  • Blood vessel
  • Ligament
  • Bone

The pressure of the swollen blood vessel is one of the most common causes for it.

Diabetes: There are many people who suffer from diabetes and who have problems with their nerves, including it. The excess glucose in the bloodstream can damage the nerves and this damage is most common in the legs, feet, arms and hands.

Less common causes: There are some cases when the previous mentioned causes are not a cause for it, but there are other less common causes, such as

  • Chemical irritation
  • Trauma, such as from surgery
  • Fluoroquinolone antibiotics, used to treat some infections
  • Medications prescribed for cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease


Here are the most common types of neuralgia

Postherperic neuralgia: This type of neuralgia happens as a complication of the shingles and it can be anywhere on the body. We know that shingles is a viral infection which is characterized by a painful rash and blisters. It can happen wherever the shingles outbreak was. The pain cause by this type of neuralgia be mild or severe or it can be persistent or intermittent.

Trigeminal neuralgia: This type of neuralgia is associated with the pain which comes from the trigeminal nerve which travels from the brain and branches to different parts of the face. It is noticed that trigeminal neuralgia is most common in people who are older than 50.

Glossopharyngeal neuralgia: The glossopharyngeal nerve is located in the throat. The pain which comes from this nerve is very common. Glossopharyngeal it is producing pain in the throat and neck.

Ramesh Kumar
Ramesh Kumar
Dr. Ramesh kumar, BAMS is naturopathy doctor who is well versed with health benefits of all fruits, vegetables and medicinal plants


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