If you experience nerve pain, you know the disabling affect it has on your daily life. Most people with nerve pain need help from a doctor. Prescription drugs and non-prescription treatments are available to help with nerve pain symptoms. If your nerve pain is mild to moderate, non-prescription treatments may be enough to do the trick. Here are some non-prescription medications and alternative treatments that many people use to help with their nerve pain.
- Topical painkillers – Many over-the-counter topical pain killers are sold to help relieve nerve pain. Some are creams that are a local anesthetic to numb the pain in specific areas. Some of these creams contain capsaicin, which is derived from hot chili peppers. Others use natural ingredients like botanical oils. Topical treatments are great because you can apply them directly to the areas that need it.
- Painkilling medicines – Some people with nerve pain turn to over-the-counter painkillers like aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen. While these may work for mild nerve pain, they are probably not strong enough for intense pain. Also, these medications are meant for temporary use. If you need to take them more than ten days, then you need a different medication.
- Supplements and vitamins – Researcher are discovering that vitamin supplements may be able to relieve nerve pain. One of these supplements, B-12, has been found to help reduce nerve pain and possibly regenerate neurons. Other substances like alpha-lipoic acid, acetyl-L-carnitine, and gamma linolenic acid may help with nerve pain caused by diabetes but little research has been conducted to confirm these suggestions. More studies need to be made on these and other vitamin supplements.
Beside painkillers, topical applications, and supplements, other alternative treatments have shown relief for nerve pain.
- Acupuncture – Practiced in the East for centuries, this treatment has found its way inside the Western culture and prospers. Many people claim that acupuncture does help with many ailments including nerve pain. Researchers are still unclear how it works. Some suggest that acupuncture releases chemicals in the body that numbs pain or that it blocks pain signals sent from nerves. As the method gets more attention from doctors and researchers, the benefits from acupuncture will continue to increase. Although the results are mixed at this time, you should give it a try and see if it works for you.
- Physical therapy – Licensed physical therapists are invaluable to patients with pain. Because of their expertise, these professionals are well informed of special exercises and stretches that not only will improve your muscle tone but may also improve your nerve pain.
- Massage – Although the evidence for massage as a pain treatment is not complete, it has little risk attached. Some people find it is especially helpful with painful muscle spasms. Personally, I think massage would be a great benefit. Many times nerve pain is caused by a pinched nerve or a tightness of the nerve against other tissues or bone. Massage may gently undo the pinch or loosen the hold on the nerve and bring relief. In the worst case, you will walk away more relaxed, unstressed, and feeling better.
- Assistive devices – Many times, nerve pain can also cause muscle weakness. Sometimes it becomes necessary to use assistive devices, like canes or splints, to increase mobility and ease the pain created from the mobility. There are also ergonomically designed chairs and desks that can provide relief from pain.
- Biofeedback – Biofeedback is a technique that you can learn to control bodily functions that would normally be involuntary – like heart rate and blood pressure. By learning this technique, you could relax your muscles and reduce tension, which may help relieve nerve pain.
- Hypnosis – There is some evidence that hypnosis can help relieve chronic pain.
- Relaxation techniques – Try yoga, meditation, or deep breathing. These techniques will not only help reduce the stress from life but they may actually relieve the pain itself.
- Talk therapy – Although this seems like an odd treatment, the fact is, many people who suffer with nerve pain also experience depression. Depression can make the pain more intense. Sometimes it helps to talk to someone about your pain. Someone who will just listen and be there for you. You would be surprised how this can help with depression and even lessen the pain. Ask your doctor for a referral to a psychologist or social worker.
In addition to medications and alternative treatments, there are certain lifestyle changes that will make a big difference in your nerve pain. Taking care of yourself is important to reducing and controlling pain.
- Eat good foods – There is no real diet for nerve pain but eating a balanced, nutritious diet including lots of fruits, vegetables, lean meats and fish, and whole grains will give you the necessary nutrients needed by your body to fight and restore health. Your doctor may limit alcohol or cut it out completely.
- Exercise regularly – Exercise if a must to keep the body limber, flexible, and to ensure muscle tone. Studies have shown that those with chronic pain who exercise have less pain, more energy, and have a more positive outlook on life.
- Don’t smoke – Besides all its other bad effects, when you smoke, the blood supply to nerves is decreased, increasing nerve pain. If you smoke, you have to quit.
If you suffer from constant pain, don’t procrastinate. Go see your doctor and get a referral to an expert in nerve pain, preferable a neurologist or a pain management specialist. Together, you can find the treatments that will get you on the road to feeling better.
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