Neuropathic pain causes pain, numbness, and weakness in hands and feet as a result of damaged peripheral nerves. Traumatic injury, infection, alcoholism, and diabetes mellitus are cause peripheral neuropathy and spread over time slowly.
If you experience nerve pain, you should see a physician. Luckily, there are treatment goals to help manage conditions causing neuropathy and relieve the symptoms. If lab results indicate no underlying condition, the doctor could recommend waiting to see if the neuropathy improves.
The doctor can prescribe medications to treat underlying conditions associated with peripheral neuropathy as well as to relieve peripheral neuropathy symptoms. For instance, over the counter pain relievers like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory meds can help relieve mild symptoms. Your doctor can prescribe pain medications for more severe symptoms.
Painkillers such as oxycodone (Roxicodone, Oxycontin, others) or tramadol (Ultram, Conzip) can lead to addiction and dependence. Hence, these meds should only be used with a prescription from a doctor.
Topical treatments like Capsaicin cream can help improve peripheral neuropathy symptoms because they contain the substance found in hot peppers. Though they might cause skin irritation and burning when you apply the cream, it lessens and becomes tolerable over time.
Lidocaine patches are also another topical treatment that can offer pain relief when applied to the skin. Side effects of topical medications can include dizziness, drowsiness, and numbness where used.
Anti-seizure medications like pregabalin (Lyrica) and gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise, Horizant) can be used to relieve nerve pain, though the side effects could include dizziness and drowsiness.
Certain tricyclic antidepressants, like doxepin (Zonalon, Silenor), amitriptyline, and nortriptyline (Pamelor), can also help relieve pain. These antidepressants interfere with the chemical processes in the spinal cord and brain, causing pain.
The norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor duloxetine (Cymbalta) and serotonin, as well as the extended-release antidepressant venlafaxine (Effexor XR), can also help ease peripheral neuropathy pain caused by diabetes. However, the side effects could include nausea, dizziness, dry mouth, constipation, and decreased appetite.
There are also therapies and specific procedures that can be used to ease the signs and symptoms like:
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
With TENS therapy, electrodes are placed on your skin to deliver a gentle electric current at different frequencies. It should be applied for 30 minutes every day for about a month.
Physical therapy is crucial for those experiencing muscle weaknesses. It helps improve movements. Those who need physical therapy could also need a foot or hand brace, a walker, a cane, or a wheelchair.
Plasma Exchange and Intravenous Immune Globulin
These are procedures used to suppress the immune system activity to benefit people with inflammatory conditions. With plasma exchange, blood may be removed, then antibodies and other proteins are from the blood which is then returned to your body. With immune globulin therapy, you receive immunoglobulins (high levels of protein that work as antibodies).
Patients with neuropathies caused by nerve pressure, like pressure from tumors, might need to undergo surgery to help reduce the pressure. After surgery, the doctor will prescribe the right medication and therapies to ensure a favorable prognosis.