What is Neuralgia?
Neuralgia is an acute paroxysmal pain radiating along the course of one or more nerves usually without demonstrable changes in the nerve structure. The nerve is usually damaged due to factors like aging, diseases and certain infections.
Two most common types of neuralgias can be-
- Post herpetic neuralgia: It occurs as a complication of shingles (viral infection characterized by a painful rash and blisters) and usually occurs along the path of a nerve, hence it is confined to one side of the body.
- Trigeminal neuralgia: This is associated with pain from the trigeminal nerve, which originates from the brain and gives branches to different parts of the face. The pain can be caused by a blood vessel pressing down on the nerve where it meets the brainstem. It can also be seen in multiple sclerosis. The pain is usually localized to one side of the face.
The exact cause of neuralgia is not understood. Following risk factors can be elucidated-
- Infection (shingles, chickenpox)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Pressure on nerves (by a bone, ligament or blood vessel)
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Chronic kidney disease
Sign and symptoms
Neuralgia can cause intense and distinct symptoms like
- Sudden episodes of shooting or stabbing pain that follows the course of the affected nerve
- Persistent aching or burning pain
- Tingling or numbness
- Muscle weakness
- Atrophy of muscles
There is no specific investigation to diagnose neuralgia. The procedure depends on the proper neurological examination (to elicit the specific areas of pain), dental examination (for checking any abscess), blood tests and X rays to check whether the affected nerve is compressed.
Underlying cause of neuralgia must be treated. Medications are recommended for symptomatic relief. Alternative therapies like acupuncture, hypnosis and meditation might be of help.
Warning: Above information provided is an overview of the disease, we strongly recommend a doctor's consultation to prevent further advancement of disease and/or development of complications.
Disclaimer: The information provided herein on request, is not to be taken as a replacement for medical advice or diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. DO NOT SELF MEDICATE. PLEASE CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN FOR PROPER DIAGNOSIS AND PRESCRIPTION.
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