Welcome To Neuropathy Relief Guide – The #1 Source of Treatment Methods and Supplements for Nerve Pain Relief
Chronic nerve pain afflicts more than 80 million people in America today. Find out more about what causes this painful and debilitating condition, and how it is treated in this detailed guide.
Peripheral Neuropathy and Chronic Nerve Pain
Nerve pain is most often caused by a chronic medical condition, which is usually known as peripheral neuropathy.
There are multiple potential contributing factors behind the development of this condition, but it most often arises as a complication of diabetes, usually in combination with one or more common nutritional deficiencies.
This is true in so large a portion of reported cases, that the condition is often recognized as diabetic neuropathy, even by medical professionals.
In addition to pain, other symptoms of this condition may include increased skin sensitivity, muscle soreness, and individual muscle paralysis. Affected areas of the body may hurt sharply, or they may become numb, feel cold, itch, or burn.
Two particularly common symptoms are a recurring sensation of pins and needles, and “foot drop,” a condition in which one or both feet cannot be raised properly. Because of symptoms like these, PN can give rise to serious mobility issues.
What Causes Neuropathic Pain?
At its heart, neuropathic pain is caused by damage to the nervous system. Most commonly, this involves the peripheral nerves. If one were to draw a comparison between the nervous system and a tree, the peripheral nerves would be the tree’s limbs, off of which the smaller branches grow.
In this comparison, the spinal cord would be the trunk of the tree. Damaged peripheral nerves send false or incomplete signals to the spinal cord, and from there to the brain, resulting in the triggering of some of the body’s warning systems and other reactions.
Peripheral Neuropathy Treatments and Remedies
Diabetic neuropathy cannot be cured, but there are a variety of treatments used to try and control its symptoms, with some success in delaying the progression of the illness (or even in reversing some of the damage). These range from herbal remedies, to traditional western medicine, to the true cutting edge of medical science today.
TENS Therapy & Nerve Stimulation
TENS is short for “transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation,” and it requires the use of a specially designed device, which is a little bit smaller than an old-fashioned Walkman. Developed for treating otherwise stubborn nerve pain impulses, the TENS device features two electrodes, which are non-invasively connected to the skin. The device delivers a harmless, low-voltage current, localized to a problem area, which encourages healthy nerve activity through direct stimulation. It is highly effective for some types of neuropathy, but relatively ineffective for others.
Traditional Chinese Acupuncture
Acupuncture for pain control is as old as the art itself, but modern treatments specific to nerve pain do exist—and they vary widely. Most are quite intensive, with the claim being made that they help to stimulate nerve growth and encourage normal, healthy impulses. Studies on the veracity of acupuncture are ongoing. The practice is the focus of a great deal of criticism, and many of its claims are unproven, but there is evidence to suggest that its effects extend beyond the expected range of something that relies purely on the placebo effect.
The pain-numbing benefits of cold-based therapies have been recorded for thousands of years, most famously by the Greek physician Hippocrates. Cryotherapy is used to treat chronic pain as one part of a four-step plan called RICE: “Rest, ice, compression, and elevation.” Cryotherapy can reduce nervous system activity, and reduce swelling, while lowering skin temperature in a localized area. All of these factors are beneficial to an overall pain management strategy, but their effectiveness is purely short-term, requiring regular (and sometimes lengthy) re-application.
Healthy Exercise & Lifestyle Choices
With diabetes pinpointed as a major factor in the onset and advancement of peripheral neuropathy, it follows that making healthy diet and lifestyle choices will minimize the damaging effects of the condition. Research is ongoing into whether or not the underlying damage, and thereby the symptoms, can be reversed by such changes, but there is evidence suggesting that its progress can be halted.
The most well-advised practices, outside of nutritional supplementation, are those which are widely advocated for the management of diabetes. Sugar cravings can be controlled by reducing the sugar in one’s diet a little at a time. Many diabetic individuals occasionally enjoy a sweet dessert; this isn’t a self-destruct button, but avoiding complex carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice) is highly advised, as is replacing some of the “sweet” in a dessert with unsaturated fats instead.
Cravings can be further controlled by restricting sweet foods to meals with a variety of flavors, rather than making them stand-alone snacks. Other widely-supported advice includes eating more seafood and shellfish, more vegetables, and high-quality proteins: nuts, beans and legumes, cheese, and unsweetened yogurt are a few good examples.
Avoidance of Alcohol
Some forms of neuropathy are otherwise known as alcoholic neuropathy, due to the role that alcohol assumes in breaking down the nervous system. Independently, chronic alcoholism can cause lasting nerve damage and recurring pain, as well as organ damage. In its role as a factor in nerve damage, alcohol is usually exacerbated by poor diet, diabetes, and other major contributing factors. It takes considerable, long-term consumption for alcohol to become the primary agent in a neuropathic condition, but when taken in smaller, less regular amounts, the damage it inflicts is simply less severe—not mitigated.
The gradual reduction of alcoholic intake, culminating in complete avoidance, is highly advisable in an individual who is already suffering from symptoms of neuropathy. This is particularly true if the individual in question is also a diabetic. A maximum intake equivalent to 1-2 beers in a 3-day period is highly recommended.
A range of psychiatric drugs developed for other purposes have been shown to help with pain management in patients with chronic nerve pain. The drugs in question are typically those which regulate or otherwise affect dopamine production, and their effects are limited to nerve pain, as opposed to other sources of pain. Because this type of pain is so resistant to treatment, including over-the-counter medication, these drugs are receiving a lot of attention—but they aren’t without side effects of their own, particularly in the long-term.
A wide range of antidepressants are used to control pain in patients who are not experiencing symptoms of depression. As with their mood-affecting abilities, these medications may have some mild effect in the short-term, but experiencing the full effect requires several weeks, and the medication must be maintained for the effect to continue. Patients typically report moderate relief of nerve pain and other neuropathy symptoms, but the usual side-effects of antidepressants are a concern. These can include unpredictable mood swings, violent outbursts, sexual performance issues, and (in the long term) liver and kidney damage. The preceding list is a much-abbreviated version of the full, which varies considerably depending upon which drugs are taken.
Anti-seizure medications, or anticonvulsants, were originally developed to treat epilepsy. Because epilepsy involves out-of-control signals traveling through the nervous system, they have also proven to be moderately effective at treating nerve pain. The exact mechanism by which these drugs assist with nerve pain isn’t fully understood, but it appears to involve a reduction in the pain signals sent by damaged or hypersensitive nerves (making anti-seizure medication equally viable in treating pain associated with fibromyalgia). Anti-seizure drugs don’t involve psychological side-effects as commonly as antidepressants do, but long-term use can cause liver damage, as well as loss of coordination, drowsiness, lethargy, nausea, and headaches.
Supplements Designed To Treat Chronic Nerve Pain
There are several supplements available for purchase which were specifically developed to help treat nerve pain, often involving years of research and development. They rely on the results of dozens of clinical studies assuring the safety of their ingredients, even in the high dosages in which they are often represented.
Nerve Renew involves a unique, proprietary formula combining both traditional and modern nutritional science in an innovative approach to managing nerve pain. Its active ingredients include a range of B-Complex Vitamins, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, and Vitamin D. Each of these ingredients is made readily bioavailable, in forms that the body easily absorbs, and is present in dosages hundreds of times higher than their required daily minimum.
Nervestra is a liquid remedy used to treat neuropathy. Like most other such remedies, it presents ample scientific backing for the effectiveness of its ingredients. It focuses predominantly on two areas: first, the bioavailability of its active ingredients, thanks to a patented cold-extraction process. Second, while other supplements focus predominantly on the treatment of symptoms, Nervestra places heavy emphasis on the protection and restoration of damaged nerves.
Nerve Support Formula
Nerve Support Formula focuses on common nutritional deficits in neuropathy sufferers, and provides a supplementary dose of highly bioavailable vitamins and minerals to counteract these deficits. The choice of active ingredients is tailored specifically to appeal to individuals in need of nervous system support, whether due to dietary issues or other medical conditions.
Treating Peripheral Neuropathy
With Vitamins and Herbs
Some of the most commonly used vitamins and herbal ingredients in neuropathy treatment supplements are provided below. It is important to identify, not just the vitamin involved, but also what form of the nutrient is used. “Benfotiamine,” for example, is a fat-soluble version of Thiamine, which the body normally has trouble absorbing; this leads to frequent nutritional deficits.
Benfotiamine is a synthetic derivative of Vitamin B1, made more readily absorbable to the human digestive system. Its role is primarily as an antioxidant, reducing the free radicals that damage nerve ending sheaths over time, and it is widely available as a nutritional supplement. Naturally-occurring B1, Thiamine, is present in wheat, oats, legumes (including soybeans), a variety of nuts and seeds, and brewer’s yeast.
Methyl B12 is what is known as a “cofactor.” It functions a bit like a car’s ignition system; it doesn’t run the car directly, but is required to start the process. Methyl B12 activates the enzyme which is responsible for producing red blood cells. It also plays a key role in the production of myelin sheaths—the protective material that insulates nerve fibers. This vitamin is naturally found in animal products, including seafood, beef, pork, poultry, milk, and eggs; it is particularly abundant in organ meat.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
ALA is a popular antioxidant supplement, and is widely used to treat diabetes. At the cellular level, it assists with energy production. While a healthy body, lacking other nutritional deficits, produces its own Alpha-Lipoic Acid, there is considerable and growing interest in its supplementation, as there is some clinical evidence for additional amounts being helpful in the management of a variety of nervous disorders.
For centuries, the extract of the colorful passionflower plant has been used to help alleviate stress and anxiety. It provides a mild sedative effect, but without the drowsiness that frequently accompanies modern medicines; enthusiasts believe that it increases focus and mental clarity, while calming nervousness and reducing inflammatory conditions.
A traditional American Indian remedy for infectious diseases and chronic pain, American Skullcap is now cultivated worldwide, and is used as a popular herbal supplement. Like most of the herbs used in treating nerve pain, Skullcap is believed to have calming and anti-inflammatory properties, both of which help with neuropathy-related pain management.
Oat Straw Extract is procured from green oats, before they are roasted, and is widely available throughout the western world. Its popularity as a health supplement is rooted partly in its properties as an antioxidant, but is also based on a widely-reported calming effect. It may have a much more direct impact on pain management than the calming benefit provided by other herbal supplements, and is a popular ingredient in many neuropathy treatments.
A native of Asia Minor, the feverfew plant has been used as a nutritional supplement for hundreds, if not thousands of years, as a preventative measure for the treatment of migraine headaches. In modern times, Feverfew Extract is also taken to help treat irregular menstrual cycles, fevers, asthma, and a host of neurological disorders.
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