When the nerves of your peripheral nervous system, located outside the brain and spinal cord (peripheral nerves), are damaged, it usually results in weakness, numbness, and discomfort, generally in the hands and feet. It may also impact many bodily processes, like digestion, urination, and circulation. Traumatic injuries, infections, metabolic issues, genetic reasons, and exposure to toxins are all potential causes of peripheral neuropathy. Diabetes is one of the most typical causes.
However, the question is, which among these treatments is the most effective?
The best form of treatment is prevention and several tried-and-true methods for reducing injuries. It would help if you avoided unnecessary medical procedures because they can lead to cast fractures, injuries from injections, and even surgery.
For persons over 50, including those who had the older, less effective vaccine or who have had shingles in the past, the new adjuvanted vaccine against shingles prevents more than 95% of instances.
Numerous disorders, including diabetes, are prevalent and preventable causes of neuropathy. When there are alternatives, patients with neuropathy should ask their doctors to avoid using drugs that aggravate or cause neuropathy. In vitro fertilization is used by some families with severe inherited neuropathies to stop transmission to subsequent generations.
You can prevent peripheral neuropathy in part by making healthy lifestyle choices also. By abstaining from alcohol, treating vitamin deficiencies, maintaining a nutritious diet, getting rid of excess weight, avoiding pollutants, and engaging in regular exercise, you can reduce your risk for many diseases.
However, if you already have a form of peripheral neuropathy, it’s crucial to work with your doctor to manage your illness. Doing so may help to stop or delay the development of peripheral neuropathy.
What is the most effective treatment for neuropathy?
Now that the underlying cause of your neuropathy has been identified. What’s next?
Treating the underlying cause of peripheral neuropathy while simultaneously relieving symptoms is the main objective of treatment for the condition. The following are effective treatments for peripheral neuropathy:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), for example, are certain over-the-counter pharmaceuticals that help relieve minor pain and discomfort. Furthermore, topical treatments like lidocaine patches or creams may work well if the pain is localized to a small area. Capsaicin cream, made from a compound found in hot peppers, can help with particular neuropathic itch and discomfort.
Your doctor might recommend narcotic drugs in more critical circumstances. It’s crucial to take these potent medications exactly as directed because they have the potential to become habit-forming.
Some antidepressants and anti-seizure drugs may also help the symptoms of nerve pain. Find out if you’d be a good candidate for these drugs by asking your doctor.
Finally, some medical professionals might also recommend drugs to treat the underlying issue causing your neuropathy. This strategy could involve using medications to treat infections or lessen the consequences of autoimmune, diabetic, or other illnesses.
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
TENS therapy uses an electrical current to treat neuropathy symptoms, including pain. On the skin, tiny electrodes are positioned close to the damaged nerve. The electrodes deliver a mild electrical current once they are in place. TENS therapy specifically alters or blocks the nerves’ experience of pain.
There are portable and small TENS devices. People with neuropathy can use them for pain treatment at home, work, or any other time.
- Occupational and Physical Therapy
Physical therapy employs targeted exercises, routines, massage, and other treatments to improve balance, posture, and strength. You can treat muscular deterioration brought on by damaged motor nerves with physical therapy. Physical therapists might also advise you to alter some aspects of your daily routine that might aggravate your pain, such as sitting or walking.
Occupational therapy also deals with ways to regain or adjust to functional alterations brought on by nerve damage. An occupational therapist can recommend assistive technology, extra exercises, and novel techniques for daily living activities.
- Addressing Nutrition & Lifestyle Habits
Vitamin deficits, such as a B-12 deficiency, can exacerbate peripheral neuropathy. Lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables, together with whole grains, can help stop future nerve damage with a balanced diet. Don’t forget that a nutritious diet promotes full bodily function.
Regular exercise is also beneficial for managing blood sugar, preserving muscle strength, and keeping a healthy weight. However, before beginning a new fitness regimen, speak with your doctor, especially if you are dealing with peripheral neuropathy.
The use of tobacco products and excessive drinking could potentially contribute to nerve damage. Although quitting smoking is challenging, several programs and treatments are available to aid withdrawal symptoms. Try to keep your alcohol consumption to no more than two daily drinks.
- Immune Suppressing or Modulating Treatments
If autoimmune conditions cause peripheral neuropathy, your doctor may recommend one of several therapies. Oral medicines and IV infusion therapies are both possible forms of treatment. Prednisone and azathioprine, for instance, are typical drugs that your doctor might give.
Plasmapheresis is another method of suppressing the immune system. A small amount of your blood is drawn during this operation. The blood is then cleared of immunological cells and antibodies. The body is subsequently supplied with the “cleaned” blood.
- Braces & Orthopedic Support
Braces for the hands or feet and other mechanical assistance can sometimes help lessen pain or neuropathy’s consequences. Splints, for instance, can be utilized by people with carpal tunnel syndrome. These splints enable the wrist to be better positioned, allowing the compressed nerve more room to heal.
Diabetes shoes can help lower the risk of skin abrasion on the foot. Diabetic socks are also widely used nowadays, and you can check out these diabetic socks for their features that can aid with your condition.
Acupuncture is a technique that encourages natural healing and enhances performance. Depending on where you are feeling pain or other symptoms, needles are put at precise spots in the body.
Accurately placed needles can stimulate the nervous system. This then causes the release of chemicals (or a cascade of chemicals and hormones) that change how the pain or other symptoms are perceived.
Because it has few to no side effects, it can be done even if the patient is taking some medications. Be sure to speak with your doctor to find out if you’d be a good candidate for acupuncture.
Peripheral neuropathy patients may also benefit from mind-body practices, including tai chi, yoga, and deep breathing. Usually, these techniques are applied in addition to more traditional medical treatments. As a result, your quality of life may be enhanced by easing tension and pain, encouraging relaxation, and other factors.
Surgery might be the best option for some peripheral neuropathy situations that are more severe. A damaged nerve can be relieved of pressure through specific operations. Surgery may be possible for those with tumors, a herniated disc in the neck or back, or nerve entrapment (such as carpal tunnel syndrome).
As surgical technology advances, many surgical procedures for peripheral neuropathy are minimally invasive. One could anticipate less scarring, less pain, and quicker recovery.
People with disabilities and long-term health issues may find it helpful to discuss their situation with a therapist. Being unable to do the things you enjoy is not always straightforward. A psychotherapist can provide the tools and encouragement you need to understand and control your feelings.
We’ve included more than one way of treating peripheral neuropathy since it calls for the careful application of established and cutting-edge technologies. This list is merely a suggestion/guide. You can try one or more of them for a quicker and more effective cure. They may also have different effects on specific individuals. Always get your doctor’s advice before making any treatment decisions.