How is nerve pain treated?
Medications to relieve pain include:1
- Topical anesthetics
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Narcotic analgesics
Only a few drugs are effective for the treatment of nerve pain and have been approved specifically for treating nerve pain.
Talk to your doctor
Nerve pain is not like ordinary pain that you can deal with by yourself. Relief of nerve pain starts with reaching out and asking for help.
If you think you have nerve pain, you should see your doctor. When you talk to him or her, make sure to clearly describe the pain you feel and which parts of your body the pain affects.
Show your doctor your pain diary. It will help very much if you can describe:2
- What the pain feels like (does it feel like one or more of the nerve pain descriptors)
- How severe your pain is
- How long the pain lasts
- What eases the pain
- What makes the pain worse
Clearly describing your symptoms will help your doctor make the correct diagnosis and prescribe the best treatment for you.
Finding the right treatment1
Conventional analgesics are very effective for relieving ordinary pain but they typically do not work well in treating nerve pain.
There is good news! There are now safe and effective medications that specifically target nerve pain and can help relieve your pain. Different medications are suitable for different people. Your doctor will choose what is best for you.
Your doctor may offer you non-drug options, in addition to medication, as part of an overall plan to help manage your pain.
Non-drug Management of Pain3,4
Physiotherapy. A number of physiotherapy options, including applying heat and cold, massage, whirlpool, or fluidotherapy may help manage nerve pain.
Device-based therapies. In transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), regular, measured electrical impulses from a small, battery-powered generator are transmitted through the skin. These impulses interfere with and temporarily interrupt pain transmission, providing relief.
Psychological methods. Relaxation and other techniques may help you accept your nerve pain. They can also help you deal with feelings of anxiety and depression you may feel because of your pain.
Others. Ask Your Doctor About It.
Stay the course. Keep aware. And speak up!
To relieve your nerve pain you need to follow the pain management plan you and your doctor develop. It is very important that you take your medication exactly as your doctor has told you.
If the medicine your doctor prescribed is not helping with your pain, speak up! Talk to your doctor about adjusting the dose of your medication. He or she can also help you find other ways to fine-tune your pain management plan to help you get relief from your nerve pain.
- Galluzzi KE. Management of neuropathic pain. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2005;105(9 Suppl 4):S12-9.
- American Cancer Society. Daily pain diary. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@editorial/documents/document/acspc-033203.pdf. Accessed 25 January, 2016.
- Akyuz G, Kenis O. Physical therapy modalities and rehabilitation techniques in the management of neuropathic pain. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2014;93(3):253-9.
- Melzack R, Vetere P, Finch L. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for low back pain. A comparison of TENS and massage for pain and range of motion. Phys Ther. 1983;63(4):489-93.