Taking medication for neuralgia is often recommended to reduce a patient’s pain from nerve compression. However, with all of the various medications, types, and dosages, it is extremely important that you consult with your doctor before beginning any medication treatment. Over-the-counter and prescription drugs can be extremely beneficial components of nonsurgical treatment, but it is essential that you make an informed decision about which medications are right for you.
Neuralgia pain can have a real effect on your quality of life. Often caused by nerve compression – commonly in the back or neck – this frustrating condition can be brought on by injury, environmental factors, or the presence of a degenerative spine condition in the cervical, thoracic, or lumbar spine segments. The good news is that neuralgia can normally be treated with a series of conservative, nonsurgical treatments to relieve your pain and address the cause of the nerve compression. In addition to the recommendation of physical therapy and the use of hot or cold compresses, your doctor may recommend any of a number of pain medications – each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Some examples of medication for neuralgia include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) – NSAIDs are extremely effective in treating chronic pain and arthritis, however long-term use is normally not recommended because of potential side effects.
- Corticosteroid injections – an epidural injection can provide immediate pain relief, but these injections are also seen as a short-term solution.
- Muscle relaxants – relaxants may take pressure off of the compressed nerve and allow the body time to heal on its own. Relaxants are particularly effective when minor injury is to blame for the neuralgia.
- Mild analgesics – acetaminophen is normally the first medication used to treat neuralgia because it is relatively mild and doesn’t have as many potential side effects.
- Others – antidepressants or anti-seizure medicine are occasionally recommended, among others.
Medication for neuralgia can be an excellent complement to a treatment program, but it is extremely important to fully understand the risks for potential side effects, drug interactions, and relative effectiveness of each medication before beginning use. Speak with your doctor to learn more.