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Neuralgia and Its Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Pain in a nerve of a recurrent and persistent nature.


Causes of Neuralgia

Any irritation of a nerve through pressure or inflammation will cause neuralgia, although often no definite disease is found. This is particularly so with nerve pains around the face and upper body. Even though they arc severe and upsetting exhaustive investigation may reveal nothing, leaving a simple diagnosis of ‘neuralgia’.

States of anxiety and depression are associated with neuralgia. It is unclear whether they cause pain through muscular tension, such as clenching of teeth, or through lowering the tolerance threshold for the minor pains everyone experiences.

Symptoms of Neuralgia

The most common symptoms of neuralgia are pain around the face, shooting from the jaw to the ear, or pain across the lower chest. Neuralgia together with altered sensation in the fingers and muscle weakness suggests causes such as multiple sclerosis or other nerve damage.

Treatment of Neuralgia

It can be curative simply to know that all investigations are negative. In the case of facial pain, adjustments to the dental bite can help by relieving stress on the joints in the jaw. A painkilling injection into the tempero-mandibular joint, between the upper and lower jaws, will relieve this common source of facial neuralgia. Always mention facial pain or headaches to your dentist. He or she might be able to offer some other useful suggestions to ease the pain of neuralgia.

Where no definite cause is apparent, treatment with a low dose of an antidepressant or an antiepileptic drug is often effective although it takes several weeks to work. If pain is specific to one nerve, for example pain below one rib, it is worth trying a nerve block, which is done by injecting an anaesthetic into the nerve.

Complementary Treatment of Neuralgia

Acupuncture achieves excellent results. Chiropractic

helps if neuralgia is triggered by nerves in the neck. Other therapies to try: healing; tai chi/chi hung; shiatsu-do; hypnotherapy; Ayurveda; chakra balancing.

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