What is Peripheral Neuropathy? Peripheral neuropathy is when you have experienced nerve damage, most commonly in the hands and feet, though it can be experienced in other parts of the body. These peripheral nerves are responsible for passing along sensory information through the nervous system to the brain for processing, and those with neuropathy may have just one nerve affected (as in with carpal tunnel), multiple nerves in separate areas of the body, or many nerves. This last one, called polyneuropathy, is the most common.
Neuropathy can present several types of pain, like a sharp throbbing or burning sensation, or being extremely sensitive to any pressure or touch. Perhaps most commonly though, it is reported as a tingling type of numbness, like pins and needles.
Tips to Help Relieve Neuropathy
Are you tired of your life being dictated by your peripheral neuropathy? There are things you can start doing today to help relieve your peripheral neuropathy pain. There are several healthy habits that can lead to improved conditions and less pain.
1. Vitamins - certain vitamin deficiencies can worsen the nerve damage and exacerbate the condition. Vitamins B & D are two such vitamins that your doctor may recommend you supplement your diet with to help your neuropathy.
2. Hydrotherapy - the practice of showering with alternating hot & cold water (as warm as you can stand it, then as cold as you can stand it) helps to increase blood flow and circulation throughout the body. This can be done in cycles, several times per shower, and several times per day as desired, but you should always start with hot water and end with cold. Not feeling quite that brave? A warm bath can also help alleviate the numbness & pain that comes with neuropathy.
3. Regular exercise - increasing the blood flow throughout your body is one of many benefits available from exercise. It can also reduce your blood sugar, and since high blood sugar can be a contributing factor to nerve damage, exercise just may be one natural way to reduce the pain from your peripheral neuropathy.
4. Capsaicin supplements, or cayenne pepper - increasing your intake of capsaicin, the component in peppers that makes them spicy, may act as a source of all-natural pain relief. There are even topical creams that contain capsaicin on the market that may help reduce the effects of neuropathy.
5. Quitting smoking - did you know one of the effects of smoking is narrowed blood vessels? That means that less blood (and less oxygen) can travel through the vessels. Less circulation can mean more pain and numbness. Quit smoking and help your cells get the oxygen they need to keep you healthy!
6. Essential oils - another thing you can start doing today to help relieve your peripheral neuropathy is using certain essential oils that are known to help increase circulation. Roman lavender, rosemary, chamomile, lemongrass and clary sage may be helpful for this. You don’t want to use undiluted essential oils, though. If you plan to use them topically, you can add as many as 30 drops of the essential oil into about 3 tablespoons of another oil, such as coconut or olive, and massage it into the affected areas. (Note: It’s always smart to test a small patch of skin first to make sure you won’t have an adverse reaction.)
There isn’t one single cause for peripheral neuropathy, but it can come about as a result of many other conditions, such as diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and various infections.
Worried about what your condition might mean for your health long-term? There are treatments available that can help reverse the damage done. Contact our clinic today to set up your complimentary consultation and discuss your exact situation and your options.