Nerve pain medication

Nerve pain, also called neuralgia, is characterized by pain and other symptoms from damaged or pinched nerves. A shooting or burning pain and feelings of numbness, weakness, muscle spasms and tingling can radiate along the path of the nerve and be felt in the extremities. Nerve pain related to the neck or back usually involves compression of the spinal cord or a nerve root. This can happen as a result of a variety of causes and conditions throughout the spine, especially the upper and lower regions.

Upon diagnosis of nerve pain, most doctors will prescribe a course of conservative treatments including rest, exercise, hot or cold compresses, physical therapy or chiropractic care. In addition to these methods, doctors will typically recommend the use of medication to treat nerve pain as needed. Through the following article, you will learn more about nerve pain medication and which type may be best to help you get the pain relief needed to improve your quality of life.

Types of nerve pain medications

It is important to always follow the guidance of your doctor when using any type of pain medication, whether it is over-the-counter or prescription. Here are some commonly prescribed nerve pain medications:

  • NSAIDs. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen and aspirin, can help reduce inflammation, which in turn can relieve pressure on irritated nerves and ease mild to moderate nerve pain. Side effects may include blood thinning, ringing in the ears and gastrointestinal problems.
  • Antidepressants and anti-seizure drugs. Both drugs treat nerve pain by dampening pain signals. A low dose of these medications is typically successful when anti-inflammatories are unable to provide relief.
  • Epidural steroid injections. Injections like prednisone help treat nerve pain and reduce inflammation of compressed nerve tissue. These injections are made directly into the epidural space surrounding the spinal cord. The strong dosage of steroids can relieve symptoms for long periods of time.
  • Opioids. As a class of prescription narcotics, opioids are generally used to treat moderate to severe nerve pain. They can be combined with NSAIDs to provide anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Nerve root block. This injection of opioids or steroids delivers the medication directly on or near the inflamed nerve that is causing symptoms, resulting in a decreased amount of pain and identifying the source of your discomfort.

You should always check with your doctor before taking any medications. They may adversely interact with or hinder the effectiveness of other drugs you may be taking. Always follow the directions on medication packaging and never take more than the suggested dosage. It is also strongly recommended to avoid drinking alcohol while on medication. Alcohol may intensify a drug’s side effects to a dangerous degree and put you at risk for liver, kidney or heart failure.

Minimally invasive options for persisting nerve pain

If you’ve tried pain medication to treat your nerve pain as well as other conservative therapies suggested by your doctor and your nerve pain still won’t subside, contact the experts at Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive spine surgery is able to help patients get back to the activities they love, as a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back procedures, offering a less than 1-inch incision, less scarring and no lengthy recovery.^

Ask for your no-cost MRI review* today to see if you’re a potential candidate for one of our outpatient procedures. We have helped more than 75,000 patients get their lives back from their debilitating neck and back conditions and are eager to help guide you through your journey to wellness.