Peripheral neuropathy is a health condition that causes numbness and pain in the hands and feet. Peripheral nerves usually send messages to the spinal cord and the brain.
When these nerves are damaged, the signalling can be affected – hence resulting in pain and unusual sensations.
Individuals with peripheral neuropathy may experience hot-cold sensations, shooting pains, and painful tingling in the affected areas.
There are a number of things that can lead to damage to peripheral nerves. Some of them include the following:
• Traumatic injury
• Diabetes mellitus
Peripheral neuropathy effects can develop spontaneously or gradually over a long period. There are several treatment options – depending on the cause of the disease.
Some peripheral neuropathy cases are caused by vitamin deficiencies. For example, vitamin B is crucial for the health of nerves. If there is a deficiency of this particular vitamin, then there is likely to be significant nerve damage.
Although it is possible to get vitamin B from your daily meals, a doctor may suggest that you also take supplements. But you should adhere to the recommended dose to avoid toxicity.
Vitamin D is also essential in preventing nerve pain. Your skin normally produces vitamin D in reaction to sunlight. A deficiency of this vitamin can lead to neuropathy pain.
2. Dietary changes
Diabetes is one of the major causes of peripheral neuropathy. Dietary changes that decrease an individual’s sugar levels can improve the symptoms of neuropathy or sometimes prevent it.
A diet low in simple carbohydrates and high in fiber can protect the body from blood sugar spikes. Avoiding foods such as sweets, white bread, and processed snacks can also help ease the effects.
There are other dietary changes that can help people with peripheral neuropathy – irrespective of whether they have diabetes or not. This includes:
• Eating foods that are rich in anti-oxidants
• Reducing or avoiding alcoholic drinks
• Avoiding saturated and trans fats
• Eating foods rich in fiber
3. Cayenne pepper
Cayenne pepper has capsaicin – an ingredient that makes hot peppers spicy. That’s one of the reasons why capsaicin is often used as a pain reliever in topical creams. The ingredient works by reducing the intensity of pain signals sent by different nerves to the body.
Taking capsaicin supplements or including cayenne pepper in your diet can significantly reduce neuropathy pain.
Additionally, topical capsaicin ointments can also be applied to affected areas to help ease the pain. You should however discuss this treatment method with your doctor before using it.
4. Alternative medicine
There are other ways to treat peripheral neuropathy. Alternative medicines such as chiropractic techniques and acupuncture have proved to be helpful to some people.
There is however little evidence concerning the effectiveness of these treatment methods. Researchers and medical experts are still trying to determine if such options are viable or not.
Those who use alternative medicine to treat neuropathy say that it works best when it is used in conjunction with other traditional medicine as well as exercise.
5. Warm bath
Taking a warm bath can help in alleviating neuropathy pain. Other than soothing the body, warm water usually increases the circulation of blood in the body – hence reducing pain symptoms caused by numbness.
Meditation has also been proven to treat certain neuropathy symptoms. This is because it helps in reducing stress, decreases the intensity of pain, and improves the coping skills of an individual. In other words, meditation helps to reset your body to its perfect condition.
7. Quit smoking
Smoking generally affects the circulation of blood in your body. When the blood is not flowing properly, you are likely to experience pain and numbness.