Treatment for Peripheral Neuropathy

Treatment for peripheral neuropathy involves treating the underlying cause of the neuropathy. Once the underlying cause is treated, there is improvement. For example, diabetics should learn to control their blood sugar levels. This should automatically lead to an improvement in their condition.

Treatment can also include surgery to prevent further injury to a nerve. Dietary changes can help overcome vitamin deficiencies.
Sever cases of peripheral neuropathy require medication for pain relief. There are many different types of medications that can be used. These include:

  • Painkillers: Mild symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may respond to pain medicines like aspirin. In cases of severe pain, the doctor may prescribe stronger painkillers. Opiates like codeine are usually prescribed as a last resort due to their addictive nature and side effects.
  • Anti-epileptics: Drugs such as topiramate, pregabalin, gabapentin, phenytoin and carbamazepine that are used to treat epilepsy can provide relief from the pain of peripheral neuropathy. Side effects of these medications include drowsiness and dizziness.
  • Capsaicin: This is the naturally occurring compound in hot peppers. Creams containing this compound help to relieve the pain. Because it creates a hot sensation on the skin, it may take a while before you get used to it and experience pain relief. This cream may be used simultaneously with other treatments.
  • Lidocaine Patch: Lidocaine is a local anesthetic. It is available as a patch which should be applied to the area where the pain is most severe. Some people may experience a rash at the site of the patch.
  • Antidepressants: Tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline have been found to be effective in relieving the pain of peripheral neuropathy. This happens because the drugs interfere with chemical processes that cause a person to feel pain. Duloxetine, a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor has been found to be effective in cases of peripheral neuropathy caused by diabetes. Side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, nausea and constipation.

A therapy known as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation may be used to treat peripheral neuropathy. Several sessions are required for any benefits to accrue. It involves the placement of electrodes over different points on the surface of the body. A gentle current is passed through the electrodes at different frequencies. It has been found to be a safe and effective therapy for diabetic peripheral neuropathy. A study found significant improvement in pain and overall symptoms, but the symptoms return after cessation of the treatment. *

Frequently asked questions
  2. * Pieber K, Herceg M, Paternostro-Sluga T (April 2010). "Electrotherapy for the treatment of painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy: a review". J Rehabil Med 42 (4): 289–95
  3. ** Acupuncture for the treatment of chronic painful peripheral diabetic neuropathy: a long-term study B.B Abuaisha, J.B Costanzi, A.J.M Boulton