Doctors treat chronic nerve pain with traditional painkillers, nontraditional pain medicine, physical therapy, spinal cord stimulation, nerve blocks and nerve decompression surgery, states Erica Jacques for About.com. Chronic nerve pain treatment typically requires a combination of treatments to be effective.
Traditional painkillers such as NSAIDS, opioids, acetaminophen and topical analgesics can treat chronic nerve pain, according to Jacques. NSAIDS treat the swelling that increases symptoms and controls breakthrough pain episodes; acetaminophen treats breakthrough pain; topical analgesics such as lidocaine and capsaicin treat chronic pain externally; and opioids are typically the last line of treatment in relieving pain. Traditional painkillers are mainly effective when inflammation is the cause of chronic nerve pain.
Since traditional painkillers are typically ineffective treatments for chronic nerve pain when used alone, these medications are often coupled with adjuvant analgesics such as antidepressants and anticonvulsants, explains Jacques. Antidepressants such as fluvoxamine, fluoxetine, amitriptyline, venlafaxine and citalopram treat chronic nerve pain, and anticonvulsants such as pregabalin, phenytoin, carbamazepine and oxcarbazepine are also used. Doctors may inject nerve blocks to prohibit nerve activity or apply a current to certain nerves near the lumbar or sacral regions of the spinal cord to reduce chronic nerve pain. Nerve decompression surgery treats severe chronic nerve pain and is often the last resort.