How to Treat Neuritis & Neuralgia

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Neuritis is an inflammatory condition that affects the nerves and produces pain along nerve channels, or neuralgia. Many things can trigger neuritis and neuralgia, including nerve compression due to injury, periodontal disease, diabetes, shingles and other viral infections. The pain can also be of unspecific origin and impact any part of the body. While neuralgia isn't considered a disease in itself, it is considered an underlying symptom of another condition. In order to successfully treat neuritis and neuralgia, it is necessary to track down the root cause.

Treatment Options

  • Make an appointment with your dentist if the pain is occurring along your jaw line or face. This condition, known as trigeminal neuralgia, is usually associated with an abscess or impacted bone that is causing pressure on surrounding nerves. Remedial intervention of either should put an end to your suffering.

  • Schedule an appointment with your physician if you are experiencing pain anywhere else on your body. This condition, called postherpetic neuralgia, is characterized by a burning or "pins and needles" sensation of the skin and often follows a bout with shingles. In fact, the pain typically generates from the same location that shingles blisters initially broke out.

  • Discuss the possibility of undergoing physical therapy with your health care practitioner if your neuritis and related neuralgia stems from a muscle or joint injury near the affected area. Engaging in certain exercises under the supervision of a trained therapist may improve blood and oxygen supply to the affected nerves and help to reduce inflammation and pain.

  • Find out if you might be a candidate for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), which involves the targeted delivery of short, electrical impulses to nerve channels. Some physicians and physical therapists think that this treatment promotes an increased production of endorphins, one of the hormones that regulate pain signals in the brain.

  • Consider using natural treatments for your neuritis and neuralgia, such as a topical cream containing capsaicin, which is derived from chili peppers. Although this agent can produce burning and tingling sensations when applied to skin at first, the numbing effect may be beneficial in the long-term.

  • Try using over-the-counter pain medications to curb pain, such as aspirin or ibuprofen. There are also prescription pain medications available, but keep in mind that these may become addictive over time.

  • Talk to your doctor about advanced medical interventions, if necessary, particularly if your neuritis and neuralgia are related to nerve damage from severe physical trauma. Options include surgery, corticosteroid injections, and medication with serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), otherwise known as tricyclic antidepressants.

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