Peripheral Neuropathy Causes and Natural Treatments
When my patients visit me in my clinic, some will say they have numbness, burning, and tingling in their feet or their hands. Some people complain about their shoes feeling too tight. It feels like their feet are choking, so they wear shoes that are two sizes too big to make room. Sometimes, they will catch their foot on something, and they’ll start bleeding and not even feel it. Those are classic signs of peripheral neuropathy. In this post, I explain peripheral neuropathy causes and natural treatments.
What are the Most Common Signs of Neuropathy?
The most common signs of peripheral neuropathy present in the hands and feet, but primarily in the feet. These are some of the common sensations you may feel:
- Burning sensation
- Pins and needles
- Inability to feel or pain with hot or cold
What is Neuropathy?
When you break down the word neuropathy, “neuro” means nerve, and “opathy” means dysfunction or disorder. It means “nerve dysfunction.” In other words, it means the nerve is not functioning as it should. Your brain and spinal cord together form your central nervous system. Branching off from your spinal cord, you have little filaments called nerves. These nerves send signals from your spinal cord to wherever your nerves go throughout your body. They could go to your hands, to your feet, or different organs. If those nerves aren’t sending the signals that they’re supposed to, that is neuropathy.
What Causes Neuropathy?
There are several different causes of neuropathy. To simplify, I am talking specifically about peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is affecting a lot of the population today, and there are three leading causes that I see most often.
- The first is diabetes. Diabetes is the primary cause of peripheral neuropathy. If you have diabetes, there is a problem with glucose metabolism or sugar metabolism in your body. When the sugar molecules aren’t metabolized correctly by your body, they spill over into the blood and take up space where oxygen should be carried. This causes nerve damage or neuropathy.
- The second leading cause of neuropathy is a compressed nerve. For example, a bulged disc, a herniated disc, or spinal stenosis in the neck or low back are examples of this.
- The third most common cause of peripheral neuropathy occurs after chemotherapy or after radiation. Whenever someone goes through those types of treatments, they kill the bad cancer cells, but they also damage some of the nerves too. Because of the nerve damage, these patient cases may not get as much improvement in symptoms with treatment.
Peripheral Neuropathy Therapy Treatments
The good news is that peripheral neuropathy is treatable. Your peripheral nerves have the ability to heal themselves. It may take several months, but but recovery can occur. One of the conventional medication treatment options is to take a pharmaceutical drug called Gabapentin. To avoid taking prescription medication, we offer alternative treatment therapies in the clinic and also suggest the below treatments for natural pain relief.
Depending on the cause, I typically do an exam to see how bad the neuropathy is. We have a scoring system that we use, and once we determine what’s causing it, we can determine the best treatment option, such as:
- Decompression therapy
- Laser therapy
- Nutritional supplementation
- Chiropractic adjustments
- Vibration therapy
- Home exercises or therapies.
So, there’s a lot of different things that go into diagnosing peripheral neuropathy, but it is very treatable.
7 Natural At-Home Treatments for Peripheral Neuropathy
In addition to the above peripheral neuropathy therapies, here are 7 more natural solutions to help alleviate your peripheral neuropathy pain.
- Vitamins B is a vital part of your nervous system, and deficiencies can be detrimental and lead to nerve damage. Follow a whole foods diet with foods that are high in Vitamin B, and you should be getting enough. If you require more after further evaluation by a medical professional, supplementation is another option.
- Vitamin D is essential for nerve health. If you lack Vitamin D, be sure you are getting enough sunlight to help trigger your skin to create this vital vitamin. It aids in reducing neuropathy pain.
- Black Seed Oil can be a useful supplement or topical ointment, especially if diabetes if the underlying cause of your peripheral neuropathy because it exhibits anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Vasodilator supplements that dilate your blood vessels to allow oxygen to reach your extremities. Examples include Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Alpha-lipoic Acid, L-Arginine, and Neo-40 Pro.
- Taking a warm bath can increase blood circulation in your body, resulting in reduced pain. Just be careful because your sensory nerves may not be working as well as they should. You don’t want to burn your feet if you’re not as sensitive to heat.
- Essential oils like lavender, chamomile, and frankincense have anti-inflammatory properties that help calm inflammation and reduce pain. Others that may help in reducing inflammation include St. John’s Wort, Ginger, and Holy Basil. You can read more about the top 3 natural pain relief essential oils here and how to create an essential oil topical rub.
- Exercise can help reduce blood sugar and inflammation in the body and slow down nerve damage.
How Can You Prevent Peripheral Neuropathy?
The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.
Thomas A. Edison
There are measures you can take as part of an overall healthy lifestyle to prevent peripheral neuropathy. And, prevention works so much more effectively than having to treat it once you have it. Even if it runs in your family, you can still focus on factors that you can control in your lifestyle as outlined in the below four tips.
- Avoid alcohol, or only consume in moderation.
- Avoid smoking or stop smoking.
- Eat a healthy diet, with unprocessed real foods.
- Engage in regular exercise.
- Keep your blood sugar in check (a healthy diet will help with this too).
- Include ginger, turmeric (curcumin), cayenne pepper, and garlic in your diet as much as possible to reduce inflammation in your body.