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Neuropathy (cont.)

Are There Home Remedies for Neuropathy?

Special and careful care of the feet is important in people with neuropathy to reduce the chance of developing sores and infections. The nerves to the feet are the nerves most commonly affected by neuropathy. Proper foot care includes:

  • wash the feet with warm water each day and thoroughly dry feet after washing (especially between the toes);
  • never go barefoot or wear improperly-fitting, damaged, or too-tight footwear;
  • inspect the feet daily, looking for cuts, blisters, or other problems;
  • cut and file toenails when needed;
  • thick, seamless socks can help prevent irritation of the feet;
  • call your health care practitioner if you have any problems with your feet;
  • massaging the feet can improve circulation; and
  • smoking cessation can further improve blood circulation, since smoking damages circulation to the extremities and may worsen foot problems.

What Medications Are Used to Treat Neuropathy?

A number of medications have been useful in controlling the pain of peripheral neuropathy.

What Are Neuropathy Medications?

Typical pain medications sold over-the-counter such as acetaminophen (Tylenol and others) and ibuprofen (Motrin and others) are not generally effective for controlling the pain of neuropathy. These drugs may be effective for lessening pain or joint damage and deformities associated with neuropathy, but they should be used with caution because there is some concern that these drugs may worsen nerve injury.

Certain prescription medications have been shown to bring relief for those with neuropathy. In severe cases, a combination of medications may be necessary. Oral medications that have been successfully used to help the pain of neuropathy include:

Topical medications that may bring pain relief include capsaicin cream and lidocaine patches (Lidoderm, Lidopain). Alternative or complementary therapies like acupuncture, biofeedback, and physical therapy have been shown to be helpful in some cases.

The antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid (ALA, taken in one oral 600 mg dose daily) has been shown to be effective in treatment of diabetic neuropathy in several short-term trials; evidence for its effectiveness over the long term is not yet available.

For those whose pain is not controlled by medications, a procedure known as trans-cutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) may be an option. Although data are limited on the effectiveness of this method, a 2010 guideline issued by the American Academy of Neurology stated that TENS is probably effective for reducing pain from diabetic neuropathy.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/17/2016

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