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a pathological condition that is characterized by attacks of pain at the innervation site of a peripheral nerve. In contrast to neuritis, neuralgia does not involve motor disturbances or a loss of sensitivity, and structural changes in the affected nerve are not observed.
Neuralgias develop predominantly in nerves that pass through narrow canals and openings. With primary, or essential, neuralgia no accompanying diseases are clinically observed; with secondary, or symptomatic, neuralgia inflammatory processes, tumors, or other conditions harmful to nerves can arise. Should the neuralgia be prolonged, a neuritic stage can arise in which structural changes accompanied by a loss of sensitivity in the nerve become apparent.
Neuralgia produces paroxysmal pains and such autonomic vascular disturbances as reddening of the skin and lacrimation; sometimes localized muscle spasms in the form of painful tics occur. Neuralgia most commonly affects the trigeminal nerve; other nerves, such as the greater and lesser occipitals and the glossopharyngeal, are less frequently involved.
Secondary neuralgias are treated by curing the causative disease. In primary neuralgia, treatment involves injections of Novocain, topical use of Xylocaine, physiotherapy, and the use of B vitamins. Antispasmodics are specifically used for neuralgia of the trigeminal nerve.
V. A. KARLOV