Understanding the Different Types of Neuralgia

Be thankful for your peripheral nervous system — it allows you to feel the soft fur of a baby kitten, alerts you to pull back when you touch something hot, makes your dance moves possible, and keeps your heart beating. But if your nerves become damaged (neuropathy), the only thing you feel may be excruciating neuropathic pain (neuralgia).

At Arlington Pain & Therapy in Arlington and Mansfield, Texas, our team of experienced pain management and neuromusculoskeletal experts sees the devastating effects of neuralgia, and they treat the acute pain while working toward slowing the progression of the condition causing it. 

If you’re experiencing nerve-related pain, we thoroughly assess your condition and design a personalized treatment plan that specifically addresses your symptoms and the underlying cause.

Types of neuralgia

When you have a damaged nerve or group of nerves, the pain you feel may come and go, but it generally follows the path of the nerve. You may experience a sudden and sustained burning sensation or sharp, shooting pain. Some people liken it to an electrical shock. You may also notice that the muscles near the nerve feel weaker than usual.

Where you feel the pain and how it manifests depend on many factors, including your overall health, age, pain tolerance, and of course, the cause of your neuralgia. Here are some common types:

Trigeminal neuralgia

Your trigeminal nerve enables your face to feel and move. It branches off into sections that serve your cheeks, eyes, and jaw. If this nerve becomes compressed or inflamed, it can cause neuralgia.

You feel a sharp, shooting pain in your face or jaw, and it can be triggered by even the most minor movement, like smiling or touching your face.

Diabetic neuralgia

The high blood sugar that leads to diabetes also leads to neuropathy, damage to your nerves. The nerves typically affected by diabetes are in your legs and feet. About half of all diabetics experience neuralgia related to their condition. 

Diabetic neuralgia begins with mild symptoms of tingling in your toes and feet, and sometimes in your fingers and hands. It progresses to sharp pain, which can make it hard to walk. Some diabetics lose sensation in their feet completely.

Shingles neuralgia

If you had chicken pox at some point in your life, you still carry the herpes zoster virus in your body, specifically at nerve roots. If it reactivates, you get shingles, a painful rash.

Singles often damages nerve fibers, which makes your skin hypersensitive to even a light touch, causes itchiness and numbness, and can include pain that lasts for months. This is called postherpetic neuropathy.

Surgical neuralgia

When you have surgery, the incision often involves some nerve damage. Sometimes, that triggers a chain of events that alters your peripheral nervous system and makes you feel the pain long after your incision has healed.

In fact, up to 40% of surgery patients deal with some degree of chronic postoperative neuralgia in the form of physical pain or depression.

Pelvic neuralgia

When your pudendal nerve is pinched or damaged, you may feel the effects in your pelvic region. Ranging from mild discomfort to numbness to severe pain, pelvic neuralgia can make it difficult to urinate, have sex, and even sit down.

Childbearing, injury, surgery, tumors, and even bike riding can cause this type of neuralgia, 

Sciatic neuralgia

One of the most common types of neuralgia involves the longest nerve in your body. The sciatic nerve starts in your lower back and travels through your buttocks and down your leg. If you have a condition that puts pressure on that nerve, you feel pain anywhere along its path. A herniated disc, muscle spasm, pregnancy, spondylosis, and spinal stenosis are all known causes of sciatic neuralgia.

Treating all types of neuralgia

No matter what’s causing your neuralgia, we can relieve your pain. And in many cases, we can treat the root cause of your neuralgia and stop the pain for good. Our team customizes your treatment based on your unique set of circumstances. We use a combination of physical therapy and medication to reduce inflammation and ease your pain.

If you’re suffering from neuralgia, call us at any of our three Texas locations today or send us a message online and start your journey toward a pain-free life.

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