All About Peripheral Neuralgia

All About Peripheral Neuralgia

Viruses, injury, cancer, or diabetes can cause damage to your nerves that results in peripheral neuropathy. Neuropathy is characterized by pain, numbness, tingling, swelling, or muscle weakness most commonly in your hands, feet, and lower legs. Peripheral neuropathy can affect any of the nerves outside of your brain and spinal cord. 

Neuralgia is the pain that occurs along the nerve pathways. It may be burning, stabbing, shocking, or sharp. The pain is chronic and magnifies in response to stimuli. It’s likely due to faulty nervous impulses. 

Peripheral neuralgia can make it difficult for you to perform day-to-day activities. At Interventional Spine and Pain Institute in Vero Beach, Florida, Dr. Michael Esposito uses his vast pain management experience to help relieve your peripheral neuralgia pain. Here’s what he wants you to know about this condition.

Causes of peripheral neuralgia

In some neuralgia cases, there may be no observable structural issues in the nerves. These cases are likely due to faulty nerve wiring in your body. 

Lesions, or damage, to a nerve can also cause neuralgia. These lesions may be due to:

Diabetes

With this metabolic condition, your body has difficulty producing enough insulin to regulate your blood sugar. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to a harmful concentration of sugar in your tissues, resulting in damage to the peripheral nerves and thus neuralgia.

Herpes zoster virus

The virus associated with shingles, known as the herpes zoster virus, can cause inflammation along your nerve pathways. The damage can become permanent, resulting in neuralgia. 

HIV infection

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is associated with peripheral neuralgia due to inflammation caused by the infection and certain medications used for treatment. 

Cancer

Malignant tumors can cause long-term nerve damage. The chemotherapy used to treat these tumors may also be responsible for long-term nerve pain.

Injury 

You may experience long-term nerve damage and the subsequent pain as a result of direct injury.

How to treat peripheral neuralgia

Prescription medications can help manage peripheral neuralgia, but if this line of treatment fails, you may consider peripheral nerve stimulation. This is a form of neuromodulation in which a device implanted near a dysfunctional nerve emits electrical impulses to correct chronic pain signals.

We often treat peripheral neuralgia with medications first. Some antidepressants can help relieve pain in cases of peripheral nerve damage. Anticonvulsants are sometimes helpful as well. 

Dr. Esposito may also recommend peripheral nerve stimulation to treat your neuralgia pain. This involves a minor surgical procedure to implant small electrodes into the tissues around the affected nerves. 

Once in place, the electrodes emit a mild electrical impulse when you feel pain. You control the delivery of the impulses with a hand-held device. The electrical impulses can correct the abnormal signaling of your damaged nerves and ease some or all pain. 

Our goal at Interventional Spine and Pain Institute is to help you get long-term relief from the pain of peripheral neuralgia. Call us today or use this website to schedule an appointment to find out more about your condition and possible treatments.

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