-Properly speaking neuralgia means a painful affection of any nerve of the body. When it affects the nerves which run between the ribs it is called Intercostal Neuralgia. When it affects the great nerve trunk of the thigh only it is called SCIATICA. This is described under that heading. Every organ in the body that has nerves may be the seat of neuralgia. But as generally used, without qualification, the term neuralgia applies specifically to pains in the face or head which are neither toothache nor headache. It may be due to variety of causes, chiefly to cold, next to nervous shock, and also to any cause which may result in lowering of the general health. It is very often due to some constitutional defect, as gout. Arsenic in wall-papers or as used in certain trades must not be forgotten as a possible cause. Neuralgia of a very acute kind accompanies and sometimes precedes and follows an outbreak of Herpes, Zona, or Shingles. See under SHINGLES.
General Treatment.-This consists in restoring by all ordinary means the lost vitality. Rest in bed if necessary: in every case rest and good feeding.
Medicines.-(Every half-hour or less often, according to the severity of the case.
-Redness and heat of the face, agitation, restlessness, the patient beside himself with pain.
-Pain coming in spells suddenly disappearing, and as suddenly returning, especially on the right side; heat and redness of the face; rubbing the face makes the pain come on; pain most violent under the eye.
-Violent, rending, chiefly of the left side; pain affecting the eye; aggravated by slightest touch; yet sometimes relieved by perfect rest and warmth.
-Returning periodically; pains burning. stinging, as from red-hot needles; great anguish, restlessness, prostration; pains better temporarily from heat; worse after midnight, especially if caused by malaria; low feverish state; debility and wasting.
-After debilitating diseases, exercise discharges, in all nervous conditions.
-Tearing, shooting, burning pains in all directions; periodical from morning to sunset, but worse at noon; come from motion or noise accompanied by watering of the eyes; pain, swelling on left side.
See also HEADACHE, TOOTHACHE, PLEURISY (FALSE), SCIATICA.