When a medical condition affects the nerves that transmit sensations to the brain, it causes nerve pain, also known as Neuralgia or neuropathic pain. It is a sort of pain that is distinct from other types of pain.
There are different kinds of nerve pain, such as:
- Post-herpetic Neuralgia — occurs after the shingles (herpes zoster) infection and affects the same regions as the shingles rash.
- Trigeminal Neuralgia — pain in the jaw or cheek
- Occipital Neuralgia — pain at the base of the skull that can propagate to the back of the head
- Pudendal Neuralgia — causes pain between the legs, specifically in the ‘saddle area.’
What Are the Symptoms of Nerve Pain?
Nerve pain is frequently described as a shooting, stabbing, or burning sensation. It could be as sharp and rapid as an electric shock at times. People who suffer from nerve pain are often extremely sensitive to touch or cold. They may also experience pain due to stimulations that would not ordinarily be painful, such as brushing their skin.
It’s usually worse at night. It could be either mild or severe.
Some people who suffer nerve pain become frustrated and angry and may experience anxiety and depression.
Causes of Nerve Pain
Conditions affecting the central nervous system, i.e., the brain and spinal cord or the nerve fibers that run from the CNS to the muscles and organs, can cause nerve pain. It is usually the result of a disease or an injury.
Typical causes include:
- A brain, spinal cord, or nerve injury,
- Lack of or poor blood supply to the nerves,
- Phantom pain after amputation,
- Excessive drinking,
- Deficiency of cobalamin (Vitamin B12) or thiamine (vitamin B1),
- Certain medications
Conditions that can cause nerve pain are:
- Infections such as shingles and HIV/AIDS,
- Trapped nerves like in the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome,
- Multiple sclerosis,
- Cancer and its treatment with either radiation, surgery, or chemotherapy
Diagnosis of Nerve Pain.
Your doctor will primarily diagnose nerve pain by listening to and examining you.
They will most likely check your nerves by evaluating the strength of your muscles, checking your reflexes, and seeing how sensitive you are to touch during the examination.
You may need to take tests such as:
- blood exams to assess your general health and look for underlying diseases.
- Nerve conduction studies assess how quickly your nerves transmit electrical signals.
- a CT or MRI scan to look for anything that might be pressing on a nerve.
How To Treat Nerve Pain
Nerve pain treatment aims to identify and deal with the underlying illness or condition causing the pain.
Your doctor will strive to provide pain relief, assist you in maintaining normal abilities despite the pain, and enhance your quality of life.
The following are the standard treatment options for neuropathic pain:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Aleve and Motrin are occasionally used to treat neuropathic pain.
Many people, however, believe that these treatments are ineffective for nerve pain because they do not aim at the source of the pain.
Topical pain medication can also be used. Capsaicin patches, Lidocaine patches, and prescription-strength ointments and creams are examples.
Medical marijuana may relieve pain by lowering connections between brain areas that process emotional responses and sensory signals when used for chronic nerve pain.
According to a study published in the online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, on September 5, 2018. The study focused on radicular pain, a neuropathic pain propagating from the spine into the legs. Sciatica is a type of radicular pain. Compared to a placebo, researchers discovered that THC reduces pain. Before taking medication, participants rated their pain levels at 53 on a zero to 100. They evaluated their pain levels as 35 on average after taking THC oil, compared to 43 on average after receiving the placebo.
According to the study’s author, Haggai Sharon of Israel’s Sagol Brain Institute, Tel Aviv Medical Center, “results also show that the higher the connection between brain areas that process emotion and sensory before treatment, the greater the pain relief experienced when taking THC.”
So, If you live in a region where medical marijuana is legal and your doctor believes it would be beneficial, you will be issued a “marijuana card.” You will be added to a list that will allow you to purchase marijuana from an authorized seller, known as a dispensary.
Legal sources of THC include THC Gummies, THC Oil, Tinctures etc.
Antidepressant medications have already shown great promise in treating neuropathic pain symptoms.
People with this condition are typically prescribed one of two types of antidepressant medications:
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
- Tricyclic antidepressants
Patients may use these medications to treat both the pain and the symptoms of anxiety or depression resulting from chronic pain.
Anticonvulsants and anti-seizure medications are frequently used to treat neuropathic pain. Gabapentinoids are commonly used to treat neuropathic pain.
Neuropathic pain can adversely affect your quality of life if you don’t take measures to treat it and prevent complications.
It may take some time to determine suitable treatment options for you, but you and your doctor can work together to identify relief from the symptoms of this chronic condition.