- Any underlying condition is usually treated first, followed by symptomatic treatment.
- Peripheral nerves do have the ability to regenerate, as long as the nerve cell itself has not been killed.
- Symptoms often can be controlled, and eliminating the causes of specific forms of neuropathy often can prevent new damage.
- Positive changes and healthy habits often create conditions that encourage nerve regeneration.
- Timely treatment of injuries can help prevent permanent damage.
- In general, treatment of peripheral neuropathy involves adopting healthy habits to reduce the physical and emotional effects – such actions as:
- maintaining an optimal weight
- avoiding exposure to toxins
- following a physician-supervised exercise program
- eating a balanced diet
- correcting vitamin deficiencies
- limiting or avoiding alcohol consumption
Other Treatments For Peripheral Neuropathy
Other treatments for peripheral neuropathy include:
- Exercise: active and passive forms of exercise can reduce cramps, improve muscle strength, and prevent muscle wasting in paralyzed limbs.
- Diet and Nutrition: various dietary strategies can improve gastrointestinal symptoms.
- Stop Smoking: quitting smoking is particularly important because smoking constricts the blood vessels that supply nutrients to the peripheral nerves and can worsen neuropathic symptoms.
- Self-care skills: self-care skills such as meticulous foot care and careful wound treatment in people with diabetes and others who have an impaired ability to feel pain can alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life.
- Guide To Foot Care / Common Foot Problems
Neuropathic pain is often difficult to control. Mild pain may sometimes be alleviated by analgesics sold over-the-counter. Several classes of drugs have recently proved helpful to many patients suffering from more severe forms of chronic neuropathic pain. These include:
- mexiletine, a drug developed to correct irregular heart rhythms (sometimes associated with severe side effects)
- several antiepileptic drugs including meds (gabapentin), other medications (pregabalin), phenytoin, and carbamazepine
- some classes of antidepressants including tricyclics such as amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep)
Injections of local anesthetics such as numbing cream or topical patches containing numbing cream may relieve more intractable pain.
In the most severe cases, doctors can surgically destroy nerves; however, the results are often temporary and the procedure can lead to complications.
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