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Nerve pain or peripheral neuropathy, as it is medically known, is characterized by pain, numbness and weakness that arise out of nerve damage. This pain is usually restricted to the feet and the hands.
What are the common causes?
Diabetes is the most common cause for this condition. However, other causes, such as injuries, infections and prolonged exposure to certain toxins can also trigger nerve pain.
How can you control nerve pain?
Nerve pain can be managed and taken care of at home taking into consideration the points that have been mentioned below:
- Topical Painkillers: Certain over the counter ointments and creams can help relieve nerve pain. These medications act as local anesthetics; that is they numb the area of the pain. Capsaicin, a derivative of chili peppers, is one of the major ingredients used in these medicines. Others use botanical oils as the major ingredients.
- Painkillers: There are painkillers available OTC which can curb nerve pain. However, painkillers such as ibuprofen, aspirin and acetaminophen do not really work well for severe pain of the nerves.
- Supplements: The lack of Vitamin B12 is considered to be a very important cause, and at times, a catalyst for nerve pain. In a case such as this, Vitamin B12 supplements or injections might be administered. Although more research needs to go into this, but certain supplements, especially gamma-linolenic and alpha-lipoic acid can help soothe nerve pain caused by diabetes.
- Acupuncture: This time honored Chinese approach is a proven alleviator of nerve pain. Acupuncture releases chemicals which numb the pain, or prevent the pain signals from travelling to the brain.
- Physical Therapy and Massages: Physical Therapy can especially heal and strengthen weak muscles that can stem from acute nerve damage and pain. Though more evidence is needed, according to a few sufferers of this condition, massages can be helpful with the tremendously painful muscle spasms that can so often result from nerve pain.
- Relaxation Techniques: In combination with the above mentioned approaches, relaxation techniques can go a long way in relieving debilitating neural pain. Besides being helpful with dealing and reducing a few stress phases of life which can cause nerve pain, these techniques might actually root out the actual pain itself.
- Lifestyle Modifications: This one’s always a winner! Eating a well-balanced diet that guarantees all nutrients in uniform amounts can never go wrong. Regular exercises for about 30-45 minutes can remedy different types of pain; nerve pain being one of them. Try and limit alcohol intake (a peg once a week won’t harm one, but binge drinking can play the ultimate spoilsport and make all health plans go topsy-turvy!). Abstain from smoking or chewing tobacco as this is usually the primary contributor towards any medical condition or disorder.
- Interventional pain therapy: It is newer mode of pain therapy for many neuropathic pain conditions, where regular pain therapies don't work. It is done in operation theater under fleuroscopy guidance as per MRI or other investigation report with clinical examination.
If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult the doctor and ask a free question.