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Nervoderm Patches: Definition, How it Works, and Using TENS as an Alternative

Person holding the shoulder because of pain

The Nervoderm patches are a type of transdermal patch for treating post-shingles nerve pain. It is placed on the skin to deliver medicated ingredients to the painful area. Lidocaine is the active substance in the patches that serve as a local anaesthetic. It works by numbing the area, providing temporary relief from pain. Another non-invasive method is Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS. It uses low-voltage electrical currents to stimulate the nerves to reduce pain.

Shingles is a viral infection caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. It can lead to severe nerve pain, also known as post-herpetic neuralgia. A pain patch like Nervoderm is one way of treating this condition. It is recommended for patients who cannot take oral medications due to side effects. In this article, we will explore what the patches are, how they work, and using TENS as an alternative to pain management.

What are Nervoderm Patches

The Nervoderm patches are a convenient way to manage nerve-related pain. It provides targeted pain relief by applying it directly to the skin and delivering a controlled dose of medications. Hence, it is easy to use and provides a steady supply of medicine. It contains lidocaine, an anaesthetic that numbs the skin and helps reduce the pain.

The dermal patch uses a special adhesive material that sticks to the skin and allows the absorption of drugs. They come in various sizes and shapes for individual needs. They can also be cut to fit a particular body area. An advantage of pain patches like Nervoderm is convenience. Unlike oral medications, which involve swallowing and metabolisation by the body, the patches provide localised pain relief.

Pain patches allow for easy application and are discreet to wear throughout the day without attracting attention. Moreover, they are tolerable in contrast to oral medicines. This is because direct pad placement reduces the risk of systemic side effects that can occur with other drugs. Nevertheless, it is important to follow the instructions carefully when applying the patch.

Treatable Pain Conditions

  • The patch helps relieve medically-diagnosed post-herpetic neuralgia, a common complication of shingles.
  • Post-shingles pain may be felt as burning or shooting pains and may be accompanied by blisters and increased sensitivity to touch, heat or cold.
  • It can help with persistent nerve pain following blisters or rashes.
  • The patch may also help manage other types of nerve pain, such as diabetic neuropathy, trigeminal neuralgia and post-thoracotomy nerve pain.
  • It targets nerve pain symptoms, including itchiness, redness, numbness and burning sensations.
  • Provide symptomatic relief for nerve damage pain in the back, hips, chest, legs or face.

Man with lower back pain

How Nervoderm Patches Work

Nervoderm patches contain the active ingredient lidocaine, as mentioned, and other anaesthetic medicines that provide topical relief. The adhesive layer includes methyl hydroxybenzoate, propyl hydroxybenzoate, aluminium glycinate, sorbitol solution, and more. It works by reducing inflammation in the affected area decreasing sensitivity and discomfort. The hydrogel patch forms a protective barrier, giving a soothing effect on the skin.

When applying the Nervoderm medicated patch, it gradually releases the medications over a period of time. It absorbs through the skin and into the underlying tissues. From there, it enters the bloodstream and travels to the nerves, causing the pain. Consequently, it blocks transmissions of pain impulses from the nerve endings to the brain.

To use Nervoderm, apply the patch on the skin surface depending on the size of the painful area. An adult dose is a maximum of three patches at a time. Follow the instructions indicated on the label. Start by removing the transparent liner and press it onto the skin for 10 seconds to ensure it adheres properly.

Safety Precautions When Using a Patch

Using a medicated patch is a simple process, but it is vital to take certain safety precautions. Firstly, individuals with severe hepatic impairment, liver disease, kidney disease, or heart problems should consult a health professional. Secondly, do not wear the patches for more than 12 hours per day.

Furthermore, do not apply the patch to broken or irritated skin or areas with unhealed blisters. It is also important not to take any medicines containing lidocaine. Lastly, be aware of the potential side effects, such as shortness of breath or swelling in the face. Consult a doctor if symptoms persist.

A wireless TENS machine in large wings with spare long-strip pads

Using TENS Devices as an Alternative for Nervoderm Patches

Another effective pain relief solution is TENS devices. It is a portable unit that delivers small electrical currents to the skin. The currents reach the underlying nerves and stimulate them to reduce pain. It works by blocking the channels of pain signals to the brain. Additionally, it helps release endorphins, the natural painkillers of the body.

A TENS machine has a set of adhesive electrode pads that are placed on the pain area. The device comes with adjustable settings, allowing users to control the intensity and frequency of the electrical pulses. This approach enables the personalisation of treatment for individuals with varying pain levels and preferences.

The main difference between TENS and Nervoderm patches is it is completely 100% drug-free. Hence, it does not have the side effects usually associated with pharmacological treatments. Moreover, it can help relieve a wide variety of painful conditions, including arthritissciatica, musculoskeletal pain, migrainesperiod pain, and more. It may also be combined with other treatments, such as physical therapy and massage.

Operation Guidelines for TENS

TENS machines are easy to operate. At the onset of pain, stick the electrodes on either side of the pain area or around a painful joint. Then, turn on the machine and adjust the settings. Follow the recommended frequency and pulse width guide for specific conditions by the manufacturer or healthcare professional.

Start at the lowest intensity level and gradually increase the stimulation to a comfortable sensation. Additionally, set the treatment duration for 15 to 30 minutes. The TENS machine can be used throughout the day, provided it is not used for more than one hour. Users should give a 20-minute break between sessions.


Nervoderm patches are a transdermal system that delivers medications directly into the bloodstream. It is effective for providing relief from post-herpetic neuralgia. This condition causes a burning sensation in the skin, often lasting long after the shingles go away. This is beneficial for people who have adverse reactions to oral pain medications. The patch contains several ingredients, including lidocaine, which helps reduce inflammation and discomfort. It is easy to use and provides immediate and effective nerve pain relief.

However, individuals with certain medical problems should consult a doctor before using this product.  An alternative to Nervoderm patches is TENS machines. It works by blocking pain signals from reaching the brain and helps release endorphins in the body. The operation of the device is simple, involving pad placement and adjustment of intensity and frequency. Overall, it is crucial to follow the instructions and safety precautions of transdermal patches or devices to prevent risks.

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