This site provides you with the information about neuralgia, how to prevent, cure neuralgia treatments, causes of neuralgia, neuralgia prevention tips, advice, neuralgia remedies, neuralgia symptoms, neuralgia signs, neuralgia medicine, neuralgia drugs, recovering from neuralgia, acute neuralgia, chronic neuralgia, and more.
Neuralgia or neuropathic pain can be defined most simply as non-nociceptive pain. Neuralgia is pain produced by a change in neurological structure or function. Unlike nociceptive pain, Neuralgia exists with no continuous nociceptive input. Neuralgia falls into two categories: central Neuralgia and peripheral Neuralgia. This unusual pain is thought to be linked to four possible mechanisms: ion gate malfunctions; the nerve becomes mechanically sensitive and creates an ectopic signal; cross signals between large and small fibers; and malfunction due to damage in the central processor.
Neuralgia was first recognized by Weir Mitchell, a Civil War surgeon, who noticed hyperalgesia and chronic pain in patients who had nerve lesions in the extremities and also some cases where no lesion was observed. Mitchell termed the condition causalgia which has since become known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type 1 and Type 2 (CRPS). CRPS Type 1 describes the condition when no clear nerve injury is present, and Type 2 describes a case when nerve damage is clear.
Neuralgia is often difficult to diagnose, and most treatments show little or no effectiveness. Diagnosis typically involves locating the damaged nerve by identifying missing sensory or motor function. This may involve tests such as an EMG test or a nerve conduction test. Neuralgia is more difficult to treat than other types of pain because it does not respond well to normal pain medications. Special medications have become more specific to Neuralgia and typically fall under the category of membrane stabilizing drugs or antidepressants such as Cymbalta, Lyrica, and Neurontin. While patients do not typically respond well to surgical treatments, some neural augmentative surgeries have shown some success.
Under the general heading of neuralgia are trigeminal neuralgia (TN), atypical trigeminal neuralgia (ATN), and postherpetic neuralgia (caused by shingles or herpes). Neuralgia is also involved in disorders such as sciatica and brachial plexopathy with neuropathia. Neuralgias that do not involve the trigeminal nerve are occipital neuralgia and glossopharyngeal neuralgia.
In the case of trigeminal neuralgia the affected nerves are responsible for sensing touch, temperature sensation and pressure sensation in the facial area from the jaw to the forehead. The disorder generally causes short episodes of excruciating pain, usually for less than two minutes and usually only one side of the face. The pain can be described in a variety of ways such as "stabbing," "sharp," "like lightning," "burning," and even "itchy". In the atypical form of TN, the pain presents itself as severe constant aching along the nerve. The pain associated with TN is recognized as one of the most excruciating pains that can be experienced.
Simple stimuli such as eating, talking, making facial expressions, washing the face, or any light touch or sensation can trigger an attack (even the sensation of a cool breeze). The attacks can occur in clusters, as an isolated attack, or be completely constant. Some patients will have a muscle spasm which led to the original term for TN of "tic douloureux" ("tic", meaning 'spasm', and "douloureux", meaning 'painful', in French).
Neuralgia is a form of chronic pain and can be extremely difficult to diagnose. Postherpetic neuralgia is the easiest to diagnose because it follows an obvious cause (shingles). Neuralgia is a rare disease. Women are more likely to be affected than men, and those over 50 are at the greatest risk. In some cases, multiple sclerosis is related to nerve damage, causing the pain, so doctors will likely ask about family history to help diagnose. Nothing unusual can be seen in brain scans, so diagnosis is usually based on the description of the symptoms and the response to the medication or procedures.