Soothe pain from your neuralgia with osteopathy
Many Quebecers suffer pain from neuralgia every year. The most well-known is sciatica. But it’s not the only one! Occipital neuralgia, dental neuralgia, pudendal neuralgia, cervical neuralgia, facial neuralgia… There are many different types of neuralgia, some of which are difficult to identify. Feeling lost and looking to ease your suffering? Osteopathy, with its holistic approach, is the natural method you need to relieve your pain from neuralgia.
What is Neuralgia?
Neuralgia is pain, often unbearable, that occurs in the path of a sensory and/or motor nerve. It is caused by inflammation, compression or damage to the nerve.
It has a variety of causes. It may be linked to a disease (inflammatory, neurological, etc.), be psychosomatic or arise spontaneously (idiopathic). Generally speaking, neuralgia manifests itself through feelings of electric shocks, but it can also be accompanied by sensory disorders (ankylosis, paresthesia, irradiation) and motor disorders (facial neuralgia, for example).
The different types of neuralgia
This concerns the trigeminal nerve. Both sensory and motor, it provides sensory and motor innervation to a large part of the face. When this nerve is disrupted, it causes pain in this part of the body, often affecting only one side. Certain symptoms are typical of facial neuralgia: runny nose, hypersalivation or watery eyes, etc.
This neuralgia, also known as “Arnold’s neuralgia”, affects the greater occipital nerve. When compressed, it causes severe pain in the back of the skull, which can extend from the eye to the cervical vertebrae. Arnold’s nerve has an impact on neck mobility and scalp sensitivity. It is often misidentified by patients.
Dental neuralgia is the famous “toothache” that causes severe pain in this area (teeth, jaw). It is caused by damage to or compression of one of the nerves in the oral area.
Cervical neuralgia is also known as “neck sciatica” and is caused by damage to a cervical nerve. The pain is generally located in the upper part of the body: neck, arms, shoulders.
The main symptoms associated with this neuralgia are sensations of electric shocks in the affected areas, headaches and ringing in the ears.
Intercostal neuralgia is defined as pain in the thorax affecting one or more intercostal nerves (they start at one of the roots of the spinal cord and are located between each rib). The irritation can feel like a stab wound, causing breathing difficulties.
This neuralgia is caused by compression or injury to the pudendal nerve. The pain can vary in intensity and is located in the perineal area. It affects the urinary or genital area. It gets worse as the day progresses if the person remains in a seated position or in tight underwear.
Cervicobrachial neuralgia starts in the neck and follows a precise path from the arm to the fingers of the hand. It affects the brachial nerve and causes severe pain that feels like burning or electric currents.
This neuralgia can produce sensitivity disorders (tingling, sensation of sclerotic skin, which is hardening or tightening skin) and can be confused with carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
This neuralgia results from compression of the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. Symptoms (pain, reduced strength and sensitivity) appear in the first three fingers of the hand.
Repetitive activities (housework, DIY, etc.) and certain osteoarticular diseases (polyarthritis) contribute to the onset of this syndrome.
Cruralgia concerns the crural nerve, which runs along the inside and/or front of the thigh down to the ankle. Pain is felt in the groin, the front of the thigh and the knee. Similar to sciatica, it can also cause tingling sensations and electric shocks, making it difficult to move the lower limbs.
This neuralgia is caused by compression of the spinal nerves in the spine. The pain spreads from the lower back down to the toes.
Sciatica also manifests itself as pain similar to electric shocks, tingling, numbness of the lower limb or muscle weakness.
Osteopathy, an effective solution to relieve pain from neuralgia
Diagnosis and medical treatment
Each case of neuralgia is different and requires a precise medical diagnosis. It is sometimes essential to rely on the results of an MRI scan to perform a clinical assessment or to operate on the patient in emergency situations.
Initially, it is advisable to soothe the pain by taking painkillers and anti-inflammatories. However, this is only intended to provide temporary relief.
Osteopathy can be an effective way of identifying the cause of the pain or accompanying medical treatment.
A consultation with an osteopath to help relieve neuralgic pain
A personalised assessment to identify the cause
The osteopath’s job is to determine the exact cause of the discomfort. By examining the patient’s medical history and palpating points on the body, the osteopath can identify the areas and nerves affected.
In addition, certain factors exacerbate the pain. In the case of trigeminal nerve neuralgia (facial), for example, this may be the result of taking medication, stress or alcohol consumption.
This assessment is an opportunity for your practitioner to find out all the details that could have triggered your neuralgia. It’s also a good idea to send them any medical reports you may have, so that they have as much information as possible. Some conditions cannot be treated by osteopathy. This is the case with cancer, for example. However, your osteopath will be able to offer you support to relieve the side-effects of taking medication or your post-operative pain.
Manual therapy to stop painful compression on your nerves
The aim of osteopathic treatment is to reduce the tension on the affected nerves. Each neuralgia corresponds to a specific nerve identified in the previous phase.
Your osteopath will be able to:
- restore flexibility to certain muscles in order to reduce and/or relieve the pressure exerted on the nerve;
- restore the mobility of certain vertebrae;
- restore motor function to organs affected by inflammation or irritation;
- eliminate certain local muscular contractures.
This manual treatment looks at the body as a whole. That’s why, at each session, your therapist will check that your whole body is working properly and ensure that it regains its natural equilibrium.
Osteopathy is recommended for relieving neuralgia. Using gentle manipulations tailored to each patient, your professional will free your nerves from painful pressure. However, this natural method should not replace certain medical treatments and diagnoses. In some cases, follow-up by a multidisciplinary team is necessary. Your osteopath will act as a link in the chain to help you get through this difficult stage as smoothly as possible.
Need an osteopath to relieve pain from neuralgia? Don’t wait to make an appointment with one of our professionals.