Understanding And Overcoming Neuralgia - Neuritis - Painful Nerves

Neuralgia and neuritis often are applied to practically the same condition. The symptoms of the two may be very similar and a distinction between the two may be difficult. I shall attempt to state the difference.

'Neuralgia is an acute, more or less violent pain along the course of a nerve, more or less spasmodic in nature, induced by some irritation of the controlling center of the nerve and not accompanied by any actual inflammation. Instead of pain there may be numbness. Neuralgic pains are relieved by pressure. Neuralgia is not a specific disease, but is usually a symptom of some other abnormality. Numerous conditions seemingly act as predisposing or exciting causes. Among these are heredity, anemia, exposure to cold and dampness, injury, infectious fevers, metallic poisons, alcohol, tobacco in any form, gout, diabetes and disorders of the central nervous system; over-fatigue or worry and mental depression, also any depressing mental emotion may be responsible for its appearance. Tension of spinal muscles and ligaments or spinal subluxations not infrequently cause it. Except when due to direct injury or to spinal lesions resulting from injury the underlying cause of neuralgia is the toxemia resulting from wrong habits of living.

Neuralgic pains may appear in any part of the body, but occur most often in the region of the forehead, face and chest.

The symptoms most characteristic of neuralgia include the pain along the course of a sensory nerve that may be involved. Often there is general debility and more or less anemia. People subject to neuralgia usually are the very active type and are in perpetual motion, much of the work being wholly unnecessary, and many of the pleasures such people enjoy usually are of the nerve-destroying kind.

Neuritis is an inflammation of a nerve as the "itis" signifies. There may be one, several or many nerves involved. When many nerves are affected the condition is called multiple neuritis.

There is little difference between the causes of neuritis and neuralgia. Toxemia and exhaustion of nervous energy through wrong habits of living are the leading causes of practically all cases except those resulting from some crushing, severing or straining nerve injury or some specific poisoning, such as lead-poisoning. In most of these cases there is a definite starvation for vital mineral elements and vitamins. The condition called beriberi, the chief symptom of which is multiple neuritis, is due chiefly to deficiency of vitamin B. Excessive consumption of alcohol is a frequent cause of neuritis.

The symptoms of neuritis are pains, quite similar to those of neuralgia, except more severe because of the inflammation. Whereas neuralgic pain is relieved by pressure, the pains of neuritis are aggravated by it; and whereas neuralgic pains usually are relieved by heat, neuritic pains are more often relieved by cold. Sciatica is inflammation of the nerve trunk of the thigh; lumbago is neuritis of the nerves in the lumbar or lower back region.

Multiple neuritis (involving a number of nerves) gives rise to pain, numbness, loss of muscular control, but especially of some of the muscles below the elbow and below the knee (causing inability to raise the forearm or the foot in extension), sometimes a muscular atrophy or mental symptoms. It results directly from poisons in the blood, such as those causing many other diseases, and also to such poisonings as lead, arsenic, alcohol, etc. The extremities are the regions most frequently and seriously involved.

In any case of neuralgia or neuritis it is wise, if possible, to discover and remove or overcome any existing cause or causes. It will be necessary in all cases to improve the quality of the blood. This will require eradication of any toxic elements and at the same time, or later, a provision of all of the elements and vitamins. In most of these cases the absolute fast is of benefit, but when there is a general debility the fruit diet as a rule will be better. Either diet may continue as long as general conditions will permit. There should be ample quantities of water taken into the body, by drinking and, if the judgment of one qualified deems this necessary, by the enema.

The strict milk diet will be especially helpful in these cases, particularly in neuralgia. If this diet is not used, then there should be ample amounts, and yet no more than the body requires of milk, fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals, butter and cream, olive oil or nut oil, and egg yolks. Milk and cottage cheese should form the chief protein. Sweets and starches should be in the form of sweet fruits and whole grain cereals. Neuralgia cases especially need general as well as local rest - because as a rule they have been overactive. In the case of neuritis local rest of the part is especially indicated; but if there is a general debility or if there is a multiple neuritis or if severe general symptoms also appear there should be general rest. Air-baths and sunbaths are helpful in both conditions. Spinal treatments by the various methods frequently advised in this volume are of great benefit in both neuralgia and neuritis.

Although care must be taken not to use such cold baths as to shock the nervous system severely, cool (tonic) baths should be taken when reaction is satisfactory. The tepid or barely warm bath will be excellent in most cases. If the pain is extreme a decidedly hot bath or a hot local bath or application may be given, particularly in neuralgia. Cool compresses or cool bathing of a local part without drying, in the case of neuritis, will be helpful.

Heat to the local part by fomentations or by the hot-water bag, electric heating pad or other means will give relief in neuralgia, and often in neuritis. Some of these cases respond well by a mild degree of sunburn to the local region. Hot abdominal packs may be given frequently for general favorable effect. When possible there should be moderate exercise which, of course, should be taken regularly but not over strenuously. Care must be taken to avoid those movements and those forms of strenuous physical activity that may tend to aggravate pain.

Neuritics particularly must learn to take life, themselves and their work less seriously. They must learn to relax and let non-essential work go. They must learn how to play and enjoy life. While the pain lasts they may not be able to enjoy life very well, but they will find life becoming less burdensome if they follow some such program as has been outlined here.

My firm belief is: "Finding a cause leads the way to find a cure". So, it is basically important to understand everything from its deepest core. And the best way to do so is: Keep on reading to develop and deepen your understanding on health and wellness.

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