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Nerve pain is caused by the damage or by the disease of the nervous system. The nervous system itself is the cause of the pain.

This type of pain in which the nerves themselves pain is referred to as neuralgia. The following article discusses the issues of how to get nervous pain and how it can become chronic.

It is crucial to recognize early whether the pain of the nerve can be treated well. Too late treatment, in which the pain is already chronic, means that it can only be alleviated and not completely reversed.

Short version

  • Pain is indispensable for a healthy life.
  • However, when the nerves themselves experience pain, it becomes neuralgia.
  • Non-treatment can lead to chronic pain
  • Nerve pain is described as burning, tingling, pungent and inclusive.
  • There are different forms of nerve pain such as polyneuropathy, phantom pain and trigeminal neuralgia
  • Treatment is difficult. Pain relief can only be achieved in rare cases.
  • Not all sudden pains associated with restriction of mobility are a result of neuralgia (painful nerves)

What are nerve pains and what should one know about pain?

Pain is indispensable for a healthy life. Without them, we will not be able to move, smell, taste and feel and think in the long term.

They are instrumental in ensuring that we know what we should do and what we should refrain from doing. Nerve cells, also called neurons, are responsible for doing all of this.

There are hundreds of billions of these ultra-sensitive cells in our body. Each of these cells has the task of transmitting signals. It is important to know that there are many types of nerve cells.

One of them, the so-called pain sensory cells, is responsible for our perception of pain. They act as a kind of early warning system and tell our body when it comes to harmful influences for this.

These pain sensory cells lie as so-called free nerve endings in our skin, organs and in our muscles. Whenever harmful effects on our body occur, they become active.

They send out signals that we perceive as pain signals. So when something happens that damages the body, the signals are transported to the spinal cord. This, together with the brain and the central nerve guidance system, forms the point of contact when it comes to processing and interpreting the stimuli our body perceives.

The perception and evaluation of the pain then takes place in the cerebral cortex.

Important: The sensation of pain is vital for our organism. Because the pain causes us to learn what to do and what to refrain from doing.


If our body would respond to it only with the normal pain that ensued, an external impact on it, we might say so far so well. Now we know that the nerves themselves can be in pain. The pain of the nerves we call neuralgia.

Mostly these are violent pain attacks that occur suddenly. Insofar as someone suffers from this, there are two different cases that can occur here. On the one hand, it can lead to harmless nerve pain, which disappear again after a few days at the latest.

This is often the case, for example, when you have pinched a nerve or have moved incorrectly. This case is rather harmless. It becomes critical when these pains become chronic and spread over one or more nerves.

This chronic pain, which often manifests itself in burning as well as stinging and dull pain, can have various causes or triggers.

One of these is nerve pain that spreads to neuralgia. This can happen as a result of inflammation in the body due to external irritation. These triggers can often be attributed to the effects of everyday life.

This can happen, for example, due to wrong movements that pinch the sciatic nerve. But also working on the PC and for a long time, can cause the nerves of the hands are irritated and it comes to the so-called carpal tunnel syndrome.

Furthermore, permanent irritation and damage to the nerves is responsible for the fact that nerve pain can spread to neuralgia. Often this has a variety of causes.

These include inflammations, viruses, diabetes mellitus as well as operations and other mechanical influences. You can find out how nerve pains arise in the text below.

Neuralgia can be divided into different types. These are named in each case according to their area of ​​propagation. Roughly speaking, there are trigeminal neuralgia, ischialgia, lumboischia and post-zoster neurolagy.

It is also important to know that the pain can still occur even if the damage to the nerve has already healed. This has to do with the fact that the nerves have a kind of pain memory.

When it does, it causes the nerves to become over-sensitive. Even weak pain signals and physical stimuli such as stress and strong emotions are then sufficient to cause severe pain.

One thing is certain. Pain signals are quite different. When it comes to recognizing whether you have neuralgia, there are many things to consider. Before you go to the doctor, you should ask yourself some questions.

First of all, it is important to ask yourself when and where the pain is occurring. Then you have to examine how long and how strong they are. Once you have asked yourself this question, you should ask yourself how the pain feels.

Only then should it be clarified whether it is triggered by internal or external stimuli and what the reason for the pain is. If you ask yourself all these questions, you can argue much more confidently to the doctor when it comes to the question of whether it is a pain in the nerves (neuralgia) or simply a normal pain.

Tip: Neuralgia should be treated as soon as possible after the first onset of pain. Therefore, it is essential to ask the questions just mentioned. The longer a treatment is delayed, the more likely it is that the pain becomes chronic.


Nerve pain is often described by sufferers as burning, tingling, stinging, including and radiating. Even gentle touches on the affected parts of the body cause severe pain (allodynia).

Furthermore, it comes that sensory sensations are worse or not perceived, inasmuch as the nerve tracts are damaged. This often occurs in diseases such as diabetes and the associated diabetic foot.

But not only that. Neuropathic pain can even affect the psyche of those affected. The behavior changes to the detriment of the persons who are in daily contact with one.

How do you get nerve pain?

Nerve pain basically has a variety of different triggers. Often these are one of the following causes:

  • Disc prolapse
  • polyneuropathy
  • Shingles
  • nerve bruising
  • Nerve breaks
  • phantom pain

Despite this variety of different triggers you can divide the triggers into two main groups. On the one hand, these are nerve pains caused by musculoskeletal disorders and, on the other hand, these are so-called neuropathic pains.

Nervous diseases due to musculoskeletal disorders

Significant here is that the spinal canal runs within the spine and is also connected to a variety of nerve cords. These nerve cords send signals to the brain and receive those from the same.

Nerve pain can occur in the area of ​​these entry and exit points of the nerve cords. This can lead to two different situations. On the one hand, the nerve can pinch in the short term.

This is often associated with irritation of the nerves. This is often a lightning-like and a few seconds lasting pain. On the other hand, it can happen that the nerve is inflamed and it comes to long-term pain. Here the nerve itself is inflamed and causes pain. This is also called neuralgia.

A nervous disorder due to musculoskeletal disorders can have several causes. Thus, it can lead to a malposition of the vertebral bodies, further discs can press on the nerve cords or it comes to age-related signs of wear, which can trigger Athrose, for example.

Treatment is achieved by combining different treatment concepts. Here is a short list of possible treatments:

  • medical therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Physical therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Relaxation procedures and patient training
  • transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).

Neuropathic pain

Neuropathic pain is caused by the nerves or blood vessels that supply the nerves. The cause is often referred to as so-called autoimmune diseases.

These include, for example, multiple sclerosis, diabetes mellitus, alcohol abuse as well as infections and injuries. When it comes to neuropathic pain, this is often associated with typical signs.

This often leads to altered skin sensitivity. The skin is hypersensitive to certain stimuli such as heat, cold as well as pressure and touch. Other typical signs include so-called spontaneous pain, including attacks of pain and hypersensitivity of the skin to normally non-painful stimuli.

In patients suffering from shingles, this can even lead to the fact that it can already come to the pain when donning clothes.

It often comes after injuries, shingles and in diabetic polyneuropathy to neuropathic nerve pain. After an injury, the nervous system may be susceptible to messenger substances due to a miscarriage.

This can be particularly dangerous in stress situations, as the messenger substances are released and there is pain. Such a pain is usually treatable only by a drug-based pain therapy.

If you have suffered from a shingles, there is a risk that even after that comes to neuropathic pain. This is because the viruses still remain in the nerves after the disease subsides and can be reactivated at a later date.

When the nerve is inflamed, it automatically causes pain and discomfort. Such an inflammation usually takes more than a month, until it dies down. It is also important to try to get rid of the virus as soon as possible. Depending on the type of virus it comes to the use of different drugs. For shingles, for example, viral tattoos are used.

In diabetic polyneuropathy, the blood flow through the blood vessels is affected by deposits. This results in nerve damage that can affect the area of ​​the feet as well as the lower leg and the hands.

Affected suffer from discomfort, emotional disorders, twitching and muscle atrophy and burning, stinging, cutting and inclusive pain.

Therapy is approached based on the underlying cause. In diabetes patients, for example, the blood sugar level is set correctly here. The therapy basically has two goals. Once it tries to achieve freedom from pain.

This can be achieved by complete or partial drug or by non-medical methods. On the other hand, one tries to improve the pain management. However, this is only possible through the use of psychological procedures.

Tip: Again, a pain therapy should take place as early as possible.

What forms of pain are there?

Nerve pain can also be of very different shape. The following list shows the type of pain neuralgia can cause:

  • Postzosteric neuralgia
  • Posttraumatic neuralgia
  • trigeminal neuralgia
  • polyneuropathy
  • HIV neuropathy
  • Phantom pain
  • Central neuropathic pain after stroke
  • Central neuropathic pain after spinal cord injury
  • Central neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis
  • CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome, formerly also referred to as Sudeck’s disease)
  • Facial and shingles
  • Intercostal neuralgia

Treatment: That’s the way to go!

Treatment for nerve pain is often difficult if no surgery to relieve the nerves is possible. This leads to the fact that pain relief can only be achieved in rare cases. Despite this negative assessment, the treatment of nerve pain has certain goals.

So is trying to achieve pain relief by 30 to 50 percent. This is usually associated with an improvement in sleep and quality of life. Furthermore, one tries to maintain the social activities and relationships of the person concerned and their ability to work.

This can be achieved by the use of certain agents that are used for the treatment:

  • medical therapy
  • Interventional therapy
  • Neuromodulation, relaxation procedure
  • Physical therapy
  • orthopedic support measures
  • professional psychological support

A therapy is always individually tailored to the individual. The treatment is to a large extent carried out through the use of medication.

It is important to know that the goal of the treatment is to relieve the symptoms until the damaged nerves have recovered and rebuilt.

Non-drug procedures are used in addition and especially to bridge the time to stop the medication.

Related diseases: Difference between functioning pain sensation and neuralgia

Importantly, not all sudden pain associated with restriction of range of motion is a consequence of neuralgia. Frequently, simple muscular tension and careless mistakes are one of the reasons.

A lumbago and a herniated disc are the classic examples here. In older age, it is important to note that osteoarthritis can cause joint pain. The nerve is not additionally inflamed.

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