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Neuralgia | Why does it hurt so much

Neuralgia is defined as a shooting, stabbing pain caused due to damaged or irritated nerves. It can stem from any part of the body and induce mild to extreme pain. Numerous types of Neuralgia can trigger varying symptoms in people who get it. 


The most common cause is dubbed to be nerve damage, which can be triggered due to an injury or pressure on the nerve, but there isn’t a single-most factor that could be traced back and identified as the sole reason behind the onset neuralgia in people. Other conditions like an infection and multiple sclerosis or diabetes can also contribute to this condition. 


Common symptoms include:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Sharp and sudden pain
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Localised pain
  • Tingling sensation
  • Numbness


Based on the part of the body it affects, medical professionals have classified different types of Neuralgia, such as:


Trigeminal Neuralgia

In this type of Neuralgia, the trigeminal nerve that runs from the brain into the face is affected. Having this can be painful too, simple tasks like brushing and putting on make-up can cause an excruciating amount of pain. Initiating with mild episodes, it can snowball into something painful and chronic if left untreated.


Postherpetic Neuralgia

This is the second-most common type of Neuralgia usually caused due to Shingles, a viral infection that causes a painful rash and blisters on one’s skin. The virus causes shingles to lie dormant for a while and causes an inflammatory reaction on reactivation, triggering this type of Neuralgia.


Occipital Neuralgia

Affecting the occipital nerves that run from the base of the skull and along the scalp, painful sensations caused by this can induce a radiating pain on the scalp and affect the back of one’s eyes. It can also lead to sudden head movements, tense neck muscles and inflamed blood vessels.



Based on the severity of each case, therapy for Neuralgia varies from person to person. For milder cases, topical ointments, steroid injections and local nerve blocks are commonly administered. But in severe cases, prescription medication, as well as surgeries, are used for treatment. Typically, a medication that is prescribed includes:


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Anti-depressants
  • Muscle relaxants



When medication doesn’t suffice, professionals might advise an individual to go in for surgeries like Microvascular decompression which involves removing the enlarged blood vessel pressing down on the nerve. 


In conclusion, Neuralgia can be caused due to an array of reasons, and it can prove to be a hindrance in the day-to-day lives of those dealing with it. There isn’t a miracle cure for this condition, but precautions and regular treatment can help alleviate symptoms and reduce the pain over time. 


If these symptoms resonate with something you are currently facing, visit your primary healthcare provider earliest for diagnosis and corrective treatment.


Yours in self-care,

Adrian Wilk

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