• 11 Nov, 2021
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Dealing with Nerve Pain: Causes, Symptoms & Natural Remedies

About 1 in 3 Americans experience chronic pain. Of those, 1 in 5 experience neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain, also called nerve pain, is one of the many classes of chronic pain. It can be a persistent and painful health concern, and finding relief can have a huge impact on your quality of life. Though nerve pain can be sudden and unpleasant, there are steps you can take to help relieve symptoms and get on the road to recovery. Read on to learn more about nerve pain, from its common causes and symptoms to treatments that can help alleviate the pain and discomfort.

 

Woman Suffering From Nerve Pain in Wrist

 

What is Nerve Pain?

 

Nerve pain is complex and can be caused by nerve damage, irritation, or destruction. The cause of nerve pain is usually due to damaged nerves that send false signals and result in chronic pain. The signals may not function to register the pain associated with an injury normally. ​

Nerve pain is often progressive, especially if the root cause is not treated. The usual progression of nerve pain begins far away from the brain and spinal cord (hands and feet) and spreads backward (retrograde) toward the arms and legs. With appropriate and timely treatment, the progression may be halted and, in some cases, reversed.

 

Nerve Pain Causes

 

Although some people develop nerve pain for no known reason, many others develop it because of a certain health problem such as diabetes, shingles, or cancer. It can also occur as the result of injury or infection. Some develop unusual triggers that make them overly sensitive to certain conditions, caused by a heightened sensitivity of the nerves to stimulation. With neuropathic pain, the pain isn’t typically triggered by an event or injury. Instead, the body just sends pain signals to your brain unprompted. 

Common causes for nerve pain include:

  • Cancer
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Chemotherapy
  • Chronic alcohol use
  • Diabetes
  • Facial nerve damage
  • Herniated discs
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Phantom limb syndrome
  • Shingles
  • Syphilis
  • Spinal arthritis
  • Spinal cord compression
  • Thyroid issues
  • Tissue, muscle, and joint injuries
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Vitamin B deficiency

 

Woman Feeling Nerve Pain Symptoms in Neck

 

Nerve Pain Symptoms

 

The perception of pain varies with everyone; terms such as stabbing, prickling, burning, tingling, and other descriptions have been used. Nerve pain can be difficult to live with and tends to get worse over time. If you feel like you are experiencing any nerve pain symptoms, be sure to speak with your doctor quickly to prevent further potential nerve damage.

Each person’s symptoms of nerve pain may vary slightly, but these nerve pain symptoms are common:

  • Shooting, throbbing, burning, or stabbing pain
  • Tingling or “pins and needles” feeling
  • Spontaneous pain
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch
  • Difficulty sleeping or resting
  • Loss of balance
  • Weakened grip
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Pain with movement
  • Partial or complete paralysis

 

Loss of Feeling & Numbness

Not all nerve damage results in pain. Loss of feeling or numbness may also occur. Although it may not be painful, the numbness can result in decreased sensitivity of the sense of touch that can interfere with dexterity in the hands. This can make activities like typing, shoe-tying, or playing a musical instrument difficult. Numbness or reduction/loss of the sense of touch can be dangerous because it affects balance and muscle strength. This may require braces, canes, or walkers to prevent falls.

Although some nerve damage may cause numbness instead of pain, this can still be harmful. Numbness may mask damage to traumatized extremities like the feet. People with this type of nerve damage can benefit from regularly examining their extremities for possible overlooked injuries.

 

Doctor Checking Patient for Nerve Pain

 

Nerve Pain Remedies

 

Over-the-Counter Treatments

Over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers drugs are often the first medicines used to reduce or stop nerve pain. The components may include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or acetaminophen. Some OTCs may be incorporated into creams, gels, ointments, oils, or sprays that are applied to the skin overlying the painful area.

 

Prescription Drugs

​​There are many different prescription drugs that may help to reduce nerve pain. They range from powerful painkillers to drugs that were originally used for depression or seizures but can also reduce nerve pain. However, some of these prescription drugs may be addictive, so you and your doctor need to find a treatment plan that works for you without causing you additional problems.

 

Natural & Home Remedies for Nerve Pain

Some people with nerve pain respond to other treatments known as complementary, natural, or alternative treatments. For example, acupuncture may help some, while dietary supplements may help others. However, you and your doctor should discuss the use of these treatments and supplements to be sure they don’t interfere with other medical therapies or treatments.

 

Infrared Sauna for Nerve Pain

Experiencing infrared heat in a sauna improves circulation, relaxes muscles, tissues, and nerves, and even aids in the rebuilding of damaged nerve tissue. Far-infrared therapy utilizes light to create heat, directly heating the body with a much more comfortable heat than traditional saunas. This heat allows you to remain inside the sauna longer and enhance potential health benefits. Infrared heat penetrates joints, muscles, tissues, and nerve endings while also producing additional white blood cells, which alleviates inflammation. Reduced inflammation can help reduce nerve pain and bring relief from the discomfort.

In addition to the benefits of far-infrared therapy, a study led by Paul Heppenstall, Ph.D. has shown that near-infrared light can help reduce nerve pain receptors by causing the nerve endings to retract from the surface of the skin. You can include red light therapy into your sauna session for a comprehensive combination of far-infrared, near-infrared, and red light therapies to help reduce nerve pain.

 

If you believe you are suffering from nerve pain, be sure to discuss your next steps with your doctor as soon as possible. While some pain might be manageable, neuropathic pain has the potential to progress further and can cause permanent damage if not treated in a proper or timely manner. Be sure to listen to your body and take the precautions necessary to alleviate nerve pain and live your best life.

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