Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that affects a lot of people over 55 years old. It comes because of damage to the peripheral nerves (these are nerves outside of the central nervous system, e.g. the spinal cord and brain). It can cause weakness, numbness, and pain, usually in the hands and feet.
There are many different causes of peripheral neuropathy and it is important to know what the underlying cause is, as only some can be treated.
What causes peripheral neuropathy?
The most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes. It is estimated that more than half of people with diabetes develop some kind of neuropathy. Other causes of neuropathy include; alcoholism, autoimmune diseases, exposure to toxins, cancer treatment, and pressure on the nerve.
The reason it is important to know the underlying cause is because it is possible to reverse it in some cases. For example, damage due to alcoholism can be treated by the patient reducing their alcohol intake.
There are a variety of methods that you can take advantage of for neuropathy pain relief if you live in Northern NJ.
One treatment that people turn to for peripheral neuropathy is medication. There are 4 types of medication you may be prescribed for neuropathy relief. These are: pain relievers, anti-seizure medication, topical treatments, and antidepressants.
These medications can help to relieve pain; however, they tend to only deal with the symptoms and not the underlying causes of neuropathy.
The other downsides of medication are the side effects, which can include dry mouth, nausea, dizziness, and drowsiness.
The next treatment option that you can choose aside from medication is therapy. There are 4 main types of therapy that can be used to treat neuropathy, which are: transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), plasma exchange and intravenous immune globulin, physical therapy, and surgery.
Some of these therapies provide benefits that make them more of a preference than taking medication. Physical therapy can help increase your movement and muscle strength, and plasma exchange can help with certain autoimmune disorders and inflammatory conditions. Surgery is used if your neuropathy is caused by tumors or pressure on the nerves.
While alternative medicine hasn’t been studied in the same ways as traditional medication, research has shown that these methods hold promise for treatment of peripheral neuropathy.
These alternative treatments include acupuncture, alpha-lipoic acid, herbs, and amino acids. These methods are useful for certain types of neuropathy relief. For example, amino acids like acetyl-L-carnitine are good for people who have undergone chemotherapy.
When using alternative methods, consult a professional as alpha-lipoic acid and some herbs can interact with medication as well as raise your blood sugar levels.
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Peripheral Neuropathy, mayoclinic.org
Understanding Peripheral Neuropathy, webmd.com