Pain resulting from a nerve being over-stimulated, com-pressed or squeezed is known as neuralgia. It can be very uncomfortable as the pain isn’t just felt at the point of stimulation or pressure, but can be experienced along the full course of the nerve. It is sometimes described as an intense pain similar to the most agonising toothache.

This often excruciating pain can be felt anywhere in the body, depending on which nerve is affected. A fractured bone, severe bruising around a bone or a ‘slipped’ disc can press on a nerve and cause neuralgia; so, too, can an infection like shingles. This causes a different kind of pain, since it’s the nerve itself which is inflamed by the nerve-specific shingles infection.

You can treat yourself with mild painkillers or ask your doctor to prescribe stronger ones if the pain is severe. But if the shingles pain persists for longer than a month, you will need your doctor’s prescribed medicine. This is because the shingles will have developed into PHN – post-herpetic neuralgia – which won’t respond to the usual painkillers.

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