Underlying Causes and Natural Therapies for Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic-Pain

While the symptoms of neuropathic pain (nerve pain) varies from person to person, it is often described as a burning or shooting pain. In neuropathic pain, nerve damage causes the nerves to be hypersensitive, leading to pain from normally painless sensations, such as a light breeze on the skin. Along with pain, it can also cause prickling, tingling, and numbness, as well as the loss of reflexes. 

Nerve pain is often chronic, severe, and unrelenting. Sometimes, it can come and go. People with chronic nerve pain often report having higher rates of depression, anxiety, and insomnia as well. 

Experts estimate that 40 million Americans live with nerve pain.

Underlying Causes for Nerve Pain

Countless nerves located throughout the body send sensations to the brain, including pain signals. When you have nerve pain, the messaging system is malfunctioning. It sends pain signals to the brain even when there’s no obvious cause of pain. 

Why does the messaging system malfunction like that? Neuropathic pain is caused by nerve damage. This damage can result from a physical injury that compresses, crushes, or severs the nerves, infection, or disease.

Commonly, nerve pain is caused by an underlying condition, such as:

  • Back problems that lead to sciatic nerve pain
  • Diabetes causes nerve damage in the legs and feet, arms, and hands
  • Cancer/tumors
  • Degenerative joint or disc disease in the spine
  • HIV
  • Shingles
  • Vitamin deficiencies caused by malnutrition
  • Toxins
  • Chemotherapy that damages the nerves
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Autoimmune disease

Natural Neuropathic Pain Remedies

Despite the prevalence of nerve pain, experts believe it is still widely underdiagnosed and undertreated. Often, nerve pain is treated with pharmaceutical drugs, which don’t always help. While there isn’t always a cure for neuropathic pain, there are many natural remedy options available to reduce symptoms. The right treatment option for you depends on your underlying cause and your health.

Medical Cannabis

Current scientific research evaluating medical cannabis for the treatment of nerve pain for patients with diverse etiologies of neuropathic pain supports the safety and efficacy of low-dose cannabis for the treatment of nerve pain. Studies show that cannabis can produce moderate analgesia in patients to reduce symptoms of some types of neuropathic pain. 

If you’re interested in trying medical cannabis, book an appointment with Heally, and we’ll connect you with a doctor in your state to start your application for a medical marijuana card.

Topical Treatments

topical-cbd

If nerve pain is isolated in one specific area of your body, topical treatments can help ease symptoms. These treatments can include over-the-counter lotions, creams, gels, or patches. 

A Healthy Diet

healthy-diet

A healthy diet is always recommended, but it can have particularly positive effects on nerve pain for certain underlying conditions. For example, high-fat diets can lead to diabetes and associated nerve pain, while restrictive diets can lead to vitamin deficiencies that can cause nerve pain. A healthy diet full of natural, whole foods can go a long way to improve symptoms of some types of neuropathic pain.

Regular Exercise

Exercise can help promote blood flow to the nerves while also releasing endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers. These benefits of exercise may help ease pain. 

Yoga and stretching are often recommended because they’re low-impact exercise choices that may improve your range of motion, lengthen muscles, and reduce pain. Further, strength training is often recommended for sciatic nerve pain. However, it’s important to discuss an exercise regimen with your doctor to ensure your physical activity does not cause further nerve damage.

Quit Smoking

quit-smoking

Any smoker will tell you that quitting is tough; however, it can improve symptoms of neuropathic pain, so it’s highly recommended. That’s because tobacco slows healing and reduces the blood supply to your nerves, which can make symptoms worse. 

Supplements

Curcumin

For centuries, people have been using oils, extracts, and herbs as natural pain remedies. Some have shown success in improving the symptoms of nerve pain.

Vitamin B12: A vitamin B12 deficiency may cause nerve pain. This vitamin helps support bone and nerve health by enabling the body to form red blood cells.

Amino acids: Certain amino acids, like acetyl L-carnitine, L-carnitine, and lipoic acid, may help support peripheral nerves, particularly in those who suffer from diabetic neuropathic pain.

Omega-3 fatty acids: Research indicates that patients who take fish oil supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids state overall improved pain symptoms. Omega-3s have also shown promise in improving nerve damage caused by chemotherapy.

Curcumin: The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin can offer relief from nerve pain due to its neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidative properties. 

Interested in more natural remedies for nerve pain? Book a telehealth appointment to talk to a functional medicine doctor online.

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