What is Neuralgia

Neuralgia or neuropathic pain develops when nerves anywhere in the body or the brain are damaged, irritated or inflamed. This can occur due to injuries such as fractures or back injuries, following operations, with medical conditions such as diabetes, HIV, cancer or stroke, infections or in some cases, without any known cause. Symptoms depend on the nerves that are affected.

Pain management

Neuropathic pain conditions can be very painful and have been known to cause significant impairment in one’s quality of life. Certain types of medication are quite effective at managing this. The main drugs are:

  • Amitriptyline
  • Duloxetine
  • Pregabaline and Gabapentin
  • Other drugs relieve severe, localised pain including:
  • Capsaicin cream – which works by stopping the nerves sending pain messages to the brain.
  • Lidocaine plaster – a large plaster containing local anaesthetic which is absorbed into the skin.
  • Tramadol – a powerful painkiller, but it can be addictive so is usually only prescribed when pain is particularly bad.

Treatments

Options include treating the specific cause, if known such as through lifestyle changes, vitamin B12 or medication such as corticosteroids, immunosuppressants or immunoglobulins. Complementary treatments, such as acupuncture or TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) may also be effective. Further treatment focuses on managing symptoms, which is where Professor Saxena can help.

Side effects

The most common side effects are tiredness, dizziness or feeling “drunk”. Side effects should improve as your body gets used to the medication.