origin:  Greek; neuron= "nerve" + algos= "pain"
noun (adjective: neuralgic)
Many of you may be familiar with migraines and headaches, but there is actually something in-between those conditions that is less talked about: neuralgia.
More intense than a dull ache, though far shorter lived than a debilitating migraine, neuralgia affects a specific nerve, usually in the brain or face/neck area and creates a bolt of intense pain -- a stabbing sensation sometimes referred to as an "ice pick" or "electric shock".
Paroxysmal pain associated with neuralgia lasts only seconds at a time and is not completely paralyzing, but it may cause the person suffering to flinch or shout. Neuralgic episodes of intermittent pain may last over a period of time: 20 minutes, an hour, or a day, although sufferers may experience no pain at all for months or longer, only to unexpectedly experience multiple episodes in a single week; the attacks can be completely unpredictable.
Neuralgia is the result of a damaged nerve; diseases like shingles or diabetes, head trauma (even childhood scuffles), tumors, old age, eye strain, or tooth decay can be the root cause. However, many times the exact cause of a neuralgia is unknown. The raw nerve is reacting to a lack of its "myelin sheath" (a protective coating). In extreme cases, surgeries can and may be necessary. Options of homeopathic treatments and acupuncture also exist.
Vintage ad from 1954