There are many different treatments used to get relief from this problem. It is important as neuropathy (nerve damage) depresses the quality of life.
Below is a list of the various types of treatments with the Pros and Cons of each.
Pros: There are several drug treatments for neuropathy. There are medications such as Lyrica and Cymbalta that are given cover up or block the pain. Lyrica is an anti-seizure medication. It is used for neuropathy as it stops the nerves from talking to each other so you don’t feel the pain. Cymbalta is an anti-depressant which is used because it lowers a person’s awareness to the pain. It is claimed that it raises serotonin which they found is usually lower in neuropathy patients. One drug occasionally used is Prednisone and also Elavil.
Cons: You have to continue to take the drugs to get relief. There are side effects to any drug.
Prednisone depletes the body of vital nutrients and there is a problem withdrawing from it (see Prednisone )
Amitriptyline (Elavil) it lowers the awareness of the nerve damage but as with all medications, they have side effects that don’t enhance your health.
Cymbalta as an anti-depressant can very often be difficult to get off without side effects. For info on Cymbalta & Neuropathy
Long term these drugs can cause more damage due to side effects and deficiencies it can create. Some of these drugs even have listed a side effect of neuropathy.
For side effects of the different drugs go to www.drugs.com or www.rxlist.com
If you are taking any mediation that has a side effect of neuropathy, you should talk to your doctor to see if there is an alternative medication.
Pros: Medical marijuana is talked about a lot for different ailments. Up into the 1970s, a medical doctor‘s “okay to prescribe drugs license” listed marijuana. This went out of favor but is now back. Benefits are decreased awareness of pain, relief of pain. As in any drug prescribed for neuropathy, marijuana covers up the symptoms of neuropathy.
Cons: This is a drug and like all drugs has side-effects. There is increased tolerance to the effects of marijuana, meaning that more marijuana is needed to get the same effect.
A big problem with marijuana is that it strips the body of Glutathione , the body’s master anti-oxidant that is found in every cell of the body. Thus, marijuana creates nutritional deficiencies. This is the reason for the 60s image of a “druggie” who looks emancipated and out of touch with reality.
Recent studies said that 17% of uses found it was addictive and hard to stop without side effects. Side effects included Anxiety/nervousness; Reduced appetite; Irritability/restlessness; Sleep difficulties including strange dreams. Studies said that users are 4X as likely to develop depression and manic-depression (bipolar) symptoms.
Some of the problems with evaluating this drug are the inconsistent dosing and quality-control issues.
Pros: This is a vitamin supplement created by a drug company which gives the body B vitamins which are necessary for building healthy nerves. Metanx is a medical food (Medical Foods are intended to manage a specific disease or condition for which medical evaluation, based on recognized scientific principles, has established distinctive nutritional requirements. This is true of most supplements that build healthy nerves and have B vitamins for that purpose).
Metanx Ingredients Include the B vitamins: B12, B6, and Folic Acid only.
It is covered by insurance.
Cons: It is missing vital B vitamins needed to build healthy nerves – B1 & B2 and Vitamin D. (It only includes B12, B6 and Folic acid)
B1 is used in the development of myelin sheaths: Myelin sheaths are the protective covering of the nerves whose break down is the problem. Deficiency of vitamin B1 results in weakening of the sheaths. Adequate intake of vitamin B1 ensures the development of myelin sheaths and aids nerve functioning. It is also required for regulating the transmission of particular types of nerve signals along the brain and the spinal cord.
B2 The body utilizes vitamin B2 to keep tissue healthy and to help accelerate healing of injuries. B2 protects the nervous system.
Vitamin D : One of the functions of Vitamin D is the regulation of nervous system development and function.
For more information about B vitamins necessary for healthy nerves
Neurobion® is used for the deficiency in any of the following B vitamins: Vitamin B 1, Vitamin B 6 and Vitamin B 12 Originally it was a prescription vitamin supplement but is now sold as a pharmacy OTC. Neurobion is a water soluble vitamin drug that focuses on providing B vitamins.
Pros: Claim is that in getting an adequate amount of these vitamins will help to prevent tingling, nerve pain and numbness.
Cons: Not all the necessary vitamins for nerve health . Water soluble can lead to the vitamins being flushed out before the body can utilize them.
Possible side effects per drugs.com: mild diarrhea; nausea; stomach upset. Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); feeling of swelling of the entire body; numbness or tingling of the skin.
Per Drugs.com, 11 drugs have been known to interact with Neurobion. It is uncertain what is also in the supplement that would cause interactions. But per Drugs.com Medication that interacts with Neurobion
Pros: Combines a footbath with an electrical current. Claims to open up nerve channels and stimulate circulation to the affected area. It claims to stimulate the nearby calf muscles to contract and relax, enhancing the local blood flow to bring fresh nutrients to the nerves and help remove accumulated toxins. No information on how it would address neuropathy in other areas of the body.
Cons : Cost. Inconclusive if this works for everyone or why electric current will “rebuild” nerves except for increasing circulation. There are many anti-oxidants which will also increase circulation. It also states it sends electric current up the foot through the sciatic nerve and down again so appears that it addresses foot neuropathy only.
Tens Pain Relief: Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
Pros: It is a therapy that uses low-voltage electrical current for pain relief. The electrodes are placed on the area of pain or at a pressure point. This creates a circuit of electrical impulses that travels along nerve fibers. Relief may be because the electricity from the electrodes stimulates the nerves and sends signals to the brain that block or “scramble” normal pain signals. Another theory is that the electrical stimulation of the nerves may help the body to produce natural painkillers called endorphins, which may block the perception of pain. See TENS
Cons: Experts generally consider TENS to be safe, although the machine could cause harm if misused. Have your physical therapist or doctor show you the proper way to use the machine, and follow these instructions carefully.
You need to use it often. It is for temporary relief.
Pros: The ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture has been known to help with the symptoms of neuropathy. There is apparently an ability to improve circulation with this method that would give similar relief. There is also acupressure which works on the same principles as acupuncture. For more information go to Acupuncture
Cons: Acupuncture sometimes does not help with neuropathy. You also have to continue to get treatments.
Alpha lipoic acid
Pros: This is as an anti-oxidant which will help protect the nerves so no further damage is done to the body. It can help with the symptoms. In order to help it needs to be taken with Aceytl l-carnitine. There is evidence that they work together well in helping the body use nutrients to nourish the nerves, but the vital B vitamins need to be taken with it.
Cons : None.
Read more about Alpha Lipoic Acid
Pros: They will cover up the symptoms of neuropathy similar to drugs and can make you temporarily feel better; you must continue to take them. The body doesn’t use herbs for nerve health.
Cons: There are problems with herbs. They can interact with any other medications that you are taking. They can have side effects. Herbs are similar to drugs in so far as (in therapeutic dosages as found in the herbs that you can buy) they make the body do what it wouldn’t normally do. While you can use herbs in your salad and in tea without problems, when you take herbs in a supplement, they are extracts which are far stronger dosages. Herbs should be taken separately as if there is a problem, you can isolate what herb is causing the problem. The combination of herbs found in some supplements prohibits you from doing that.
Remember, herbs are not vitamins. They are natural substances, but they aren’t the vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids & amino acids that the body needs to function, create energy and to repair it.
Herbs can make your neuropathy feel better, but aren’t used by the body to build nerve health. Thus, you need to keep taking them to continue the relief. There are some herbs which shouldn’t be taken more than a few months like Feverfew or Ashwagandha.
When taking any herbs, check with your pharmacist. Pharmacies have databases where they can check for interactions and side effects.
There are many things that will fight inflammation and these are used for nerve pain. These can be ginger, turmeric, skullcap, lubella, black cohosh, arnica, topical creams.
Pros : Helps the pain without drug side effects.
Cons : Doesn’t address the cause. The body has unhealthy nerves which cause inflammation. The health of the nerve needs to be addressed.
Pros: Infrared light to increase circulation and stimulate production of nitric acid. It is supposed to relax the arteries and eliminate free radicals. Pads are put over the injured areas. Pain is supposed to be relieved with increased circulation and more nitric oxide in the blood. It can treat common injuries.
Cons : Can relieve some symptoms but needs to be continued for relief.
Pros : Homeopathy can give temporary neuropathic pain relief without side effects or interactions that you get with drugs. What is homeopathy? . There are also reports that using a trained homeopath can result in the eliminating of the damage.
Cons : Without professional homeopathy help, you can relieve the symptoms but won’t address the problem.
Pros: There are many different creams available that will bring relief from neuropathy pain. They can be applied as needed. Capsaicin is a common ingredient as are many different combinations.
It is used to relieve pain for arthritis, muscle pain, joint pain, as well as nerve pain. It can address the inflammation.
Cons : They relieve but you must continue to use it for relief. It doesn’t work for everyone.
We do recommend ther RHP Pain Relief Cream for this type of relief.
Cold Laser Treatment or Low Level Laser Therapy:
Pros : It will give relief from pain. It is non-thermal and won’t burn the surrounding area. It is trying to increase cellular activity. The laser delivers electric pulses to the target area which delivers a jolt that matches the pulse at which the body perceives pain. It claims to create a reduction in pain by causing the production of natural pain killer endorphins.
Cons : Again doesn’t address the actual cause of the pain, so is relief only.
Various blends of B vitamins and other supplements:
Addressing different “nerve support” vitamins that are brought out from time to time including those supposedly formulated by a medical doctor. There are lots of different ideas about relieving the symptoms of neuropathy. There are many formulations. A lot of them are putting different vitamins together and even do include B1 in the form of benfotiamine and B12 as methyl B12. They even will give mega doses to try and help the nerves. Some have only small amounts of B1 & B12 which are the most important B vitamins for nerve health.
B1 & B12 are important for nerve health. Check that the amount in the formula is not low. One formula even had B12 listed as 1 mg. Not sure what they think that would do for your nerves. The body would need a lot more to be able to build healthy nerves.
The body needs specific B vitamins working together to build nerves. For instance, folic acid is needed to activate the B12. B6, B9 (folic acid) and B2 are needed for B1 to be absorbed. Some of these blends include both B vitamins and alpha lipoic acid when one needs to be taken with food and the other on an empty stomach. It is valuable to understand why each ingredient was put in the formula and whether it will help or just cover up symptoms, whether it is missing ingredients or whether the ingredients are good to take together.
Here is an article on what creates healthy nerves
Truewell Nerve Support
Pros: has B vitamins which are needed for nerve health and even the special kind of B1 & B12.
Cons : However vitamins work together and this formula has no D3, and no Folic acid both of which are needed. See Nerve Health . You need Aceytl L Carnitine if you take alpha Lipoic Acid. This formula has only Alpha Lipoic Acid Combination needed
B Vitamins – Liquid Delivery
Some brands will tell you that their formula is better because they are in liquid form.
Liquid is NOT better. Liquid is variable. When you measure it out its variable and you don’t get the exact formula each time you take it. You need a steady amount in the body.
Tablet or capsule is very specific and is a superior delivery for building nerves.
If the problem is taking a pill, get capsules which can be emptied into food or drink.
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