Treatment of Neuropathic Pain
Treatment for neuropathy in legs and feet can be instrumental in improving a person’s quality of life. Learn more about treatment for neuropathic pain.
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Neuropathic pain is a type of chronic pain that results from damage to the nervous system. There are many types of neuropathies that can affect people, and they can range from mild to severe symptoms as well. The most common type is diabetic neuropathy, which is nerve damage that can occur in people with diabetes. This can lead to potentially dangerous side effects as well.
Types of Neuropathy
- Peripheral Neuropathy: Peripheral neuropathy is the most common type of neuropathy for those that experience chronic pain. It involves damage to the nerves that carry signals from your brain and spinal cord to the rest of your body.
- Autonomic Neuropathy: This type of neuropathy affects the nerves that control your heart rate, blood pressure, sweating, and digestive system.
- Focal Neuropathy: This type of neuropathy affects a single nerve or group of nerves. The most common type is optic neuropathy, which can cause vision loss.
What Are the Causes of Neuropathy in Legs and Feet?
There are many potential causes of neuropathy in the legs and feet, which are some of the most common areas to experience symptoms and pain. These causes will be detailed below.
Arthritis can cause chronic pain syndrome by damaging the cartilage that cushions the joints, resulting in pain, stiffness, and swelling.
Neuropathy in the feet and legs can occur from physical injuries, such as a car accident or surgery. It can also include chemical injuries, such as exposure to pesticides.
Alcohol and Toxins
Excessive alcohol consumption and exposure to certain toxins, such as lead, can damage nerves and eventually lead to neuropathy as well.
Infections and Autoimmune Disorders
Certain infections, such as shingles and hepatitis C, are causes of neuropathic pain. Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, can also damage nerves.
Certain medications, such as chemo drugs used to treat cancer, can damage nerves as well. Some of these include:
- Anticonvulsants, which people take to treat seizures
- Drugs to fight bacterial infections
- Some blood pressure medications
Common Symptoms That Can Require Treatment For Neuropathy In Legs and Feet
The most common symptom of neuropathy is pain. This can range from a mild ache to more severe pain. Other neuropathic pain symptoms can include:3
- Burning: You may feel a burning sensation if you have neuropathy in your feet.
- Sharp Pain: You may feel a sharp, shooting pain in your feet or legs as a result of neuropathy.
- Constriction: This is when you may feel as though your feet or legs are being squeezed.
- Tightness: This often feels like pressure in your feet or legs.
- Pins & Needles: These neuropathic pain symptoms are characterized by a tingling or prickling sensation in your feet or legs. Tingling often feels like pins and needles as well.
- Numbness: You may feel like you have lost feeling in your feet or legs.
- Restless Leg Syndrome: You may feel an irresistible urge to move your legs. This can make it hard to sleep.
- Walking and Balance Difficulties: You may have difficulty walking or keeping your balance.
How Is Neuropathy in the Legs and Feet Diagnosed?
If you have any of the above symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor. They will ask about your medical history and perform a physical exam. They may also order tests, such as:4
- Electromyography: This test measures the electrical activity of your muscles.
- Nerve Conduction Study: This test measures how fast electrical signals travel through your nerves.
- Blood Tests: These can check for diabetes, vitamin B12 deficiency, and other conditions that can cause neuropathy.
- Imaging Tests: These can check for problems with your spine or other structures that may be pressing on nerves.
What Are the Treatment Options for Peripheral Neuropathy?
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for neuropathic pain. The best neuropathy treatment for you will depend on the cause of your neuropathy and your symptoms. However, some common peripheral neuropathy treatments include:
There are many different types of pain medication for peripheral neuropathy that can help relieve neuropathy pain. These include over-the-counter drugs, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, and prescription drugs, such as gabapentin and pregabalin.
If over-the-counter drugs don’t help, your doctor may prescribe specific neuropathy in feet medication. These include:
- Antidepressants: These drugs can help relieve severe nerve pain. Commonly prescribed drugs include amitriptyline, duloxetine, and nortriptyline.
- Anti-Seizure Drugs: Commonly prescribed neuropathy medication include neuro pain tablet options like gabapentin and pregabalin.
- Narcotics: These drugs can help relieve severe pain. However, they can be addictive and have side effects, such as drowsiness and constipation.
- Topical Creams and Ointments: These can help relieve pain when applied to the skin. Commonly used topical treatments include lidocaine patches and Capsaicin cream.
In some cases, you may need medical treatment for neuropathic pain to manage the underlying cause of your painful neuropathy. This can include:
- Transcutaneous Electronic Nerve Stimulation (TENS): This neuropathy treatment sends electrical signals to the nerves to help relieve pain.
- Ergonomic Casts or Splints: These devices can help protect your feet and legs from injury if you require treatment for neuropathy in your feet
Natural Treatments for Neuropathy in Your Legs and Feet
In addition to medical treatment, there are a number of natural options that serve as treatment for neuropathic pain. These include:
- Vitamins and Supplements: There are a number of vitamins and supplements that can help treat neuropathy. These include vitamin B6, omega-3 fatty acids, and alpha-lipoic acid.
- Cayenne Pepper: Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, a compound that can help relieve pain.
- Quit Smoking: If you smoke, quitting can help improve neuropathy symptoms.
- Essential Oils: Some essential oils, such as lavender oil and chamomile oil, are believed to help relieve nerve pain.
- Exercise: Exercise can help improve blood flow and reduce inflammation.
- Meditation: Meditation can help you relax and cope with pain.
- Acupuncture: This treatment involves inserting thin needles into the skin. It is believed to help relieve pain by stimulating the nervous system.
How Can I Prevent Neuropathy in Legs and Feet?
With treatment, most people with neuropathy improve. However, some types of neuropathy can lead to permanent nerve damage. It’s important that you see your doctor if you have any symptoms of neuropathy so that neuropathic pain treatment can be started as soon as possible.
You can help prevent neuropathy in your feet by managing any underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes. Taking care of your feet and legs to avoid injury is some of the best treatment for neuropathy in your feet.
Get Help For Neuropathic Pain in Legs and Feet at J. Flowers Health
If you’re suffering from neuropathic pain, the team at J. Flowers Health Institute can help. We offer a variety of treatment options that are designed to focus on your individual needs. Contact us today to learn more about our neuropathic pain treatment options or to schedule an appointment.