What Is The Best Treatment For Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy indicates a condition in which the peripheral nerves are damaged. Peripheral nerves are the ones that are far away from the brain and spinal column.

This condition may lead to numbness, weakness, and pain. Usually, the extremities are affected; however, other parts of the body may get implicated too. There are many causes of peripheral neuropathy. Some of them are diabetes, injuries, infection, etc.(1)

What Is The Best Treatment For Peripheral Neuropathy?

The main aim of the treatment is to manage the cause of your neuropathy and to relieve the symptoms. If the tests performed do not indicate any other reason for your peripheral neuropathy, then watchful waiting might be the only thing needed to see if the condition is improving. Other treatment options include-

Medications-

Medications are used to treat the cause of peripheral neuropathy. Also, the conditions related to peripheral neuropathy are treated with medicines. Some medicines are used to alleviate or relieve the conditions of peripheral neuropathy. These may include-

Pain Killers-

  • OTC medications can help in relieving pain associated with peripheral neuropathy.
  • These may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Also, opioid medications like tramadol, oxycodone, etc. are used but, only when other treatment options fail because these drugs are addictive and can cause dependence. (2)

Anti-Seizure Medications-

  • Anti-seizure medications like gabapentin and pregabalin which are used to treat epilepsy can help in relieving pain associated with peripheral neuropathy
  • However, these medicines may cause side effects like dizziness, drowsiness, etc.(2)

Tropical Treatment-

  • Some topical creams like capsaicin cream, which contains a component from hot peppers can help in improving symptoms of peripheral neuropathy modestly.
  • There may be a sensation of burning at eh site of application of this cream, however, this may decrease over time. All the same, it can be intolerable for many people.
  • Lidocaine patches that are applied to the skin may also help in relieving pain
  • Lidocaine patches may have side effects like numbness at the site of application, drowsiness, dizziness, etc.(2)

Antidepressants-

  • Anti-depressants like tricyclic antidepressants may help in interfering with the processes in arebrain and spinal cord that make you feel pain. Thus, they help in relieving the pain caused due to peripheral neuropathy.
  • Examples include amitriptyline, doxepin, nortriptyline, etc.

However, these medicines may cause side effects like drowsiness, dizziness, constipation, loss of appetite, etc.(2)

Other Treatment Methods-

Many other methods help in relieving signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. these may include-

TENS Or Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation-

  • In this method, electrodes are placed on the skin and mild electric current is delivered at varying frequencies.
  • This method is followed for up to a month for half an hour every day.

Intravenous Immune Globulin And Plasma Exchange-

  • These methods help in suppressing the activity of your immune system.
  • These can be helpful in people with some inflammatory condition
  • Plasma exchange comprises of removal of blood from your body. This blood is then ripped off its antibodies and proteins and remaining blood is returned to the body.
  • Immune globulin therapy constitutes introducing high levels of proteins in the body. these proteins work as antibodies and are called immunoglobulins

Physiotherapy-

  • Symptoms like muscle weakness can be improved with the help of physical therapy.
  • A cane, walker, wheelchair, hand or foot braces may be required in some cases

Surgery-

If the cause for neuropathy is pressure on the nerves, like pressure due to tumors, you may need surgery to remove the tumor or any other cause(2)

Conclusion

The focus of treatment for peripheral neuropathy is to treat the cause for peripheral neuropathy and to manage symptoms of this condition. There are many ways in which this can be managed- medications, therapies like plasma exchange, immune globulin therapy, TENS, physiotherapy, surgery, etc. depending upon the reason and also according to the severity of the condition.

References:  

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