Neuralgia is repeated attacks of severe pain that shoot, and radiate, affecting different body parts. The direct cause of the disease is irritation of a specific nerve. In some cases, neuralgia attacks go away on their own without treatment. However, drug therapy, or even surgery, is required if the pain is severe and repeated.
Almost every adult experienced attacks of sudden pain in the limbs, spine, and buttocks, which passed only after a painkiller. These unpleasant, painful sensations are caused by irritation of the nerves that pass through narrow channels and are called neuralgia in medical language. There are several types of disease, which depend on the affected nerve.
Neuritis is a pathological inflammation of the peripheral nerves: facial, visual, trigeminal and auditory.
- Trigeminal neuralgia is observed in 5 people out of 1000. There are points on the wings of the nose, the upper lip and the tip of the nose, the touch of which cause sharp pain.
- Sciatic neuralgia (sciatica) occurs due to damage to the sacral and lumbar nerve endings. As a result, the patient feels pain in the buttocks and leg. Painful sensations increase when laughing, coughing or sitting.
- Constant or paroxysmal burning pains characterise intercostal neuralgia in the ribs. Therefore, pain arising in the intercostal space is a severe reason for a comprehensive examination.
- Arnold's or neuralgia of the occipital nerve manifests as a headache, more often in the back of the head, which worsens when sneezing or coughing.
- Radiculitis is a type of inflammatory disease of the nerve roots of the spinal cord.
Other, more rare forms include geniculate ganglionitis (Ramsay Hunt syndrome), Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome, hemifacial spasm (face twitching), cranial nerve disorders (olfactory, glossopharyngeal, vagus, facial (Bell's palsy), and hypoglossal), postherpetic neuralgia, Parsonage-Aldren-Turner syndrome, shoulder-girdle neuritis, phantom limb syndrome.
Neuralgia occurs as a sudden sharp pain - the most pronounced and well-known symptom. In addition, other signs may appear, such as numbness in the limbs, muscle weakness, and tingling in the arms, legs, and spine. Each of these types of neuralgia has its specifics. To be sure which disease has occurred in a particular case, you should consult a neurologist.
Treatment of neuralgia depends mainly on the severity of the pain syndrome and the frequency of its occurrence. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ointment or gel, are used for temporary pain relief. Therapy also includes injections of painkillers, taking vitamins of group B, and locally prescribed procaine.
When drug therapy is ineffective, treatment for neuralgia can take the form of surgery or radiation therapy. It aims to block or destroy the parts of the nerves that are responsible for the pain attacks after exposure to stimuli. In physiotherapy, various methods of treating neuralgia are used, for example, a magnetic field, which has a pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effect. In addition, a good result is given by descending water-electric baths of a certain temperature.
Where can I get Neuralgia treatment?
What are the best clinics for Neuralgia treatment?
Who are the best doctors for Neuralgia?
Prof. Dr. med. Christian E. Elger from Beta Clinic Bonn
Prof. Dr. med. Bernhard Hemmer from University Hospital rechts der Isar Munich
PD. Dr. med. Florian Masuhr from Academic Hospital Bundeswehr Berlin
PD. Dr. med. Axel Lipp from Park Clinic Weissensee Berlin
Prof. Dr. med. H. Steinmetz from University Hospital Frankfurt am Main of Goethe-University