Can it be treated?

Cooling the skin and elevation

Cooling the skin with a fan or cold water, or raising the affected hands or feetmay relieve the pain.

However, using ice or soaking the hands or feet for long amounts of timeisn'trecommended, as this can lead to hypothermia or damage to the skin, causing ulcers.

There's also a risk that the change in temperature will trigger areactive flare-up when the hands or feet are removed.

Even though a cool environment is helpful in reducing pain during attacks, the use of cold baths or showers is generally discouraged because of potential skin damage.

Medication taken by mouth

A number of different medications have shown potential in relieving symptoms, although no single drug helps everyone. Different treatments often need to be tried under the supervision of experienced clinicians, and combinations of different medicines are sometimes needed.

Your doctor will discuss treatment options with you, as this will also depend on the type or erythromelalgia you have. Many treatments require referral to a specialist centre so that benefits and potential side effects can be closely monitored.

Drugs used for other types of nerve pain may reduce symptoms. This includes anti-epilepsy drugs such asgabapentin, or low doses of tricyclicantidepressants such as amitriptyline, whichcan be effective in treating pain caused by increased sensitivity or damage to the nervous system.

Drugs used for high blood pressure or Raynaud's disease can encourage the blood vessels to widen, and may be beneficial in some types of erythromelalgia.

In adults, aspirin may relieve symptoms if the cause is an abnormally high number of blood cells (aspirin is not recommended for children).

Intravenous infusion

In some cases, when pain has not been controlled by medication taken by mouth (orally), an intravenous infusion (whenmedicine is given directly into your bloodstream via a drip) may be used.

Lidocaine a local anaesthetic that blocks sodium channels and can help nerve-related pain may be given this way, but how long it works for varies. Your doctor will explain the procedure to you and how you should prepare for it.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018