It’s late at night, and you should be asleep. Or it’s the middle of the day, and you should be focused on work. But in either case, you’re not. You’re distracted by aching limbs and hurting nerves — the onset of peripheral neuropathy. Let’s talk about a series of home remedies and strategies that may help you find some peripheral neuropathy pain relief.
Your nervous system controls just about every last one of your body’s important functions — depending on what part of your nervous system is actually under attack, the impacts and pain of peripheral neuropathy can be particularly unpleasant.
The good news is that, in many cases, peripheral neuropathy can be improved. In simplistic terms, the ability to heal depends on two main points. First, the severity. There is a threshold at which your peripheral nerve tissue goes from damaged to dead. Once dead, there is no chance of revival. And second, the cause. If your nerves continue to be assaulted by high blood sugar levels or alcohol, for example, they don’t have much of a fighting chance to recover.
Work alongside your doctor to develop a plan to eliminate the cause of your peripheral neuropathy if it is a medical condition. Encouragingly, in most instances there is a road to recovery.
Not only can the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy often be neutralized, but sometimes the damage that’s been done can be regenerated.
Plenty of at-home remedies can help encourage your nerves to heal faster, and others can even go a long way towards counteracting the irritating aches and pains that can come along with peripheral neuropathy.
What’s more is that many of these methodologies will help you keep your nerves in good shape, long after the initial damage has healed.
For the sake of simplicity, we’ll split these remedies up into two separate categories: lifestyle changes and dietary changes.
Lifestyle Changes to Mitigate Nerve Damage
First, we’ll dive into the general lifestyle changes that are going to help you work against the damaging effects of peripheral neuropathy from home. In some cases, these methods are designed to help you avoid making things worse. Others will encourage nerve healing by giving your body a bit more of what it needs to keep your nerve endings healthy.
In either case, the following lifestyle changes are home remedies for peripheral neuropathy that you can start today.
1. Injury-Proof Your Home & Workplace
Depending on what specific type of peripheral neuropathy you’re experiencing, you might be at an elevated risk for secondary injury due to your impaired nervous system. This can happen in a few different ways.
Motor and sensory symptoms of peripheral neuropathy often lead to reduced sensation in the feet. This can seriously compromise your sense of balance, and even impact your gait. When this happens, it’s a lot easier to trip and fall, especially in the presence of terrain that you’re normally accustomed to traversing without incident.
Furthermore, the loss of feeling in your feet can sometimes cause cuts and other small injuries to go unnoticed. While these little issues would not normally be a big deal at first, your compromised nervous system can lead to their going unnoticed, which may eventually cause an infection to develop.
Risk of serious infection and even possible amputation is a very real problem when peripheral neuropathy is afoot (pun intended). It’s best to evaluate your living and working environments, making sure to remove tripping hazards or anything else that might lead to an unexpected injury.
2. Take Away Toxins
This goes beyond your diet — evaluate your entire lifestyle, and note the places that might be introducing toxins into your body. Toxins can make their way into your body by means other than ingestion, so you don’t necessarily have to eat toxins for them to take their toll.
Your nerve endings are pretty delicate — especially the thin ones. They rely on a healthy environment to stay alive, so if your body chemistry changes in a way that creates a toxic environment for your nerves, the results can lead to peripheral neuropathy. Your body has natural filters to maintain a detoxified environment, of course, but their work can only go so far. Certain levels are simply too much for your body’s filtration symptoms to handle.
Smokers are going to want to kiss that habit goodbye, as it’s a very big source for toxins in the body. Even non-smokers, though, can evaluate the home and do a bit of detoxification by removing harsh chemicals like ammonia-based cleaners from your cabinets.
Anything treated with flame-retardant chemicals, scented cleaning products and chemicals, and many polishes and floor waxes are all loaded with toxins. Evaluate your environment and eliminate harsh chemicals wherever possible. Opt for natural varieties.
3. Exercise the Nerve Pain Away
Don’t worry, nobody blames you for finding this idea to be at least a little bit counterintuitive. Entirely too many patients with peripheral neuropathy wind up just sitting on the couch, day after day, because moving around is just seems like more trouble than it’s worth.
This could actually not be farther from the truth. Exercise goes a very long way towards helping you maintain healthy nerves. It can even help you to encourage the growth and regeneration of nerves that have already been damaged!
Not only does a good workout help to stimulate muscles that can be weakened by nerve damage, but it also encourages circulation throughout your body. And when it comes to healthy nerve endings, good blood flow is one of the biggest contributing factors.
The key here is to listen to your body, and exercise in as safe a manner as possible. You don’t want to make your situation worse, nor do you want to let your compromised nervous system cause any unwanted injury.
4. Center Yourself
There is a mental component to peripheral neuropathy that is often overlooked. All the aches and pains of peripheral neuropathy (or any of its more troublesome secondary symptoms) can really take their toll on a person’s mental well-being.
Even just a little bit more clarity upstairs can go a long way when you’re fighting through the painful symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. There are a variety of great ways to do this, many of which are not just mentally beneficial, but physically beneficial for you too. What’s more is that they’re all very friendly to your delicate damaged nerves.
Yoga and Tai-Chi are both highly effective ways to give yourself a bit of exercise while also mentally calming yourself at the very same time. Both of these practice involves the undertaking of graceful, fluid movements. They allow you to encourage blood flow throughout your body and stretch your muscles a bit, while also calming the mind and spirit in equal measures.
For a less active alternative, simple meditation can be a low-energy way to clear your head and mentally center yourself. What’s more is that you can do this literally anywhere. All you need is a few moments and a quiet atmosphere in which to center your thoughts.
Dietary Changes to Encourage Nerve Growth
The foods we put into our bodies have an understandably direct impact on how well we’re able to fight back against the damage done by peripheral neuropathy. Not only is it true that neuropathy is often caused by nutritional deficiencies, but it’s also true that supplementing your diet with certain vitamins and minerals can have a very positive impact on your nerves’ ability to heal themselves.
5. Manage Your Blood Sugar Levels
Type 2 diabetes and peripheral neuropathy are very closely linked. Making sure to maintain appropriate blood sugar levels is one of the best ways to help your body avoid the impacts of neuropathy.
Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated throughout the day is a highly effective way to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, as is limiting the amount of high-sodium foods you consume on a regular basis. Foods that have a high glycemic rating and/or contain high levels of sugar or carbs are also likely to cause unhealthy fluctuations in your blood sugar levels, so it’s best to maintain a neuropathy-friendly diet.
Keeping a food journal for a week or two is a great way to assess your diet and see if you can pinpoint areas for improvement.
6. Increase Antioxidants
These powerful little compounds are highly helpful to your body in a lot of different ways, but they’re especially valuable when it comes to cutting down on peripheral neuropathy symptoms.
Antioxidants are helpful when it comes to fighting against compounds known as free radicals, which are the cause of something known as oxidative stress. Too much oxidative stress essentially leads to chronic inflammation, which is one of the most common issues leading to peripheral neuropathy.
Enjoying a diet rich in antioxidants means your body is able to neutralize those free radicals more effectively, cutting down on oxidative stress and inflammation, in the process.
Antioxidants are naturally found in foods like grapes, berries, nuts, and leafy green veggies, so focusing on a diet rich in these foods will help you boost your antioxidants and fight that inflammation.
7. Essential Oils for Pain & Inflammation
To a certain degree, types of inflammation and pain can be addressed the natural way, with essential oils instead of over-the-counter medications. Sometimes, these medications can have the unintended effect of exacerbating your peripheral neuropathy. The general consensus is that anytime you can address body issues naturally, it is preferable to the use of synthetic medications.
Many essential oils can be helpful when it comes to eliminating issues like chronic inflammation. And reducing chronic inflammation is known to help reduce some of the pain and discomfort that can come with peripheral neuropathy.
- Roman Lavender
8. Vitamin B
B vitamins are incredibly useful when it comes to helping your body recover from the onset of peripheral neuropathy. There are many different members of the B vitamin family, and most of them are helpful when it comes to the formation and maintenance of a healthy nervous system.
Since B vitamins tend to be easily flushed out of our systems, it’s usually necessary to take a supplement, in order to get the levels necessary for helping in the fight against nerve damage.
B vitamins are naturally occurring in many healthy foods, from fruits and nuts to meats and veggies.
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine): spinach, beans, whole grains, kale, nuts, seeds, pork, red meat
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): almonds, eggs, Brussels sprouts, rice, beef, salmon, broccoli
- Vitamin B3 (niacin): leafy greens, beef, eggs, nuts, legumes
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): in most meats and plants, but is especially high in chicken liver, sunflower seeds, avocados, portobello mushrooms, salmon
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): brown rice, sunflower seeds, spinach, carrots, peaches, berries, eggs, fish, bananas
- Vitamin B7 (biotin): organic organ meat, strawberries, yeast, pork, chicken, cauliflower, egg yolks, nuts
- Vitamin B9 (folate): dark leafy greens, organic organ meat, beets, dates, avocado, beans, salmon
- Vitamin B12 (cobalamin): organic meat, oysters, clams, mussels, salmon
Some B vitamins may need to be supplemented due to their relatively low bioavailability in relation to your intake. Usually supplementing in a multi-B form is preferable to individually. No matter which one is the right choice for you, though, B vitamins are essential when it comes to encouraging healthy nerves. Take caution, though, an overdose of B vitamins can damage your nerves. Only take as directed.
Peripheral Neuropathy Home Treatment
There are a good number of different strategies you can follow to help your body’s own healing process do what it does naturally, but may be overworked and need some support.
Even better is the fact that many of these strategies are also just helpful tips for good, old-fashioned healthy living. Meaning they will leave you generally feeling better and help reduce any other issues your body may be struggling with that can be compounding the problem at hand. With the right strategy and proper precaution, these at-home remedies are a great way to manage the irritation that comes along with peripheral neuropathy.
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