Nerve pain can be difficult to treat. Any underlying conditions such as diabetes and vitamin B12 deficiency can be managed. Otherwise, treatments aim to directly ease the pain. Options include medicines and other, non-medicine strategies.
Some nerve pain will be controlled with simple painkillers like aspirin, paracetamol or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Stronger painkillers such as opioids are sometimes used but these carry significant side effects that can be harmful especially in the long term, and can be addictive.
There are many other medicines which can be effective against nerve pain. They include medicines originally used to treat depression (such as Amitriptyline or Duloxetine) and seizures (Gabapentin, Pregabalin or Carbamazepine).
Other treatments which can help include:
- education and counseling
- relaxation techniques
- psychological treatments to help you feel in control of your pain and reduce distress
- transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) to block the transmission of pain sensations to your brain
People with chronic pain may find it helpful to attend a multidisciplinary pain clinic where health professionals can work out a personalised pain management plan for you. You will need a referral from your doctor to attend a pain clinic. You can find a list of pain clinics on the Pain Australia website.
Last reviewed: June 2018