Who would have thought that there are simpler methods to finding nerve pain relief through the following means: acupuncture, therapy, herbal supplements and electrical nerve stimulation? When most people think about or consider various methods or forms of neuropathy treatment they do not usually consider the methods we just mentioned. Natural alternatives such as acupuncture, therapy and herbal supplements have been known to provide the ultimate in neuropathy relief.
Acupuncture is an alternative option for treating certain ailments and condition by way of needle. Needles are strategically inserted into the body and then manipulated in order to help with the following problems:
- Relief of pain
- Treats Diseases
- Prevents Diseases
Acupuncture historically is an ancient Chinese medical treatment that the Chinese believe to be a technique that is used to allow the body to flow and re-balance. Within the last three decades, acupuncture has gained popularity here in the western world and is used and recommended by many medical professionals.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
Electrical nerve stimulation may seem a little barbaric and once one lays eyes on the piece of equipment that provides the electrical shock their feelings may be confirmed. Though the thought of sending electrical volts through your body may make you shudder (ha ha) at the thought, the electrical therapy has proven to relieve nerve pain, in fact the use of TENS in treating nerve pain effectively has been proven in hundreds of clinical reports. For those neuropathy sufferers who do not wish to partake in acupuncture TENS is a safe noninvasive treatment that can send low frequency stimulation to the nerves helping increase blood flow as well as help activate opioid receptors in the central nervous system.
Due to the sensitivity often felt in the foot area, neuropathy sufferers find it difficult to walk without excruciating pain. Even surfaces such as carpet and grass create an intense level of pain that men and women suffering with nerve pain symptoms like tingling, numbness and muscle weakness would rather spend their days in a chair than walking about enduring foot pain. Though walking and putting pressure on the feet may cause pain, it helps provide circulation, range of motion and muscle strength. If someone suffering with neuropathy chooses to reduce the amount of movement his or her joints receive, they run the risk of developing stiff muscles, loss of movement and further nerve damage from the lack of blood flow.
In order to prevent a loss of mobility, neuropathy treatments such as physical therapy, massage therapy and occupational therapy can be had to help lessen nerve pain as well as improve mobility.
There are several goals or objectives to participating in physical therapy after being diagnosed with neuropathy.
- Maintaining a full range of motion
- Strengthening muscles that may have been weakened from the effect of neuropathy
Though a neuropathic patient may reach their goal of movement and pain tolerance when walking, it would be unwise to stop participating in physical therapy. Neuropathy patients should continue to adhere to their physical therapist maintenance instructions to avoid taking a step backwards in their therapy progress. For those neuropathic patients that suffer from diabetic neuropathy specifically should not solely rely on physical therapy as their form of neuropathy treatment, diabetic neuropathy sufferers must focus their time and energy on maintaining their blood sugar levels as their first and foremost form of neuropathy treatment.
Due to the devastation that neuropathy can have on an individual’s life and daily normality, it is often advised that the recently diagnosed neuropathy patient seek out occupational therapy. Occupational therapy is vital in helping newly diagnosed neuropathy patients learn coping mechanisms on how to live life with their new diagnosis. Occupational therapy can assist the patient by teaching valuable new life skills as well as limit the devastating impact that peripheral neuropathy can have on daily life by:
- Improving sensory motor skills
- Educates patients on how to avoid dangerous toxins and prevent exposing themselves to industrial or environmental hazards
- How to self-care
- Educates neuropathy patients on the importance of observation such as terrain changes, safely walking up and down stairs etc.
- How to safely sit, stand and walk that will not risk a drop in blood pressure or cause them to fall.
Massage therapy is looked at as a complimentary therapy that when used in combination with other treatments can be beneficial in reducing nerve pain. One complication of neuropathy is the development of still muscles due to poor circulation or from lack of use. Adding weekly massage therapy sessions, one can improve blood circulation as well as help loosen stiffened muscles thus providing relief to the damaged area. It appears as though research has shown through several studies that massage therapy has a way of calming the stressed nerve endings and relinquishing the pent up stress found in the nerve endings.
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