Neuralgia is a nerve pain typically caused by irritated or damaged nerve(s) that can occur anywhere in the body.
While the cause of some nerve pain is not yet fully understood, common causes include aging, infections, and diseases such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis.
Your pain from this condition can last for months or years and is usually severe. If you suspect you have shingles, which is one of the common causes of neuralgia, you should see your doctor. Shingles should be treated as soon as possible in order to prevent complications, such as postherpetic neuralgia. Currently, there is no cure for neuralgia, but it is treatable. Some types of neuralgia improve over time. Living with neuralgia can be difficult, so you may benefit from finding a support group to connect with others living with this condition.
The exact treatment for your pain depends on what type of neuralgia you have. Some common treatment options are:
If you’re over 50 years old, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting a Shingrix vaccine to prevent shingles. This vaccine can also help prevent postherpetic neuralgia.
Some common symptoms of all types of neuralgia include aching, muscular atrophy, involuntary muscle weakness and twitching, numbness, and tingling sensations.
The symptoms of this type of neuralgia are generally relegated to the area where your shingles outbreak first occurred. The symptoms include:
Before you visit your doctor, try to keep a journal of your symptoms, their frequency, and severity because your doctor will ask about these. If you noticed any triggers for pain, write those down too, but your doctor can help you further identify triggers.
Make sure you bring a list of any medications, vitamins, or other supplements with their dosages and how often you take them to the appointment. Your medical professional will perform a physical exam and may send you to a variety of specialists to help further identify the cause of your pain and rule out other conditions. If your doctor suspects you have trigeminal neuralgia, they may send you to a dentist to make sure your facial pain is not a dental issue. Your doctor may order the following tests:
Some types of neuralgia, such as postherpetic neuralgia, have known causes while others, such as glossopharyngeal neuralgia, don’t.
Trigeminal neuralgia is most common in people who are 50 years or older and affects women more than men.
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Contact our office to schedule an appointment and let us help you get back on your way to an active life without the limitations of chronic pain. From our Phoenix office, The Pain Experts of Arizona, serves pain management patients in Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Queen Creek, and the entire Phoenix area.