Peripheral Neuropathy is becoming a bigger problem for many Americans. Unfortunately most medications fail to alleviate the symptoms. Studies show a 30-50% improvement of symptoms at best for medications commonly prescribed such as gabapenten. Gabapenten is an anti-seizure medication that also treats nerve pain. Watch out because it lists impaired thinking and reaction time as side effects. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert. Seems like pretty serious side effects for minimal improvement. When you have unrelenting nerve pain any relief is welcome.
So what can you do for your self if you have peripheral neuropathy? Well for one thing you can watch your sugar intake. Diabetics have a much greater chance of developing neuropathy if their blood levels of A1C is lower then 7%. Healthy blood sugar levels can greatly reduce your chances of having this dreadfully painful disease. Another way to reduce your chances of having neuropathy is to restrict alcohol intake. Alcohol is converted sugar, and sugar can destroy the covering on the nerves. Sadly, chemotherapy tends to destroy the nerves allowing cancer patients to be at added risk of developing neuropathy. You can afford to limit sugar and alcohol intake but you cannot limit chemotherapy.
The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are such that you know when you have it. Numbness and tingling are relatively minor signs. Unrelenting pain in the feet and legs are the most common symptoms associated with neuropathy. You will know when you have it. There are some natural remedies for neuropathy that you should be aware especially because they have virtually no side effects. Capsaicin, made from super hot chili peppers,is most often a topical cream applied to the painful areas. It is thought to reduce chronic neuropathic pain by making nerves insensitive to pain messages. This is surely worth a try. A study done at Wayne State University School of Medicine showed that Acetyl-l-Carnitine improves pain, nerve regeneration, and vibratory perception in patients with chronic diabetic neuropathy. The study found that 1000mg daily was most effective. L- carnitane has no side effects and is water soluble. Dana Farber Cancer Institute recommends a dose of 100mg B6, and Vitamin B12 at 1000 mcg may to help with symptoms of neuropathy. These are all potentially helpful ways to deal with peripheral neuropathy.
We at First Chiropractor have found that applying low level laser therapy to the affected areas of pain can also help greatly reduce the symptoms of neuropathy. The mechanism is one where the laser stimulates production of ATP at the mitochondrial level. Increased ATP allows for greater energy which in turn helps with regeneration of the myelin sheath. The demyelinization is believed to be the core issue causing neuropathy. The presence of chemotaxic agents and high levels of glucose cause demyelinization of peripheral nerves. We feel we may be able to help especially when medication fails to produce tangible results.