Neuropathic pain is a chronic state of persistent pain symptoms where the nerve fibers may be dysfunctional, damaged or injured. The damaged nerve fibers send incorrect signals to the other pain centers.
Ways to reduce Neuropathy Pain
The condition can be diagnosed with blood test, electromyography or through nerve study to analyze the pain signals sent. There are three kinds of peripheral nerves namely sensory nerves that connect to skin, motor nerves that connect the muscles and autonomic nerves that connect to internal organs. Peripheral neuropathy affects one of these groups of nerves or all the three.
- Peripheral neuropathy can be treated by discontinuing certain medication.
- Treatment for neuropathy involves diagnosing the underlying disorder which is the cause.
- If diabetes is the reason, blood sugar levels should be on check. Cutting down on intake of alcohol, quitting smoking, having a healthy lifestyle, weight control and exercise will help.
- If vitamin deficiency is the cause, then vitamin B12 injections or tablets will help.
- Non – steroidal drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen can be helpful in controlling the pain but large doses should be avoided as it affects stomach and liver.
- Some of the narcotics, antiepileptic medicines or antidepressants might also help.
- Powerful anti-inflammatory medication like corticosteroids will help reduce the pain.
- Ergonomic casts or splints might be useful if neuropathy affects feet, legs, arms or hands. These casts provide the required support to the affect part of the body thereby relieving the pain.
- Transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation (TENS) works by placing electrodes on the skin and passing small amounts of electricity into the skin. This works by disrupting the signals that send pain signals to the brain.
- Plasmapheresis is another option wherein blood transfusion is administered to remove potentially irritating antibodies from the bloodstream. In case of a nerve block, anesthesia is given to the nerves directly.
- Some of the major medications involved in treating neuropathic pain are amitriptyline, duloxetine and pregabalin.
- Tramadol is a powerful painkiller that is related to morphine, can be used to relieve the neuropathy pain.
- Another option is to use Capsaicin cream which is the substance present in chili peppers. A small amount the capsaicin cream is applied onto the affected area and the idea is that the cream stops the nerves from sending pain signals to the brain. However, this could have side effects like burning sensation on the skin.
- Lidocaine plaster is stuck onto the affected area and the local anesthesia present in the plaster is absorbed into the skin.
- Acupuncture may also be useful in reducing the peripheral neuropathy pain where thin needles are inserted into various points on body.
For mild neuropathy pain, home remedies like taking warm water bath, taking Magnesium rich food or taking botanical oils like lavender oil can give relief from pain. Chiropractic massage can also help loosen the tight muscles and help with nerve connection and circulation. But if neuropathy pain is due to pressure on nerves due to tumors, surgery is an option to reduce the pain.