Neuropathy is a disease of the nervous system that can affect any nerve or groups of nerves throughout the whole body. It is mainly caused by injuries, infections or damage done by other diseases to the nerves. There are four main types of neuropathy and depending on what type you have can affect the major systems of the body. It’s interesting to note that neuropathy doesn’t develop right away but only after a period of time has elapsed. With proper care neuropathy for the most part can be avoided or prevented and in some rare cases seemed to be reversible.
Diabetes is the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy which is the most common type affecting the feet, legs, arms and hands. Diabetes is also responsible for Autonomic neuropathy which attacks the digestive, urinary, bowel, reproductive and respiratory functions of these systems. Most people don’t realize that you don’t have to be diabetic to have neuropathy, however, Lyme disease, chemotherapy, gluten intolerance, shingles, fibromyalgia and AIDS have also been known to bring on this disease.
Symptoms vary according to the type but most commonly are the burning pain and tingling, and numbness of the feet or hands. Of a more serious nature are digestive, swallowing and breathing difficulties. Neuropathy is so widespread for some people that they aren’t comfortable sitting, standing, lying down or doing anything as a matter of fact. Thankfully with research today there is hope and a few remedies that might provide relief.
IS NEUROPATHY CURABLE?
For the most part I shall use the term “cure” loosely because it sounds so exact and final. When anyone suffers from some ailment it is only natural and instinctive to search and find a cure for what ails them. Unfortunately all too often the cure proves a temporary relief or “quick fix” for the problem. Granted there might be some regeneration of nervous tissue when suffering from peripheral neuropathy and then only if the nerve cell isn’t destroyed itself, thus abating the further development of the disease. With neuropathy the underlying cause is usually curable therefore treated first and followed by symptomatic treatments and other therapies for other kinds of neuropathy. One thing is for certain; there is no cure for hereditary neuropathy.
VARIOUS TREATMENTS FOR NEUROPATHY
Treating the underlying diseases or conditions such as diabetes, shingles, carpal tunnel, AIDS, Lyme disease and nerve damage from chemotherapy is usually the first place to start. Controlling the blood sugar levels associated with diabetes is paramount for preventing neuropathy. A healthy lifestyle which includes a balanced diet, a well-planned exercise program supervised by a physician or qualified physical therapist, taking vitamin supplements if needed, avoiding poisons and other toxins and maintaining a healthy weight can prevent further damage and even reverse it if caught early enough. Surgery might be needed to alleviate carpal tunnel syndrome or ulnar neuropathies due to repetitive motion which often tightens, stretches and squishes the nerves thereby causing the all too familiar numbness or tingling of the hands and arms.
If your gluten intolerant dietary adjustments could also make neuropathy symptoms disappear.
Foot care is mandatory for people with foot neuropathy. Washing, clipping the nails, moisturizing dry skin, treating cuts, bruises, blisters, corns, callouses and any other injuries to the foot and wearing proper fitting shoes is practicing good care for the feet. A nice massage might help unless it’s too painful.
ALTERNATIVE METHODS FOR A “CURE”
Besides the more commonly known treatments there are a few “cures” that might work for you. Keep in mind not all people suffer the same way and what works for you might not work for another. Below are a few suggestions:
v A macrobiotic diet which reduces high carbohydrates. Eat smaller meals and at a regular time.
v Acetyl-l carnitine and Alpha-Lipoic Acid are supplements that have proven results of symptomatic relief. Some people have sworn that their neuropathies have gone.
v Benfotiamine is another form of vitamin B12. Results and studies done have all shown great improvement to the extent that some people have called this a “magic bullet”. Must be in soluble form in order to work.
v Bulbine wraps. Bulbine is a common landscape plant which is a succulent and something like an aloe. By squeezing the gelatinous gel from the leaves and applying it as a salve and wrapping the foot with it relieves the pain and tingling for hours.
v Epsom salt soaks.
v Calcium-magnesium supplements.
v Herbal remedies.
If you decide to try any medications or buy some over the counter medication, or try natural herbal remedies please consult your doctor first because you may not want the side effects or the interactions between medications that could happen. You don’t want to hurt yourself trying to cure yourself.
A good support group would most likely have a lot of ideas on what cures them and it would be worthwhile to seek one out. Taking care of you in the first place can prevent most neuropathies, after all an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
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