What is Neuralgia (Neuralgia), symptoms, treatment and more

What is neuralgia

Neuralgia, which can also be called neuralgia, is known for the intense, incessant and acute pain that can occur in one or more nerves in the human body. This pain occurs because of irritations or damage that happen to the nerves that cause neuralgia. There are several types of neuralgia that can affect people.

Neuralgia can be characterized in two forms: central and peripheral. The first affects the spinal or cerebral medulla, while the second occurs in the areas around (periphery) of the central.

Types of Neuralgia

There are five types of neuralgia that are common in patients. Get to know them below:

Trigeminal neuralgia

This type is characterized by a dysfunction in the trigeminal nerve, producing sharp and stinging pain in the distribution of one or more branches of that nerve. The people who suffer the most from this problem are over 50 years old and the incidence is that 155 people are affected for every 1 million.

Atypical trigeminal neuralgia

The trigeminal neuralgia atypical facial pain is known to only one side may even reach the neck. The pain is constant and with a burning sensation that may occur in a restricted distribution at first, but that can spread to the side of the face that has not yet been affected. Depressed and middle-aged women are more susceptible to the problem.

Occipital neuralgia

This type of neuralgia is known for persistent pain in the skull, with electric shock occasionally in the distribution of occipital nerves.

Glossopharyngeal neuralgia

There may be a lack of sensitivity in the area that contains glossopharyngeal nerves, causing pain capable of persisting between pain paroxysms.

Postherptic neuralgia

Post-herpetic neuralgia usually affects the elderly, who suffer from the ophthalmic branch whose lesions can become hemorrhagic and cryptic, or people who are immunocompromised when the rash is severe or when part of the trigeminal nerve is compromised. It is known to appear in almost 15% of patients who suffer from herpes zoster.

Intercostal neuralgia

Intercostal neuralgia is pain along the intercostal nerves, which are located between the ribs. Intercostal nerves can be inflamed or damaged due to various causes, such as trauma, infections, damage caused by surgery and other reasons.

Sciatic neuralgia (sciatica)

The sciatic nerve is the largest of our entire body. It originates in the pelvis and then passes through the lower buttock and runs through the back of the thigh. At the bottom of the thigh, it branches into smaller nerves in the leg and feet.

Sciatic neuralgia, also known as sciatica, is characterized as pain in the lower back. Common causes are herniated discs in the lumbar spine, lumbar spinal stenosis and piriformis syndrome.

Causes

There are several problems that can cause neuralgia, the best known are:

  • Use of medications;
  • Diabetes;
  • Infections such as HIV, syphilis, herpes zoster and Lyme disease;
  • Pressure on the nerves by bones, ligaments, nearby tumors and blood vessels;
  • Porphyria;
  • Chronic renal failure;
  • Trauma.

There are still cases where the cause is not known.

Risk factors

Although the disease can appear at any stage of life, the elderly are the ones who suffer most from neuralgia. Performing surgery or having an accident are possible risk factors for the disease. Patients with a weakened immune system, such as HIV patients , are more susceptible to the disease than people who have a high immune system.

Symptoms of Neuralgia

The main symptoms of neuralgia are constant pain and, when touched, get worse. In addition, there is a burning sensation. The affected nerve becomes more sensitive, causing weakness or even paralysis of the muscles innervated by the affected nerve. Depending on the nerve, pain in the teeth, the forehead and even the eyeball may appear.

The symptoms below are the most common to appear:

  • Absence of sweating;
  • Loss of muscle mass;
  • Loss of tendon reflexes;
  • Increased sensitivity;
  • Redness;
  • Swelling.

Diagnosis

The doctors indicated for the consultation are: neurologist, infectologist, nephrologist, immunologist, endocrinologist, dentist and general practitioner.

It is recommended to go to the consultation with the symptoms, medications used recently, crisis period and other information already listed so that the diagnosis can be made more accurately and in less time.

The diagnosis is made with difficulty, since it is necessary to find the affected nerve by stimulating the damaged pathway or by the lack of lack of identification of the sensory function. The most used procedure for neuralgia is nerve conduction and also microneurography, where the peripheral nerve is stimulated and sensory impressions of the nerve are made.

There are no specific tests to diagnose neuralgia, but blood glucose analysis, blood tests, liver function, MRI, lumbar puncture and electromyography nerve conduction can be done to find out the problem.

Treatment of Neuralgia

The first function of the treatment is to relieve the pain, which often becomes desperate because it is so strong. After that, controlling or reversing the problem is ideal, but it is not always possible. Doctors often recommend to patients:

  • Painkillers;
  • Opiates;
  • Diphenylhydantoin;
  • Carbamazepine ;
  • Anticonvulsant medications.

In some cases, surgery is necessary to remove pressure on the nerve.

There are still other types of treatment that are known as:

  • Nerve blockers;
  • Local injections of medications to relieve pain;
  • Procedures to decrease nerve sensitivity (compression balloon, chemical injection, radiofrequency ablation);
  • Botox injection can be considered if the other types of treatment are not effective;
  • Acupuncture treatment as an alternative medicine can bring positive results;
  • Physiotherapy.

Medicines indicated for Neuralgia:

  • Tylex ;
  • Mionevrix ;
  • Alginac ;
  • Citoneurin ;
  • Dexalgen ;
  • Paco ;
  • Profenid .

It is always recommended to consult the doctor before starting any treatment, especially those who use medications. The self-medication can be an attitude that will bring more severe problems in the future.

Attention! 

NEVER self-medicate or stop using a medication without first consulting a doctor. Only he will be able to tell which medication, dosage and duration of treatment is the most suitable for his specific case. The information contained on this site is only intended to inform, not in any way intended to replace the guidance of a specialist or serve as a recommendation for any type of treatment. Always follow the instructions on the package insert and, if symptoms persist, seek medical or pharmaceutical advice.

Prognosis: living with the problem

Most complications occur due to untreated neuralgia. Find out which are the main ones:

  • Disability due to pain;
  • Surgical complication;
  • Perform unnecessary dental procedures before neuralgia is diagnosed;
  • Side effects of medications used to control pain.

Although the pain is very severe, the problem does not usually bring other health problems. The indicated is to look for a specialized professional so that he can find the best treatment.

Prevention

To prevent the disease, you need to control other problems, such as diabetes and chronic kidney failure. Also controlling blood glucose can prevent damage to patients with diabetes.

Herpes-zoster patients can use antiviral drugs and also the application of a vaccine may be necessary to prevent neuralgia.

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