Nasty Nerve Pain - Neuropathy & Neuralgia

Neuropathy is the medical term for damage to the nerves, while neuralgia refers to the resulting nerve pain. The pain is usually described as burning, painful, cold, extreme sensitivity or as electric shocks. It may be associated with muscle spasm, pins and needles, numbness or itching.

It is caused by inflammation of the nerve, due to:

  • Damage to the protective sheath around the nerve caused by normal ageing, uncontrolled diabetes and less commonly by Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Shingles, which may be followed by a long lasting nerve pain, often on the face.
  • Tooth abscess which can irritate a nearby nerve
  • Pressure on the nerve caused by a blood vessel, broken bones, slipped vertebral discs or certain tumours


Pain relieving medications: Neuralgia does not generally respond well to common pain medications. Specific medications are available on prescription from your doctor and are very effective at treating neuralgia. They include antidepressants which reduce the pain messages to the brain and anti-epileptics which prevent nerve cells from firing too quickly.

Vitamins B12, B6, B1 and folateThese B vitamins play a central role in the maintenance of the protective sheath around the nerve cells which allow the nerves to transmit messages. Thus they improve nerve conduction and promote regeneration of injured nerves. They have been shown to help in the treatment of neuralgia, both in combination with medicines and by themselves. 

Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC) has promise as an antioxidant in the treatment of neuropathy. A 12-month study found a 40% improvement in patients taking ALC compared to only 24% of those on placebo. 

Tumeric - Oxidative stress and inflammation play a role in neuropathy, so the curcuminoids found in turmeric may be helpful due to their anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Capsaicin creamCapsaicin works by increasing the release of a chemical that transmits pain messages, thus sensitivity is increased initially and then decreased significantly once this chemical has been depleted.

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