Neuralgiaaccording to TCM

What is Neuralgia?

Neuralgia, often understood as nerve pain, encompasses a range of conditions characterized by intense, often debilitating pain along a damaged or irritated nerve. The pain associated with neuralgia can be sharp, stabbing, or burning and may occur in different parts of the body, depending on the nerve affected.

This condition can result from various factors, including nerve damage, inflammation, or compression, and significantly impacts the quality of life of those affected. Neuralgia is a broad term that includes specific types such as trigeminal neuralgia and postherpetic neuralgia, each with its unique symptoms and challenges.

How does TCM view Neuralgia?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), understanding neuralgia involves identifying specific "patterns" of disharmony within the body. These patterns describe the state of imbalance affecting Qi, Blood, Yin, Yang, and organs, guiding targeted treatment plans.

Whether caused by Qi and Blood flow obstruction, external factors like Wind or Cold, or underlying Deficiencies, pinpointing these patterns allows TCM practitioners to tailor treatments such as acupuncture and herbal medicine. This pattern-based approach ensures personalized, holistic care, focusing on symptom relief and overall balance restoration.

Causes of Neuralgia According to TCM

TCM identifies several patterns that can lead to neuralgia, emphasizing the importance of diagnosing the underlying disharmony within the body. One common cause (pattern) is Qi And Blood Stagnation, where the flow of vital energy and nutrients is blocked, leading to pain.

Another cause could be the invasion of Wind-Damp, which can obstruct the channels, resulting in joint and muscle pain. These patterns are not mutually exclusive, and a comprehensive assessment by a TCM practitioner is crucial to determine the specific pattern at play. Understanding these patterns helps in formulating an effective treatment plan tailored to the individual’s condition.

TCM Herbal Formulas for Neuralgia

For treating neuralgia, TCM relies on herbal formulas to regulate Blood, dispel Wind-Damp, and invigorate Blood to alleviate pain. Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang, with Peach Kernels, is often prescribed for conditions characterized by Qi And Blood Stagnation, helping to clear the channels and relieve pain. Bu Yang Huang Wu Tang, featuring Milkvetch Roots, is utilized to bolster Qi and Blood, addressing weakness that may contribute to neuralgic pain.

Da Fang Feng Tang, with Saposhnikovia Roots, targets Wind-Damp invasion, easing pain caused by external pathogenic factors. Lastly, Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang, including Dong Quai, focuses on invigorating Blood and dispelling Blood Stagnation, particularly effective in cases where Dampness invades the Channels. These formulas, central to TCM’s approach to neuralgia, aim to restore harmony and reduce pain by addressing the specific patterns of disharmony identified in each patient.

Explore below some TCM herbal formulas used to address neuralgia, organized by formula type.

  • By Formula Type
  • Formulas that regulate blood
  • Formulas that dispel wind-Damp
  • Formulas that invigorate blood and dispel blood stagnation

TCM Herbs for Neuralgia

Explore below some TCM herbs used to address neuralgia, organized by herb category.

  • By Herb Category
  • Herbs that invigorate the blood
  • Tonic herbs for blood deficiency
  • Warm/Acrid herbs that release the exterior
  • Tonic herbs for qi deficiency

"Herbs that invigorate the Blood" recommended for neuralgia

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Peach Kernels (Tao Ren) Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang
Safflowers (Hong Hua) Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang
Szechuan Lovage Roots (Chuan Xiong) Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang

"Tonic herbs for Blood Deficiency" recommended for neuralgia

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Dong Quai (Dang Gui) Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang
White Peony Roots (Bai Shao) Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang