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3 Best Antioxidants for Easing Nerve Pain

nervesEveryday there are hundreds – perhaps thousands – of battles going on within your body. Your nerve cells face threats from germs, infections, viruses, nutritional deficiencies and more. One of the less obvious threats to your cells are free radicals. Free radicals are harmful compounds that scour the body – attacking and destroying cells. If left unhindered, free radicals can cause damage that can eventually result in chronic illness and other negative health outcomes.

To protect your cells from damage or destruction by free radicals – your body relies on antioxidants. Antioxidants seek out free radicals and neutralize the threat they present to your body. There are literally hundreds of antioxidants. Your body naturally produces some antioxidants while others come from food or supplements. No matter the source – they play an important role in defending your cells, including your nerve cells, from the harmful effects of free radicals.

Among the hundreds of antioxidants that protect your nerve cells from damage, there are three in particular that stand out as being especially effective for those with nerve pain. Lets take a look:

Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha lipoic acid is often referred to as a “super antioxidant”, with good reason. It has the special ability to regenerate both itself and other antioxidants – which helps bring the fight to free radicals. It also helps increase oxygen and blood flow to the nerves and is effective at relieving some of the symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy.

Alpha lipoic acid can be found in foods like broccoli and spinach, but a more bio-available form of it is available in supplements. Patients suffering from diabetic neuropathy have reported significant reductions in pain, burning and numbness in their arms and legs – typically after about 3-5 weeks of treatment with alpha lipoic acid supplements.

CoQ10 (CoEnzyme Q10)

CoQ10 is an antioxidant naturally produced by your body. However, as you age the production levels decrease, sometimes resulting in a deficiency of this important antioxidant. As it relates to your nerves, CoQ10 plays a role in correction mitochondrial dysfunction, a condition that can lead to a decline in nerve health and cause nerve related problems or pain.

In addition to its nerve protecting qualities, CoQ10 is an important antioxidant for energy and can be found in every cell in your body. Its primary function is to help the body convert food into energy by producing ATP, a molecule that serves as the primary fuel source for cells and cellular functions.

Though your body will likely produce enough C0Q10 on its own, as you age and your production levels decline you may consider taking a daily CoQ10 supplement – which you can find at your local pharmacy in the vitamins and supplements isle.

Hydroxytyrosol

Hydroxytrosol is yet another superstar antioxidant. What makes this antioxidant so great is its incredible ability to absord and neutralize free radicals. Research shows that it is 15 times more powerful than Green Tea and 3 times more powerful than CoQ10 at neutralizing free radicals!

Like CoQ10, hydroxytrosl helps protect cells and promote healthy mitochondrial function – thereby protecting the health of your nerves. In a 2012 study on its effects on the progression of diabetic neuropathy, Italian researchers observed that it slowed its progression and possessed therapeutic qualities for the treatment of its symptoms.

In addition to its nerve boosting qualities, hydroxytrosol is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It can help reduce painful inflammation and ease irritating swelling and redness.

This powerful antioxidant is found in olive trees and can be extracted from the trees fruit and leaves. For those looking to get more of it, a Mediterranean-style diet will be rich in this antioxidant.

Getting more of these and other antioxidants, whether it is through diet or supplements, will help give your body the upper hand in fighting harmful free radicals that seek to wreak havoc on your cells. As noted above, consistent treatment can even result in a significant reduction in nerve related pain and provide much needed relief.

 

 

7 Common Treatments for Nerve Pain

MedicineNavigating one’s way through the various treatments and therapies available for peripheral neuropathy can be an overwhelming process. Finding the right treatment for your own peripheral neuropathy will often depend on the underlying cause of your neuropathy and the progression of your symptoms. Once you’ve discussed your symptoms with your doctor and have undergone the necessary lab tests, your doctor will discuss the recommended treatment options with you.

Knowing the different options beforehand can help you to make an informed decision and – with the help of your doctor – choose the best option for you. To help you understand your options, lets take a look at a few of the most common treatments and therapies used to treat peripheral neuropathy.

Medications

There are a number of medications – both prescription and over-the-counter – that can help alleviate some of the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. These include pain relievers, antidepressants, anti-seizure medications and capsaicin. Pain relievers generally help relieve pain by reducing inflammation caused by nerve damage. Anti-seizure medications and some antidepressants alter chemical processes in the brain that are related to pain. Additionally, they help calm overactive nerves – helping to reduce pain inducing nerve signals from being transmitted.

Capsaicin is a chemical harvested from hot peppers and used in topical creams. It can help create a numbing effect for those suffering from nerve pain. As with most medications, side effects of the medications used for neuropathy can vary. It is important to pay attention to any adverse side effects and discuss them with your doctor.

Therapeutic Nerve Block

If prescription medications aren’t providing relief, another option is a therapeutic nerve block. A nerve block is an injection of an anesthetic into the affected area. The anesthetic can help disrupt or block pain signals to the brain – providing temporary relief to those suffering from intense nerve pain.

TENS Therapy (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)

TENS is a type of therapy that – after receiving initial training from a doctor or therapist – can be done at home. It involves placing adhesive electrodes – attached to a small battery pack – onto the area in pain. Using the low voltage setting recommended to you by your doctor or therapist, you turn the device on to transmit electrical currents to the skin.

These electrical currents are believed to help ease pain related to peripheral neuropathy by stimulating the affected nerves and thereby sending signals to the brain to help block the usual pain signals. Additionally, it is believed that the stimulation helps promote the release painkilling endorphins in the body.

Supplements

Vitamin and herbal supplements can help provide lasting relief and supply the body with important nerve boosting nutrients. A few common supplements for nerve pain include alpha-lipoic acid, acetyl-L-carnitine, fish oil, vitamin B12 (methylcobalamine), oat straw extract and skullcap extract.

Blood Sugar Management & Diet

If your neuropathy was caused as a result of diabetes, the most effective treatment for stopping nerve damage is maintaining proper blood sugar levels. In many cases, you can even reverse the effects of diabetic neuropathy through disciplined diet and nutrition.

Physical Therapy

The effects of neuropathy can go beyond just pain and numbness. Since peripheral neuropathy most commonly affects the feet and hands – we often reduce our physical use of those extremities. Over time, this can result in muscle deterioration and weakness as well as poor circulation – which can further aggravate nerve pain.

Physical therapy can help the body to restore and maintain healthy muscles and promote better circulation. Popular therapies for neuropathy include massage, water aerobics, yoga and other low impact exercises.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture, like physical therapy, can be a great complementary treatment. Acupuncture typically involves the insertion of thin, sterile needles into various acupuncture points across the body. For some, these alternative therapy helps reduce the symptoms of neuropathic pain.

Besides the treatments mentioned above, your doctor might recommend additional lifestyle changes such as to quit smoking or limit alcohol consumption – as these and other lifestyle habits can have a damaging effect on the nerves. For most, the results from the various treatments will vary. While some may see results immediately, for others the effects may take time. It is important to maintain hope and be as consistent as possible.

3 Surprising Nerve-Boosting Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Woman with Omega 3 fish oil capsuleWe get a lot of questions about what kinds of vitamins and minerals are best for maintaining healthy nerves or helping damaged nerves to recover. Of course, there are a number of different nutrients that are essential for nerve health. Among them are vitamin B12, vitamin D, lipoic acid and more. These help the body carry out important nerve related functions.

Another, perhaps lesser-known nutrient with pain-fighting and nerve-boosting abilities is Omega-3. Researchers have connected Omega-3 fatty acids with a number of nerve related benefits. Lets take a look at the three most promising benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids as they relate to the nerves.

Reduces Inflammation

Damaged nerves can cause pain and inflammation throughout the body. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation and ease pain levels in affected areas. In a study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 250 patients experiencing pain were given 1,200 mg/day of Omega-3 fatty acids in a fish oil supplement. After just one month, 60% of respondents reported that their pain levels had decreased and nearly 60% were able to stop taking their prescription anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) for pain.

Protects Nerves

Omega-3 fatty acids are also important for helping protect the nerves. Researchers from Queen Mary, University of London discovered that Omega-3 fatty acids helped protect nerves from injury. In a study conducted on isolated mouse nerve cells, researchers simulated nerve damage commonly caused by accident or injury by stretching the cells or starving them of oxygen. Researchers discovered that both types of damage resulted in a significant number of nerve cell deaths, but that those cells enriched with omega-3 fatty acids the cells saw superior levels of protection and fewer instances of death.

Promotes Faster Recovery of Damaged Nerves

One of the biggest benefits for those suffering from nerve damage is that Omega-3 fatty acids promote the speedy recovery of damaged nerves. In the same study from the University of London mentioned above, researchers found that a high level of omega-3 fatty acids helped mice to recover from sciatic nerve injury more quickly and more fully, and that their muscles were less likely to waste following nerve damage.

In a separate study by Dr. Gordon Ko, Omega-3 fatty acids were studied for their benefits in restoring the health of the myelin sheath (a protective coating around the nerves) and reducing neuropathic pain in patients suffering from chronic pain. The patients were given between 2,400-7,200 mg/day of Omega-3 fatty acids. All patients in the study reported clinically significant pain reduction and improved function even up to 19 months after the initiation of the study. Dr. Ko concluded that the use of Omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial in the treatment of neuropathic pain.

Since the body does not produce Omega-3 fatty acids, they have to be consumed through dietary sources or supplements. A few rich food sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, sardines, walnuts, flaxseeds and soybeans. If food sources aren’t enough, you may also want to take a dietary supplement of fish oil or sunflower oil – both of which are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.

What daily supplements do you take to boost the health of your nerves? Share your comments with us on our Facebook Page!

New Study Reveals Anti-seizure Meds May be Ineffective for Neuropathy Pain

prescription pillsA popular form of treatment for nerve related pain has come under scrutiny recently. Among the various medications used to treat neuropathic pain is the use of anti-seizure medications such as Gabapentin and Lyrica. However, new research casts some doubt on the effectiveness of some anti-seizure medications in treating nerve pain.

Originally developed to prevent epileptic seizures, anti-seizure medications eventually found their way into the world of pain management in the 1960’s. Little is understood about their exact mechanisms for relieving pain, but the medications are widely believed to ease nerve related pain by calming overactive nerves. While some are thought to provide relief, a recent study suggests that others lack evidence to support their effectiveness.

In an article published in the Cochrane Library in January of 2015, the authors reviewed a clinical study conducted to measure the effectiveness of the anti-seizure medication zonisamide in treating neuropathic pain. In the study, 25 participants were broken into two groups. One group was given anti-seizure medication while the other was given a placebo.

The authors note that of the 13 participants being given the anti-seizure medication zonisamide, 8 withdrew early from the 12-week treatment period because of adverse side effects. Of the placebo group, only one withdrew early. The authors also indicate that the “study reporting in this particular clinical study may have led to major over-estimation of any treatment effects” because most participants withdrew early.

The final conclusion was that “ there was too little information, which was of inadequate quality, to give any guidance as to whether zonisamide works as a pain medicine in any neuropathic pain condition.” More studies need to be done on zonisamide and similar medications to determine their effectiveness in relieving nerve related pain.

Have you taken anti-seizure medication for your nerve pain? What effect, if any, did it have on your symptoms? Share your experience with us on our Facebook Page.

5 Most Important Tips for Managing Your Nerve Pain

foot neuropathyPeripheral neuropathy, which is defined as damage to either a single nerve or a group of nerves, can leave those afflicted by it feeling helpless. For many, the pain or numbness affects the feet – which can make everyday tasks painful and hard to perform. If left unchecked, nerve damage can worsen over time and lead to more pronounced pain or numbness. Additionally, without proper care and precaution on the part of the sufferer, it can lead to more serious injuries and damage to the feet (or other affected areas).

The first step to caring for your nerves is to recognize your symptoms. The most common symptoms of neuropathy are pain, tingling, burning or numbness in the hands or feet. However, neuropathy can affect any nerve in the body – so the symptoms may not be limited to the hands or feet. Other possible symptoms can include weakness, excessive sweating, digestive problems and more.

Once you’ve recognized your symptoms, speak with your doctor as soon as possible. When it comes to treating peripheral neuropathy, there are a number of options your doctor may suggest. These can include prescription medications, supplements and alternative treatments such as acupuncture or biofeedback.

In addition to these treatments, there are self-care tips you can follow to help protect yourself and your nerves. Here are 5 self-care tips for managing your neuropathy:

1. Take Supplements

More often than not our diets leave us deficient of certain vitamins or minerals. In some cases, these deficiencies can aggravate the nerves and even lead to peripheral neuropathy. A few of the most important vitamin and mineral supplements to take for your nerves include vitamin B12 (Methyl-B12), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin D, magnesium and alpha lipoic acid. Talk to your doctor about which supplements would be most beneficial for your condition.

2. Take control of your diet

Taking control of your diet is one of the most effective lifestyle changes you can make to help slow and even reverse the damage cause by neuropathy. The number one cause of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes. Making changes to your diet to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels is the most effective treatment for reversing diabetic neuropathy.

Regardless of the cause of your neuropathy, diet can play a big role in fighting it. Eliminating certain neuropathy aggravators – such as artificial sweeteners, sugars, refined grain, casein based products and others – can help reduce some of the pain and aggravation caused by your nerves. Additionally, eating a diet rich in vitamins such as B2 and B12 can help repair and rebuild damaged nerves.

For more diet ideas, check out the 6 Most Effective Diet Changes for Easing Nerve Pain.

3. Check Your Feet Daily

If the symptoms of your neuropathy are manifest in your feet (as is most often the case), you’ll want to take special precaution to check and care for your feet daily. This is especially important for those experiencing numbness in the feet, as they are more at risk for developing blisters, cuts or other wounds that could go unnoticed. Be sure to check all areas of the feet, including the tops of the feet, soles and toes.

In addition to checking your feet cuts and blisters, take the time to properly pamper your feet. Wash your feet daily using warm water. Dry the feet thoroughly and be sure to get the area between the toes. Use a moisturizer or neuropathy cream on the feet to help keep them from cracking. Be sure to keep your toenails trim and filed and be on the lookout for ingrown toenails.

4. Get the Right Shoes

Wearing the right pair of socks and shoes is important for those with neuropathy in the feet. Make sure your socks are not too tight or restrictive, as this can cut off circulation. Socks with sufficient padding can help minimize damage to numb feet. When picking a pair of shoes, look for a pair that will allow your feet to breathe – if the shoe is too small it can cut off circulation. However, if it is too big it can be uncomfortable to wear and the foot may slide around.

If you experience pain rather than numbness, shoes with shock absorbing soles can be beneficial as they can help minimize the impact on the feet. Paired with cushioned socks, these can help to reduce painful sensations when walking or exercising.

5. Boost Circulation

One important step you can take to boost the health of your nerves is to find ways to improve circulation. Proper circulation allows your blood to carry vital oxygen and nutrients to nerve cells in the body. Some effective methods of improving circulation include stretching, drinking lots of water, yoga, massage, elevating the feet, warm baths, proper diet and more.

A few things that can hurt your circulation include smoking, tight or restrictive clothing (especially socks, shoes or pants), sitting for long periods of time and poor diet.

When dealing with peripheral neuropathy, self-care is an important strategy that can help address underlying causes and protect you from additional damage. While working with your doctor to identify the best treatment approaches for your condition, take control of your own situation by practicing these and other self-care tips. Though it may take time, you will see results.

What self-care tips have helped you cope with your nerve pain? We’d love to hear from you. Share your tips and tricks on our Facebook Page!

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The statements made on our websites have not been evaluated by the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration). Our products are not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Neuropathy Treatment Group is not affiliated with any of the studies mentioned on the website. The testimonials on this website are individual cases and do not guarantee that you will get the same results.