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What is neuralgia and what are the main symptoms?

Neuralgia is the condition which is characterized by the pain related to one or more nerves. This pain is particular since it is not provoked by the stimulation of the pain receptor, but it is caused by some kind of a change in neurological function or structure. It is very difficult to diagnose this disease because, first of all, it is necessary to locate the damaged nerve, and the treatment is harder because this kind of pain does not react to pain relievers the way that other kinds of pain do.

Neuralgia is a term which commonly refers to trigeminal neuralgia and postherpetic neuralgia, and while the main characteristics of trigeminal are sudden and stabbing pain of the facial nerve, postherpetic is characterized by the constant and severe nerve pain, which may last as long as few months, and in rare cases years, and which may even be the result of shingles, a viral infection of the root of the nerve.

What are the causes of neuralgia?

The causes depend on the type of neuralgia, because while trigeminal neuralgia is caused either by the damage or by the pressure of the trigeminal nerve, which is also known as the fifth cranial nerve, postherpetic neuralgia may be the result of the damage of nerve fibers during the outbreak of shingles. There are also the cases in which the cause of trigeminal neuralgia cannot really be identified, and there are two trigeminal nerves in the face, each on one side. The consequences of neuralgia may cause even problems with sleeping and malnutrition. This condition may be treated in various ways, and the available methods include surgery, complementary approaches and medications, mostly anticonvulsants, which have the purpose to block the nerve firing, and antidepressants, which have proven to be very effective and helpful in the majority of the cases of neuralgia. Alternative medicine offers several methods which can help with this condition, and acupuncture is one of them.

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