Peripheral neuralgia is a condition that affects the body’s peripheral nervous system, which communicates with the body’s central nervous system. Peripheral nerves are located throughout your entire body, and they are connected to your spinal cord. The peripheral nerves sense pain and temperature changes, and they transmit this information back to the central nervous system, which consists of your brain and spinal cord.
Normally, the pain you feel after bumping your leg or burning your finger is a result of your peripheral nerves functioning correctly. As the injury heals, the pain should naturally subside. However, when the nerves have been damaged, it is possible to experience unexplained arm pain, leg pain or numbness and tingling in the hands, feet or other parts of the body.
Causes And Symptoms
There are many reasons why people develop peripheral neuralgia, including trauma, inflammation, exposure to certain toxins, tumors, certain illnesses, vitamin deficiencies, shingles, liver damage and diabetes. The pain associated with carpel tunnel syndrome is associated with peripheral neuralgia. In some instances, the exact cause cannot easily be determined, and the symptoms can vary widely. For example, one person may experience muscle spasms, and another person may have trouble with bladder function. Other symptoms include arm pain, leg pain, losing sensation in your extremities, tingling, muscle cramps and difficulty walking.
Some types of neuralgia affect several areas of the body, and you may experience nerve pain in more than one area. Sometimes, you may only feel pain in one part of your body. Even the type of pain can vary, and it can range from an extremely sharp pain to a dull ache. In the early stages of peripheral neuralgia, your symptoms may start and stop without warning, and this can make it difficult to correctly diagnose the problem. Also, because muscle pain can be associated with other disorders, extensive testing may be needed in order to arrive at the correct diagnosis.
Treating Peripheral Neuralgia
There are various ways to treat the symptoms of peripheral neuralgia, and the treatment often depends on the cause and the severity of the pain. If the nerve pain is caused by diabetes, pain control may be used along with attempts to keep your diabetes under control. Usually, the first step is to try to control the pain by applying heat to the affected area or by taking over-the-counter pain medicine. If this does not bring you any relief, you should speak to your pain management doctor about alternative treatment options.
Advances in pain management have led to new ways of controlling arm pain, neck pain and diabetic nerve pain. These techniques include the application of a stellate ganglion block and the implantation of a spinal cord stimulator. Your pain management doctor can advise you of your best options for controlling the pain.