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Neuralgia is a sharp, shocking pain that follows the path of a nerve and is due to irritation or damage to the nerve.

Common neuralgias include:

  • Shingles

  • Trigeminal neuralgia

Causes Causes of neuralgia include:

  • Chemical irritation

  • Chronic renal insufficiency


Infections, such as herpes zoster ( shingles), HIV, Lyme disease, and syphilis Medications such as cisplatin, paclitaxel, or vincristine

Porphyria Pressure on nerves by nearby bones, ligaments, blood vessels, or tumors Trauma (including surgery)

In many cases, the cause is unknown.

Postherpetic neuralgia and trigeminal neuralgia are the two most common forms of neuralgia. A related but less common neuralgia affects the glossopharyngeal nerve, which provides feeling to the throat. Neuralgia is more common in elderly people, but it may occur at any age.


  • Increased sensitivity of the skin along the path of the damaged nerve, so that any touch or pressure is felt as pain

  • Numbness along the path of the nerve

  • In the same location each episode

  • Sharp, stabbing

  • May come and go (intermittent), or be constant, burning pain

  • May get worse when the area is moved

  • Weakness or complete paralysis of muscles supplied by the same nerve

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