Neuropathy is a collection of symptoms that emerge whenever there is nerve damage. One of the most common forms of this condition is peripheral neuropathy. Some of its symptoms include tingling or prickling sensation, searing pain, numbness, and muscle weakness in the outer extremities.
About 20 million Americans suffer from peripheral neuropathy and this number continues to grow. Facts about neuropathy from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes (NINDS) indicate that dealing with the condition requires treating the underlying cause. Unfortunately, the number of diseases and injuries that causes neuropathy are vast, making it difficult for doctors to find a sure-fire cure.
Because of this, experts are considering alternative neuropathy treatments to combat the symptoms. This includes transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, massage, and even a special diet and exercise.
Experts have been developing alternative treatments for peripheral neuropathy. Some of them support the use of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) because it is seen to be beneficial in alleviating nerve pain without the use of any sort of drugs. TENS involves applying an electrical current to parts of the body to reduce pain and other forms of discomfort caused by nerve damage.
Specialists who perform TENS use wires from electrodes and adjust the frequencies of the pulsing current, depending on the patient’s condition. The current is then received by the brain, causing an inhibition of the nociceptive stimuli.
Over the years, chiropractic treatment has been developed to help diabetics suffering from peripheral neuropathy. The process is typically used to treat people with backaches, migraines, and emotional distress.
Now, it is now being considered for rehabilitating damaged nerves in the peripheral nervous system as it targets the root of the problem. In fact, some chiropractors believe that the treatment both aids in alleviating discomfort and pain caused by the condition and improving the patient’s overall health by bringing regulating and aligning all the body’s systems together. However, this claim lacks clinical studies to support it.
Massage therapy is popular in relieving stress and pain in general. Some techniques such as the deep tissue massage even promise relief from tight muscles and “muscle knots.” Because of this, people diagnosed with neuropathy have started to turn to this alternative treatment to ease the discomfort they experience. According to them, massage therapy provides relief from depression, anxiety, migraine, and arthritis as well as pain caused by sports injuries. Other techniques provide increased joint flexibility and have been known to reduce spasms and cramping episodes on the legs.
However, this treatment is not without risks as medical practitioners warn against performing intense, deep tissue massages to pregnant women, people with low platelet count or taking blood-thinning medications, patients who recently underwent surgery, and those with open or healing wounds and bruises.
Acupuncture is the main medicine system used in Eastern countries like China. Using tiny needles, this alternative method of treatment aids in balancing energy flow, known as “qi,” in the body. Chinese medical practitioners believe that doing this will help the body heal itself.
However, medical experts from the West see acupuncture as a method to improve circulation of blood and stimulate the muscles and nerves’ response to pain. Because of this, doctors are combining this alternative form of treatment for neuropathy with conventional methods since it is proven to relieve chronic pain caused by nerve damage. In fact, a study conducted in 2007 supports this claim.
Diet and Exercise
Like other medical conditions, neuropathy can also be treated through proper diet and exercise. According to experts, patients who suffer from chronic nerve pain are advised to do activities that stimulate blood flow to the extremities like biking and jogging.
Similarly, a special kind of diet is required for people with this condition. Since some cases of neuropathy are caused by vitamin deficiency, medical practitioners recommend supplementing necessary nutrients like Vitamin B1 and magnesium to help the body heal the damaged nerves.
Learn more about neuropathy at the website NervePainGuide.org.