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What causes nerve pain?

Nerve pain can be due to problems in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), or in the nerves that run from there to the muscles and organs.

Nerve pain is usually caused by disease or injury. Common causes include:

  • an injury to the brain, spine or nerves
  • stroke
  • poor blood supply to the nerves
  • trapped nerves
  • multiple sclerosis
  • heavy drinking
  • phantom pain after an amputation
  • cancer or its treatment with radiation, surgery or chemotherapy
  • vitamin B12 or thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency
  • nerve compression or invasion by a tumour
  • certain medicines
  • infections such as shingles and HIV/AIDS
  • diabetes.

Some conditions that cause nerve pain

Sciatica

Sciatica is pressure on the nerves of the lower back which causes pain down the leg. The pain can be accompanied by pins and needles, numbness or weakness in the leg.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome associated with burning or aching pain in different parts of the body. The cause is not well understood, but it can be triggered by emotional distress and poor sleep. There may be genetic factors, too.

Peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy occurs when the peripheral nerves that connect the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body are damaged. It’s caused by diabetes, autoimmune diseases and other conditions.

Last reviewed: November 2016

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Trigeminal neuralgia is pain in the face with no identifiable cause. It is related to the tri germinal nerve, the main sensory nerve of the face.

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Teril is used to treat epilepsy, trigeminal neuralgia and neuropathic pain. It contains carbamazepine, which affects the central nervous system.

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Tegretol is used to treat epilepsy, bipolar disorder, trigeminal neuralgia and acute mania. It contains carbamazepine.

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Find out all about neuropathic pain (nerve pain), which is usually described as a shooting, stabbing or burning pain, with myDr.com.au.

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Carbamazepine is used to treat neurological disorders including epilepsy, trigeminal neuralgia, and neuropathic pain and mental health disorders.

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Occipital neuralgia is a type of headache characterised by stabbing pain in the back of the head, usually on one side, followed by reduced sensation.

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Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) or enduring pain after shingles is a complication of herpes zoster (shingles) which mainly effects the elderly.

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Carbamazepine: why and when to get tested

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Neuropathic pain information | myVMC

Neuropathic pain is related to injury to or dysfunction of the nervous system. It does not help protect from injury like physiological pain.

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