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Treating Nerve Pain: Why the Right Treatment Matters

Written by Mia Dacumos, MD · Nephrology · Makati Medical Center

Updated May 27, 2023

    Treating Nerve Pain: Why the Right Treatment Matters

    People who suspect they have neuropathic or nerve pain may decide on taking vitamins and supplements for relief. However, this does not adequately address your condition. Healthcare professionals recommend different treatment options for nerve pain. Here’s what you need to know.

    What Nerve Pain Feels Like

    Nerve or neuropathic pain feels different from the usual types of pain you experience from a trauma, injury, or inflammation to a body tissue. Nerve pain occurs because of a lesion or disease of the somatosensory system, including the nerves that carry sensation to the brain1.

    Nerve pain may feel like2:

    • Tingling
    • Burning or “on fire”
    • Freezing
    • Pins and needles
    • Shooting
    • Stabbing
    • Electric shocks

    The painful area can also become abnormally sensitive: touches that don’t normally hurt, such as brushing the skin with a piece of cotton, may elicit intense pain.

    Nerve pain is often worse at night, and may persist for a long time with no apparent cause.

    Vitamins Can Support Nerve Health, But Do Not Treat Nerve Pain

    Some people who suspect they have nerve pain try to resolve their condition with vitamins and supplements. These over-the-counter medications may be inexpensive and readily available, and advertisements may subtly suggest they can help with the sensation of pins and needles. However, there is limited data and evidence suggesting that these can improve symptoms of neuropathic, hence are not included in recommendations by local and international treatment guidelines. 

    Relying solely on vitamins and supplements may also prevent you from seeking appropriate treatment in a more timely manner.

    Treatment for Nerve Pain: Speak to a Doctor

    If you suspect that you are experiencing nerve pain, the most important thing to do is get in touch with a doctor.

    With their expertise, they can identify if your pain is neuropathic in nature. They can also provide more information on the possible factors contributing to your nerve pain. This is essential as nerve pain is prevalent in many health conditions, including multiple sclerosis, HIV, cancer, spinal cord injury, and diabetes.

    The sooner you consult a physician, the sooner you can receive the treatment that’s tailored especially for you.

    Consider preparing the following details before your doctor’s appointment:

    • When the pain began
    • How the pain feels
    • How often the pain occurs
    • Severity of the pain
    • Location of the pain
    • If the pain feels as though it’s spreading

    Treatment for Nerve Pain: Prescription Medicines

    After a thorough assessment, the doctor may prescribe medicines to treat nerve pain. 

    Dosage depends on the patient’s condition and health status. 

    Note that medicines for nerve pain are not “taken as needed” drugs. You need to take them strictly as prescribed.

    Treatment for Nerve Pain: Non-Medication Methods

    Some non-pharmacological methods might help with nerve pain, and they should be considered whenever possible. These non-medication methods include3,4:

    • Acupuncture
    • Physiotherapy
    • Exercises
    • Pain management programs
    • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)

    Despite their presumed benefits and safety, non-pharmacological methods should only be performed under the doctor’s supervision. Generally, they act to complement drug therapy3.

    The doctor may also recommend psychological therapy, especially if chronic pain causes anxiety, depression, or feelings of isolation.

    Key Takeaways

    Nerve pain treatment requires setting up an appointment with a doctor. They can give more information about your condition and prescribe medicines that will give you relief from pain.

    Although non-pharmacological treatments may help, they are generally used to complement drug therapy and should not be used without a doctor’s approval.


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    Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, Metro Manila


    January 6 2023


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Written by

    Mia Dacumos, MD

    Nephrology · Makati Medical Center

    Updated May 27, 2023

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