There is a wide variety of possible causes of neuralgia, and it can affect different parts of the body.

Trigeminal Neuralgia: Angioneuropathy involves pain from the trigeminal nerve, which travels from the brain to the face. It’s believed that a blood vessel presses against the trigeminal nerve at the point where it meets the brainstem.Trigeminal neuralgia causes pain in the face, usually on one side, and is most common in the elderly.

Postherpetic Neuralgia: This type of neuralgia occurs as a complication of shingles and may occur anywhere on the body. Shingles is caused by a virus that causes a blistering rash.There is an increased risk of neuropathy occurring in the area where the shingles outbreak occurred, and it may be mild, moderate, or severe, persistent, or intermittent, and may last for months or years.

Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia: Glossopharyngeal neuralgia produces neck and throat pain. It is not quite as common as cranial neuralgia.

Causes of Neuralgia

Any type of neuralgia is caused by damage to a nerve. Your body’s nerves are covered by a protective sheath called the myelin sheath. When this is damaged or worn away, you experience the stabbing, severe, shock-like pain that is characteristic of neuralgia.

There are numerous factors, including old age, that can cause myelin damage. Unfortunately, the cause of neuralgia is often never determined.

A variety of infections can cause postherpetic neuralgia, including chicken pox, shingles, Lyme disease, and HIV. Syphilis can also trigger the condition.

Multiple Sclerosis: There are many symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), including facial nerve pain. MS is caused by degradation of myelin.

Pressure on Nerves: Several different pressure sources can wear away the myelin on nerves, including bones, ligaments, blood vessels, and tumors. The pressure of swollen blood vessels is a common cause of trigeminal neuralgia.

Diabetes (Diabetic Neuropathy):There is a high probability that people with diabetes will experience some form of neuralgia because excess glucose in the bloodstream can damage the myelin.

Less Common Causes: In cases where neuralgia cannot be attributed to infections, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, or pressure on the nerves, it may be due to one of many less common factors. These include:

  • chronic kidney disease
  • porphyria (a rare blood disease)
  • medications like cisplatin, paclitaxel, or vincristine (prescribed to cancer patients)
  • trauma, such as that caused by surgery
  • chemical irritation

The snore should not be ignored.

Sleeping with a snorer may leave you awake counting sheep

(or fiddling for earplugs). But they aren’t consciously snoring, and it could be a sign of something else.

Most people who snore have obstructive sleep apnea, a medical condition that occurs when the airway at the back of the throat becomes physically blocked.Geisinger otolaryngologist Kevin Stavrides, MD, says breathing can stop for a minute, leading to gasping, snorting, and waking the sleeper.

Carrying a few extra pounds is the most common cause, but heavy smoking, drinking and using sedatives can also contribute to sleep apnea. One of the best ways to avoid sleep apnea is to sleep on your side instead of your back.

In many cases, lifestyle changes can solve the problem, says Dr. Stavrides. If snoring persists, your doctor will likely order a sleep study.

Your doctor may prescribe a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP) or a bi-level positive airway pressure machine (BiPAP) if you have sleep apnea.You wear this mask to bed to keep your airways open while you sleep.

If you have mild sleep apnea triggered by anatomical factors, you may also benefit from a mouthpiece that holds your tongue and jaw in place.

Others may benefit from an implantable hypoglossal nerve stimulator. “The device stimulates your neck before bed to allow your airways to open up,”

A sleep surgeon will determine if surgery is right for you if you need to remove tissue and expand your airway.

Sleep apnea is usually asymptomatic until someone (gently) points it out. After all, most people with it are the ones snoring away.

It will be a win-win for you and them, as you will both sleep better once it’s corrected.

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