How Do I Know If It’s Nerve Pain?

Reviewed on 11/17/2022

12 Signs & Symptoms of Nerve Pain

A woman having nerve conduction studies to check for nerve pain
Signs and symptoms of nerve pain (neuralgia or neuropathic pain) include numbness or tingling in feet and hands, pins and needles sensation, loss of balance and falling, throbbing and/or sharp pain, extreme sensitivity to touch, dropping things, muscle weakness, and others.

Nerve pain (neuralgia or neuropathic pain) can happen when a medical condition affects the nerves that transmit sensations to the brain, causing pain that feels like shooting, stinging, or burning.  

Nerve pain can range from mild to severe. It may feel sharp and sudden, like an electric shock. It can also worsen at night. Nerve pain may interfere with daily life such as sleep, work, sex, and exercise, and people can develop depression and anxiety due to the pain. 

Signs you may have nerve pain include: 

  • Numbness or tingling in feet and hands
  • Pins and needles sensation
  • Loss of balance and falling
  • Throbbing and/or sharp pain
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch
    • Pain may occur from stimuli that are not normally painful, such as brushing the skin
  • Dropping things 
  • Muscle weakness
  • Heavy feeling in arms and legs
  • Dramatic drop in blood pressure
  • Difficulty digesting
  • Excessive sweating
  • Sensitivity to cold 

What Are the Most Common Causes of Nerve Pain?

Common causes of nerve pain may include:

Conditions often associated with nerve pain include: 

How Do I Get Rid of Nerve Pain?

Nerve pain (neuralgia or neuropathic pain) can be difficult to treat but the first step usually involves treating any underlying cause that may exist. The goal of other treatments is to reduce and relieve pain. 

Non-medical treatments for nerve pain may include: 

  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) to block pain signals to the brain
  • Exercise
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Education to help people cope with pain
  • Psychological treatment to help patients feel in control of pain and reduce distress
  • Acupuncture

Medications used to treat nerve pain may include:

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Reviewed on 11/17/2022

Image source: iStock Images