The essential goal of the different kinds of neuropathy treatments is to resolve the underlying condition because this may reduce symptoms dramatically. Exercise and diet modification is one approach. Painkilling drugs can be useful for controlling the pain until the true cause is established. Antidepressant and anti-seizure drugs can also be effective at reducing nerve pain. Aside from medication, there are a range of other neuropathy treatments including electrical stimulation therapy. Alternative and holistic treatments, such as dietary supplements and numbing creams, are also commonly used to reduce the symptoms associated with neuropathy.
In most cases, neuropathy treatments should primarily focus on the underlying cause of the condition. For some people, this could involve undertaking an exercise and strengthening program to reduce pressure on a certain nerve. If the condition is caused by diabetes, losing weight or giving up smoking could prevent any further nerve damage. Once the cause of neuropathy has been addressed, pain and other symptoms may subside naturally over time.
Until the true cause can be treated, neuropathy treatments usually combine painkillers with other medication to make the condition more manageable. Over-the-counter drugs such as paracetamol and ibuprofen are commonly prescribed if the symptoms are mild. Stronger painkillers, such as certain opiates, may be effective for more severe the symptoms. Pain killing drugs are usually only a short-term treatment option because the patient can become dependent on them over time.
Antidepressant drugs, which were originally designed to treat the symptoms of depression, have proven to be effective at reducing neuropathy pain. This is thought to be because the drugs change the way the brain perceives pain and can make it more manageable. There are, however, side effects to using antidepressants such as nausea and a change in appetite. Anti-seizure medication is also effective at treating those with neuropathy pain for similar reasons.
Aside from drugs which reduce pain, there are a number of alternative neuropathy treatments. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy, for example, is an treatment that involves sending low-intensity current through the skin. This has been shown to help some people with neuropathy pain, although it is seldom a long-term solution.
Nutritional supplements, including those containing vitamin B12, are often taken to try and control neuropathy pain. Creams which contain numbing ingredients are also sometimes useful. These neuropathy treatments are usually not proven to be effective at reducing pain, so it’s important for a patient to consult a doctor before using them.