Hello there! As a Neurologist and health expert, one of the most common complaints that I get from my elderly patients is about neuropathy. Neuropathy is a condition that affects the nerves and can cause a range of symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and pain in the affected areas. This condition can be caused by a variety of factors such as diabetes, chemotherapy, or even age.
If you are someone who is suffering from neuropathy, you may be wondering what you can do to make it better. The good news is that there are several lifestyle modifications, medications, therapies, and home remedies that can help manage the symptoms of neuropathy and improve your quality of life.
In this article, I will be discussing the various ways in which you can make neuropathy better. You will learn about the lifestyle modifications that can help manage the symptoms of neuropathy, the various medications and therapies that can provide relief, and the home remedies that have been found to be effective. Additionally, I will also be discussing how to prevent neuropathy in the long-term and how to manage the condition in the best possible way.
So, whether you are looking for ways to manage the symptoms of neuropathy or hoping to prevent it altogether, read on to learn everything you need to know!
Read also: Top 5 Best Gloves for Hand Neuropathy
Lifestyle modifications for managing neuropathy
If you’re suffering from neuropathy, don’t worry, there are several things you can do to help yourself feel better. One of the most important things you can do is make some lifestyle modifications.
Diet modifications for neuropathy
Did you know that the food you eat can affect your neuropathy symptoms? It’s true! A diet that is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals can play a big role in reducing inflammation and injury, which in turn can help reduce neuropathy symptoms.
Here are some examples of foods that are great for managing neuropathy symptoms:
- Vitamin B-rich foods, such as chicken, fish, eggs, and leafy green vegetables.
- Foods high in antioxidants, such as berries, nuts, and dark chocolate.
- Foods that reduce inflammation, such as omega-3 rich fish, turmeric, and extra-virgin olive oil.
Make sure to limit your intake of alcohol, caffeine, and sugar, as these can all trigger or worsen neuropathy symptoms.
Exercise and physical therapy for neuropathy relief
Exercise and physical therapy can help reduce neuropathy symptoms by improving blood flow to the nerves and reducing inflammation. Regular exercise can also help manage pain and improve overall mobility.
Some examples of beneficial exercises for neuropathy include:
- Low-impact exercises such as walking, cycling, or swimming.
- Strength training exercises to build muscle and support joints.
- Stretching exercises to increase flexibility and reduce muscle tension.
Physical therapy can also be helpful in reducing neuropathy symptoms. Your physical therapist can design a specialized exercise routine for you that targets specific areas of pain and weakness.
Stress management for neuropathy
Stress can make neuropathy symptoms worse, so it’s important to find ways to manage stress in your daily life. There are many effective stress management techniques to choose from, such as:
- Yoga and meditation
- Deep breathing exercises
- Massage therapy
Find what works for you and make it a part of your daily routine. Managing stress can not only help reduce neuropathy symptoms, but it can also improve your overall well-being.
Medications and therapies
Medications and therapies can also be useful in managing neuropathy symptoms. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help reduce mild to moderate pain associated with neuropathy. However, it is important to consult with a doctor before taking any medication, as they may have side effects or interact with other medications.
For more severe neuropathy symptoms, prescription drugs may be necessary. Antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and opioids are commonly used to alleviate neuropathic pain. These medications work by altering the way the brain processes pain signals, reducing the sensation of pain.
However, it is important to note that prescription drugs can have potential side effects and can also be habit-forming. Therefore, they should be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
Alternative therapies can also be useful for neuropathy relief. Acupuncture, massage therapy, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) are non-invasive treatments that can help reduce pain and improve nerve function. These therapies work by improving blood flow, reducing inflammation, and stimulating nerve regeneration.
While alternative therapies may be more natural and have fewer side effects than medications, they should still be used under the guidance of a licensed practitioner.
Home remedies for neuropathy relief
Now let’s talk about some effective home remedies for neuropathy that can provide relief to your nerves without any side effects.
1. Hot and cold therapy for neuropathy
Alternating between hot and cold temperatures can help provide relief from nerve pain. You can try soaking your feet or hands in a basin of hot water for a few minutes, then switch to cold water. Repeat this process several times to help decrease the shooting, burning pain that often accompanies neuropathy.
2. Topical creams and ointments for neuropathy relief
Topical creams and ointments that contain capsaicin, lidocaine or menthol can also be effective in reducing neuropathy pain. Capsaicin is made from chili pepper and can be found in creams that block pain signals. Lidocaine is a numbing agent that can be found in creams or patches that can help to relieve pain. And menthol has a cooling effect that can bring relief to painful areas.
3. Herbal remedies for neuropathy
Certain herbs have been found to be effective in reducing nerve pain. For instance, the herb St. John’s Wort has been shown to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties which can help relieve nerve pain. Turmeric is another spice that can be helpful in reducing inflammation and pain.
Remember, natural remedies like herbs may not work for everyone, so it’s important to discuss any remedies or supplements with your doctor before using them.
Prevention and long-term management of neuropathy
Now that we have discussed ways to relieve neuropathy symptoms, let’s talk about how to prevent it from occurring or worsening in the long run.
- Diabetes management: Diabetes is one of the leading causes of neuropathy, hence it’s important for people with diabetes to manage their blood sugar levels. Each spike in blood sugar leads to nerve damage, resulting in neuropathic symptoms. This can be achieved by following a healthy diet and regular physical activity, taking medications as prescribed, and keeping blood sugar levels in check through regular monitoring. So, let’s all say it together – “Diabetes management is key to managing neuropathy.”
- Proper foot care for neuropathy prevention: Proper foot care is essential, especially for those with neuropathy. Any injury to the foot, even a small one, can develop into a serious infection or ulcer. This is because neuropathy often causes a loss of sensation in the feet, making it harder to notice any cuts, bruises, or sores. So, it’s important to inspect the feet daily for any signs of damage, wash them regularly, dry them well, and apply moisturizer. When cutting nails, do it carefully and avoid injuring the surrounding skin. Also, make sure that your footwear is comfortable and fits well, without any pressure points.
- Regular health check-ups and consultations: Regular health check-ups and consultations are important for overall health and for the prevention of neuropathy. This can help detect any underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, which can lead to neuropathy. Also, certain conditions or medications can interact with one another, leading to neuropathic symptoms. Hence, it is important to discuss any concerns or symptoms with your healthcare provider and follow their advice.
Remember, prevention is always better than cure. Following these steps can help prevent or manage neuropathy in the long run, and make life more comfortable for those who are already experiencing neuropathic symptoms.
In conclusion, neuropathy can be a challenging condition to manage, but with the right approach and a bit of patience, it is possible to make it better. By adopting healthy lifestyle habits, seeking medical advice and considering natural remedies, it is possible to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.
Remember, having neuropathy doesn’t mean that life has to stop. Keep moving, stay positive, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Neuropathy may be a tough nut to crack, but with the right tools, anyone can crack it. Whether it’s finding the best medication, a tried-and-true therapy, or a homemade remedy, there’s always hope. So let’s empower ourselves to manage this condition efficiently and live our best lives!