Neuralgia is defined as an intense burning or
stabbing pain caused by irritation of or damage to a nerve. The pain is
usually brief but may be severe. It often feels as if it is shooting
along the course of the affected nerve. It is also known as nerve pain.
It involves one or more than one nerve.
Neuralgia can affect adults of any age, although some types are more
common after middle age.
Causes of neuralgia include:
- Certain drugs
- Chemical irritation
- Chronic renal insufficiency
- Infections, such as shingles, syphilis, and Lyme disease
- Tooth decay
- Poor diet.
- Eye strain
- Nose infections
- Exposure to cold and damp weather.
- Pressure on nerves by nearby structures (for instance,
- Swelling and irritation (inflammation)
- Trauma (including surgery)
In many cases, the cause is unknown.
1. Trigeminal neuralgia
Trigeminal neuralgia comes from the trigeminal nerve. The causes of
trigeminal neuralgia are not completely understood. In some cases, it
may not be possible to identify a cause.
However, in 80-90% of cases, trigeminal neuralgia is thought to be
caused by blood vessels pressing on the root of the trigeminal nerve
(where the nerve leaves your brain).
It is thought that the pressure that is placed on the trigeminal nerve
causes uncontrollable pain signals to travel along the nerve to face,
causing the sudden stabbing pains of trigeminal neuralgia.
Other, less common causes of trigeminal neuralgia include pressure on
the trigeminal nerve from a tumor and multiple sclerosis (a long-term
condition that affects the central nervous system).
2. Glossopharyngeal neuralgia
Glossopharyngeal neuralgia consists of recurring attacks of severe pain
in the back of the throat, the area near the tonsils, the back of the
tongue, and part of the ear. The pain is due to malfunction of the 9th
cranial nerve (glossopharyngeal nerve), which moves the muscles of the
throat and carries information from the throat, tonsils, and tongue to
Glossopharyngeal neuralgia, a rare disorder, usually begins after age
40 and occurs more often in men. Often, its cause is unknown. But
sometimes glossopharyngeal neuralgia results from an abnormally
positioned artery that compresses the glossopharyngeal nerve near where
it exits the brain stem. Rarely, the cause is a tumor in the brain or
3. Occipital neuralgia
Occipital neuralgia, also known as C2 neuralgia, or Arnold's neuralgia,
is a medical condition characterized by chronic pain in the upper neck,
back of the head and behind the eyes.
- Impaired function of affected body part due to pain, or
muscle weakness due to motor nerve damage
- Increased sensitivity of the skin or numbness of the
affected skin area
- Pain along the path of a specific nerve
- Pain located anywhere, usually on or near the surface of
same location for each episode
stabbing pain that comes and goes (intermittent) or constant, burning
Any touch or pressure is felt as pain. Movement may also be painful.
To diagnosis neuralgia, doctor will-
1.Take a complete medical history
2.Perform a physical examination. It include
a.Abnormal skin sensation absent or not.
b.Loss of deep tendon reflexes or not.
c.Loss of muscle mass or not.
d.Lack of sweating or not.
e.Tenderness along the course of nerve is there or not.
4.X-ray of para-nasal sinuses
5.Blood test to evaluate Blood sugar and kidney functions.
6.Magnetic resonance imaging.
7.Nerve conduction study with electromyopathy.
The goal of the treatment is to find the cause of the neuralgia and to
relieve symptoms. Treatment varies depending on the cause, location,
and severity of the pain, and other factors. Even if the cause of the
neuralgia is never identified, the condition may improve on its own or
disappear with time. Depending on the cause, treatment will be done
accordingly. This may include surgery to remove tumors or separate the
nerve from blood vessels or other structures that press on it. This can
be done for some cases of carpal tunnel syndrome and trigeminal
Medications, surgical procedures, pain relieving injections all these
method help in treating it.
Unfortunately, these procedures do not guarantee improvement and can
cause loss of feeling or abnormal sensations.
Role of homoeopathy-
Homoeopathy proves effective in treating cases of neuralgia.
Homoeopathic medicines will help in decreasing the
intensity and frequency of the symptoms. It will also
help in preventing further damage to the affected nerve.
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