NEUROPATHY FOOT TREATMENTS

The most common type of neuropathy is called peripheral neuropathy. Typically, this is the cause of neuropathy of the feet. However, other types of nerve disorders, particularly autonomic neuropathy, can cause symptoms of foot neuropathy. Because autonomic neuropathy can manifest itself in myriad systems of the body, it is often diagnosed as the culprit when more specific neuropathies, such as peripheral neuropathy, cannot be identified.

An estimated 30 percent of all peripheral neuropathy symptoms in the foot are caused by diabetes. Though symptoms vary from patient to patient, the common ones are pain, tingling and/or numbness in the legs and/or feet or impaired balance in the legs or feet. Whether a patient will inevitably develop neuropathy largely depends on how well their glucose levels can be managed or controlled. Cases that are not caused by diabetes may be easier to treat.

DIAGNOSIS

Foot neuropathy is typically diagnosed after a series of tests, including electromyography and nerve conduction studies have been performed. Physicians use these tests to help determine the depth and breadth of neuropathy that may be present. Another way physicians determine the extent of foot neuropathy is to gently rub fine filaments against the patient’s foot. In this way, doctors can measure how bothersome the neuropathy is to the patient.

MEDICATIONS

There are certain drugs that can be used to relieve neuropathy symptoms, but there is no medication that provides a cure. Depending on a variety of factors, different classes of drugs may be utilized, including analgesics, antidepressants and/or anticonvulsants.

Anti-depressants such as certain medications affect two neurotransmitters in the brain, serotonin and norepinephrine, and show effectiveness in treating peripheral neuropathy. Drugs like other medications affect GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain, which is directly related to sleep. These medications help alleviate neuropathic pain and soothe nerves.

Opioids are also used to treat neuropathy but have strong addiction possibilities as well as side effects. Therefore, these medications can be used for severe pain, but addiction and side effects should be considered.

Researchers are not exactly sure how anti-convulsant drugs work. It is widely believed they keep pain signals from reaching other parts of the brain. These drugs may also block sodium channels in the brain, which slows down the activity of nerve cells.

OTHER TREATMENTS

Vitamins – Pain and numbness from peripheral neuropathy can be controlled by B vitamins. Vitamins B1 and B6 have been used to slow down the development of neuropathy associated with diabetes. The treatment of peripheral and central neurological disorders has been based on a lack of vitamin B12. Neuropathy symptoms brought on by a long period of diabetes or hemodialysis for kidney failure can be improved by Biotin. Pantothenic acid can assist the production of adrenal hormones and the creation of antibodies to combat neuropathy. Alpha lipoic acid and Acetyl-L-Carnitine have been also found to be helpful treatments for neuropathy symptoms.

Herbs, Minerals, and Oils – Neuropathy symptoms can also be helped by several herbs, minerals, and oils. Skullcap and St. John’s Wort may help to soothe the nervous system and relieve nerve pain. Evening primrose oil may ease some symptoms of neuropathy connected with diabetes. Magnesium has been associated with calming the nervous system. Cayenne pepper, used as a cream or salve, has shown some success in treating localized areas with neuropathic pain.

Homeopathic Treatments – Many homeopathic remedies can be used to treat symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. Hypericum soothes neuralgia and pains in the fingers, toes and limbs. Aconite is used for shooting pains, tingling, numbness and swelling. Catharsis is recommended for tingling and burning soles of the feet. As with any treatments, consult your doctor before you add any of these natural remedies to your diet.

LIFESTYLE CHANGES

In order to lessen or all but eliminate foot neuropathy, you will probably want to make some changes to your lifestyle. First of all, it is important to take care of your feet. Any cuts, blisters or calluses can easily turn into a larger problem if not taken care of early on. Toxins like cigarette smoke can affect circulation, which can further add to foot problems.

On the other hand, a healthy diet can help control neuropathy. A good diet will include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat meats, and dairy products. Another good practice is massage of the hands and feet. This treatment can improve circulation and relieve pain. Exercise is also a great way to control neuropathy symptoms. Consult a physician about a proper exercise plan that can both reduce pain and control blood sugar.

Neuropathy of the feet, often referred to as peripheral neuropathy, has no cure yet. Treatments focus on reducing symptoms and making neuropathy more manageable. If this is your case, work with your doctor. Together, you can come up with the right treatments to reduce your neuropathy.

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