Below, we cover how to tell nerve pain from other types of pain. Nerve pain can come in many forms and oftentimes shares many characteristics with other types of pain. This can sometimes make this type of pain difficult to distinguish from other possible conditions at hand.
However, it is possible to learn to distinguish nerve pain when you need to. This can help one in situations where this type of pain arises and causes issues in the body.
How to Tell Nerve Pain from Other Types of Pain
If you’re experiencing some nerve pain, or just want to stay privy to the symptoms of such pain in case it does arise, then take a look at this primer, which describes how to identify some of these symptoms and whether you should consider pinched nerve treatment.
What Is Nerve Pain?
Nerve pain, or neuralgia, is a specific type of pain that can cause a wide range of strange sensations. These can range from shooting, stabbing, burning, or other unpleasant sensations.
There are several different types of nerve pain, which have the potential to cause pain in any of the nerves of the body. Some of the main sub-types include
- Post-herpetic pain – Pain that can occur after a herpes or shingles outbreak, affecting the same area as the shingles rash.
- Trigeminal pain – Pain that can afflict your jaw or cheek
- Occipital pain – Pain that originates at the base of your skull and travels to the back of your head
- Pudendal pain – Pain that causes discomfort in the “saddle area” between your legs
Symptoms of Nerve Pain
Nerve pain can express itself in a number of different ways. As stated before, it often can feel like shooting, stabbing, or burning. Sometimes the pain can be sharp and sudden, and feel somewhat akin to an electric shock. You might also feel like you’ve become very sensitive to cold or touch.
Nerve pain can oftentimes feel more severe at night and may start to interfere with important parts of your life, such as sleep, work, and exercise. Due to its ability to persist far beyond what is comfortable, nerve pain can also cause anxiety and depression in those that it impacts for a long time.
What Can Cause Nerve Pain?
Nerve pain is usually a byproduct of another injury or disease that somehow impacts your central nervous system or the nerves that control your muscles and organs.
Some of the primary causes of nerve pain include:
- Injuries to the brain, spine, or nerves
- Poor blood supply to your nerves
- Heavy drinking
- Phantom pains that appear after an amputation
- Vitamin B12 deficiencies
- Adverse reactions to medications
Additional diseases that can cause nerve pain include:
- Infectious diseases such as shingles and HIV
- Multiple sclerosis
- Cancer, as well as the treatment for cancer
- Nerves that become entrapped due to carpal tunnel syndrome.
There are other types of conditions that can lead to the development of nerve pain as well. You’ll be able to discuss with your physician whether or not your nerve pain is from another condition of some kind. Some less common sources of nerve pain include:
- Peripheral Neuropathy
Diagnosing Nerve Pain
During your medical examination, your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and give you a thorough look-over. During the examination, they will test your nerves by checking your muscle strength and sensitivity to touch.
Your doctor may also refer you for various tests, including:
- Blood tests
- Nerve conduction studies
- CT or MRI scan
How To Treat Nerve Pain
Nerve pain can be somewhat of a puzzle to treat. There are many strategies in a doctor’s tool belt to make an attempt, however.
Finding the underlying cause of the nerve is usually the first step to making progress towards diagnosing it and treating it. Pain relief and other medicines can be somewhat helpful, as can non-drug related treatments such as exercise, acupuncture, and various relaxation techniques.
Your doctor will also look into whether or not your nerve pain originates in some kind of nutritional deficiency, such as vitamin B12 deficiency.
There are a variety of medications that can be helpful as well. However, determining which one to use can be a bit of a challenge if the underlying cause of the nerve pain isn’t diagnosed correctly.
The Nerve Pain Expert of Los Angeles
Dr. Yashar and his award-winning team of experts are widely considered to be the best nerve pain experts in the Los Angeles area. If you’re experiencing what you suspect might be nerve pain and are interested in trying to rectify this issue, then contact Dr. Yashar today in order to schedule a consultation.