Nerve pain or neuralgia can occur due to a variety of factors. Some nerve pain is caused by nerve compression, such as in the case of carpal tunnel syndrome. Other pain can follow infection by herpes zoster. Sometimes, conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia of the face have no explainable cause, but they can be very painful indeed. Let us try and understand a few root causes of nerve pain, as well as ways to treat them.
Everything You Need To Know About Nerve Pain
1. Nerve Irritation Caused Due To Chemical Exposure
Nerves can be irritated due to exposure to some rather unique chemicals. Suture material is amongst the most common of nerve irritants,1 as is exposure to mustard gas. Nerves take years to regrow and attach, if they ever do. Some researchers are developing novel ways to patch the damaged nerve together so that it may begin transmitting signals.2
2. Vitamin Deficiency Causes Tingling Sensations
Vitamin B12 has a huge role to play in nerve health and effective signal transmission. Often, the first symptom of B12 deficiency is the tingling sensation you experience in your arms and feet.3 Such pain is easy enough to correct. If you have no other conditions that cause neuropathy such as diabetes, a doctor can prescribe B12 supplements for you.
3. Nerve Damage And Pain Caused Due To Diabetes
Diabetes, or excess blood sugar, can result in nerve damage and pain. Often, this is observed as pain and a loss of vision as the optic nerve is damaged- a condition called diabetic retinopathy.4 Unfortunately, there is no way to reverse diabetes entirely. It can be managed using a combination of conventional treatments and natural medicine. As blood sugar levels come under control, you can expect the nerve pain to get better too.
4. Shingles Can Be Caused By Chicken Pox
Shingles only affects those people who have had chicken pox at some point in their lives. Some of the chicken pox virus stays in the system and stays put in the nerves. When the person’s immunity is compromised, it manifests as a severe rash in one nerve band. While the rash is easy enough to cure if identified quickly, it is the nerve pain that bothers several people.
Post-herpic neuralgia can stay on for months, if not years, after the shingles rash heals. Often, the pain is so severe that medical grade morphine is prescribed to patients, along with anti-depressants to combat the pain and feelings of helplessness.5
5. Some Medicines Cause Severe Nerve Pain
Vincristine is a common medication used in chemotherapy and management of cancer. It is obtained from the vinca serpents plant. However, this compound is extremely neurotoxic and can cause severe nerve pain, often termed hyperalgesia.6
Ethosuximide is a compound that helps to reverse nerve damage due to this medicine, as well as reduces the associated nerve pain.7
6. Nerve Damage Caused By Simple Accidents
Sometimes, a simple accident in the kitchen can result in nerve damage. In other cases, bad posture and lack of exercise can cause nerve compression in the spine, shoulder, neck, and wrist region. This compression can in turn, cause extreme pain and a burning sensation in the affected area.8
The only way to correct these problems is by correcting posture over time, as well as practicing exercises that help reduce the pressure on the nerves. In cases of trauma, the extent of damage needs to be assessed before opting for surgery or an alternative treatment plan.
|↑1||Rothman, Sarah M., and Beth A. Winkelstein. “Chemical and mechanical nerve root insults induce differential behavioral sensitivity and glial activation that are enhanced in combination.” Brain research 1181 (2007): 30-43.|
|↑2||New Methods Could Speed Up Repair Of Injured Nerves. National Public Radio.|
|↑3||Reynolds, Edward. “Vitamin B12, folic acid, and the nervous system.” The lancet neurology 5, no. 11 (2006): 949-960.|
|↑4||Dyck, Peter James, P. K. Thomas, A. K. Asbury, A. I. Winegrad, and D. J. Porte. “Diabetic neuropathy.” Diabetic neuropathy (1999): 255-295.|
|↑5||Shingles. U.S. National Library Of Medicine.|
|↑6||Rosenthal, Susan, and Sheldon Kaufman. “Vincristine neurotoxicity.” Annals of Internal Medicine 80, no. 6 (1974): 733-737.|
|↑7||Flatters, Sarah JL, and Gary J. Bennett. “Ethosuximide reverses paclitaxel-and vincristine-induced painful peripheral neuropathy.” Pain 109, no. 1 (2004): 150-161.|
|↑8||Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.|