Prescription Medications and Treatments for Nerve Pain
Three Tips for Taking Nerve Pain Medication
Watch out for interactions. Before you start taking a new medicine,
make sure your doctor knows about every other prescription drug, OTC medicine,
supplement, and vitamin you use. You might want to write them all down and
bring in the list to your appointment -- or even bring the pill bottles with
Always follow your doctor's instructions for taking a new medicine.
Make sure you understand how often you take it, how much you take, what time of
day you should take it, and whether you should take it with or without food.
Never stop using a prescription medicine without talking to your doctor
Don't ignore side effects. Talk to your doctor about them. He or she
might be able to alter the dose or change the medicine to resolve the
Other Treatments for Nerve Pain
While medications are typically the first choice for neuropathic pain, some
other approaches might help too. Here are some nondrug options.
Electrical stimulation. When you feel nerve pain, an electrical
signal is being sent from a damaged nerve to your brain. Some treatments
for nerve pain work by sending out their own electrical impulses. These charges
seem to interrupt or block the pain signals, reducing the pain you feel.
TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) is one example of
this approach. A small device sends a mild electric current through your skin.
While TENS is simple and painless, the evidence that it helps with nerve pain
is mixed. Given that it has very low risks, your doctor may recommend giving it
PENS (percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation ) -- also called
electroacupuncture -- delivers electrical stimulation to the nerves through
rTMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation) uses magnets to
send electrical impulses into the brain. While evidence is limited, studies
suggest that PENS and rTMS could help with nerve pain.
Other methods of electrical stimulation are more complex and require
surgery. For instance, spinal cord stimulation involves implanting a device in
the body that sends out electrical impulses to the spinal cord. For deep brain
stimulation (DBS), a surgeon would implant electrodes in the brain. Generally,
doctors only use these invasive approaches when everything else has failed.
Controlling Nerve Pain
Nerve pain can be hard to control. Some studies suggest that less than half
of people with nerve pain are able to get sufficient pain relief.
However, that doesn't mean you have to accept a life in pain. Experts
believe that many of those people in pain could be helped. It's just that they
aren't getting the proper treatment. They might be relying on medications that
don't work. Or they might be getting the right drugs at the wrong dose.
So if you're suffering with nerve pain and treatment isn't helping enough,
don't give up hope. Instead, go back to your doctor and come up with a new
approach. Or get a referral to an expert -- like a pain specialist or a
There are a lot of different ways to tackle nerve pain. If one approach
doesn't work, others might. By working with an expert, and being persistent,
you can find something that will help.