The main symptom of neuralgia is stabbing and burning pain along a damaged nerve, explains Healthline. The pain tends to be very severe and is localized most commonly in the face and neck, although it can occur anywhere in the body.
There are three main types of neuralgia, according to Healthline. Postherpetic neuralgia is a complication of shingles, a viral infection that causes a painful rash and blisters to break out on the skin. The pain may be consistent, or it may disappear and reappear intermittently. This type of neuralgia can persist for several months or years.
Trigeminal neuralgia involves pain stemming from the trigeminal nerve that travels from the face to the brain, notes Healthline. People with trigeminal neuralgia are often elderly and typically experience pain on one side of the face. A third type of neuralgia is glossopharyngeal neuralgia, named for its association with the glossopharyngeal nerve in the throat. This relatively rare form of neuralgia is characterized by pain in the neck region.
Potential causes of the nerve damage that produces neuralgia include old age, diabetes, nerve pressure, multiple sclerosis and infection, according to Healthgrades. Less commonly, the nerve damage results from trauma, chronic kidney disease or certain medications.