Understanding Neuralgia Types and Treatments

Tinnitus.,Profile,Of,Sick,Female,Having,Ear,Pain,,Touching,Her Neuralgia is a painful condition brought on by irritated or damaged nerves, often caused by aging. Many different medical conditions can cause neuralgia, such as:

  • Infections, including shingles, Lyme disease and HIV
  • Kidney disease, diabetic neuropathy, or multiple sclerosis
  • Pressure on nerves due to bones, blood vessels, or tumors

Neuralgia manifests as a burning, stabbing, severe pain and can affect nerves located anywhere in the body.

Types of Neuralgia

There are several common types of neuralgia:

  • Trigeminal neuralgia(TN) affects the trigeminal nerve in the head. There are two subtypes. Type 1 is the most common, causing a painful burning sensation like an electric shock to the face. Type 2 is a constant, dull ache in the face. Multiple sclerosis is a common cause of TN.
  • Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) causes severe pain to the skin. The shingles virus most commonly causes it. It also causes inflammation of nerve fibers, which can lead to permanent nerve damage.
  • Occipital neuralgia affects the occipital nerves, creating a shooting pain from the base of the skull, across the scalp, and into the back of the eyes. It can be caused by poor posture, gout, muscular tension, lesions or tumors, inflamed blood vessels, infections, or injuries.
  • Peripheral neuralgia is due to damage to the peripheral nervous system. It can affect a single nerve or a whole nerve group. It is often caused by damage to the peripheral nerve system.
  • Intercostal neuralgia affects nerves below the ribs and can cause sharp pain in the upper back, abdomen, or chest. It can be caused by chest injuries or surgical procedures, shingles, or nerve pressure.


Diagnosis involves asking questions about your symptoms and a physical examination, including testing your nerves. Blood tests, nerve conduction studies, CT scans, and MRI scans are used to evaluate and determine underlying conditions.


Treatment depends on the location, cause, and severity of pain.

Medications, including antidepressants, antiseizures, pain relievers (OTC or prescription), and creams and skin patches, are all options.

Other treatments may include:

  • Pain-reliever shots
  • Physical therapy
  • Nerve blocks
  • Surgery to take pressure off a nerve
  • Techniques to reduce the feeling of a nerve
  • Acupuncture or biofeedback therapy

Get Treatment for Your Neuralgia Pain

The Pain Experts of Arizona can help you relieve your neuralgia pain. Schedule an appointment today online or call 480-550-9393 or visit one of our offices in Gilbert or Mesa, AZ.


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