Is Peripheral Neuropathy A Progressive Disease & What Are Alternative Treatments For It?

The peripheral nervous system comprises of the nervous system which is present outside the brain and spinal cord, which form the central nervous system. The peripheral nervous system is composed of three types of nerves: motor nerves, sensory nerves, and autonomic nerves.These peripheral nerves transmit the neuronal signals from the central nervous system to other organs. Peripheral neuropathy is a disorder that arises due to dysfunction or damage or destruction of peripheral nerves. Peripheral neuropathy may arise due to genetic abnormalities, damage or destruction of peripheral nerves, disease conditions like Diabetes Mellitus type 1 and type 2 or systemic illness due to bacterial and viral infections. Peripheral neuropathy can impact either a single peripheral nerve or the whole peripheral nervous system. The prominent symptoms observed in case of peripheral neuropathy include sharp pain; extremities display tingling sensations, a sensation of profound heaviness of extremities, digestive problems including constipation or diarrhea, cuts or ulcers that take longer than normal to heal, sexual functional issues, a drastic decline in blood pressure and profuse sweating.

Is Peripheral Neuropathy A Progressive Disease?

Peripheral neuropathy is a progressive disease as it takes considerable time to manifest and is usually after primary diseases get complicated. When the primary diseases aren’t treated or can’t be treated, they result in peripheral neuropathy. Sometimes, it can have a direct cause like injury or damage to peripheral nerves, leading to their dysfunction. In a few cases, there is no underlying cause of peripheral neuropathy. Thus, it develops as a consequence and complication to diseases and develops over a period of time, making it a progressive disorder. It develops gradually and manifests the damage in the form of clinical signs over a period of time. Its progression is governed by a variety of factors like direct or indirect damage, the severity of clinical signs, the status of the body and the time when treatment is initiated. (1)

Alternative Treatments For Progressive Neuropathy

Alternative treatment for peripheral neuropathy is the one that does not involve chemical medications to be administered to the patient. Noninclusion of pharmaceutical chemicals is usually done in chronic cases or as means of palliative therapy. The various approaches for alternative treatment of peripheral neuropathy involve the following:

Acupuncture: It is the insertion of sterile needles in the living tissue. It has its main aim to relieve pain. It serves as an alternative means to relieve pain without the usage of painkillers. It is performed by a specialist called acupuncturist. It is done in several sessions and the effects are seen after some time. The effects aren’t rapid, but they aid in considerable relief of the symptoms of pain due to peripheral neuropathy.

Usage Of Amino Acids: In patients who develop peripheral neuropathy due to Diabetes mellitus type 1 and type 2 or due to chemotherapy in cancer patients, complex amino acids like acetyl-l-carnitine can be administered. It can show certain adverse effects too which may include vomiting reflux.

Usage Of Certain Herbs: The intake of herbs must be done only after prior discussion with your doctor, as some of the herbs can interfere with the biochemical pathway of the medications being taken. Evening primrose oil is an important alternative way to relieve pain caused due to peripheral neuropathy.

Alpha-lipoic acid administration: It can cause skin irritation and digestive malfunctioning, so it should be used with caution and after advisory from the concerned doctor.

Lifestyle Modifications: These include various measures that are useful in curbing the severity and occurrence of clinical signs. These include slight but regular exercise, consumption of nutritional diet, adequate intake of water, and elevation of bed when the patient is resting, joining support groups, talking to a therapist, yoga or stretching exercises, regular appointments with doctors and blood parameter monitoring and proper specialized feet care in case of Diabetes mellitus. (1)

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