If you have been diagnosed with neuropathy, you may feel that there is very little that you can do. It is certainly true that it is very difficult to control nerve pain, not in the least because it has so many different potential causes.
Fortunately, there are different forms of treatment available, some pharmaceutical and some more traditional, which do have positive effects. The goal is for you to find the treatment that works best for you,.
What Is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy is not a disease, but rather a symptom associated with a variety of different illnesses. For instance, it can be caused by diabetes, injuries to the nerves, diabetes, shingles, HIV/AIDS, cancer, cancer medication, and more.
It can be acute, which means it doesn't last long and resolves itself, or it can be chronic, which means that it keeps recurring, thus significantly reducing the patient's quality of life.
Because of these many possibilities, causes, and effects, it is very important to find the treatment that will work best for you. In most cases, a combination of different treatments is found to be most effective.
Neuropathy Treatment Options
The main treatment options for neuropathy, which must be added to whichever treatment is recommended for the underlying condition, are:
- Over the counter painkillers
- Prescription painkillers
- Vitamin supplements like Nerve Renew
- A healthy lifestyle
Each of these options have their own pros and cons, and usually two or more are combined. One method is not better than the other, and what works for one person may not work for someone else. Unfortunately, if you have been diagnosed with neuropathy, it is likely that you will go through a period of trial and error before finding something that works.
Prescription Drugs for Neuropathy
There are a number of different types of prescription medication that have been demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of neuropathy. Again, however, this does not necessarily mean that everybody will benefit from them.
You must, therefore, consult with your physician to determine the cause of your neuropathy and how severe it is. Additionally, you must understand that all prescription medications come with side effects. Let's take a look at some of the options.
1. Anticonvulsant medication
Although anticonvulsant drugs may sound somewhat severe because they are designed for treating epileptic seizures, the reality is that they have also been proven to be effective in the treatment of nerve pain. In fact, it is common for physicians to offer these drugs before any other type. While these drugs were originally for epilepsy, it was later discovered that these drugs affect the nervous system and therefore can also dull the pain receptors.
Unfortunately, anticonvulsant drugs have some significant side effects, including:
2. Antidepressant medication
Antidepressants can also be highly effective for those who suffer from neuropathic pain. There are two main types of antidepressants that are known to be effective:
- Tricyclic antidepressants, which have been a drug of choice for many years. Interestingly, these drugs are now rarely used in the treatment of depression itself. There have been numerous studies that have demonstrated that they are beneficial for nerve pain, however.
Side effects are common, however, and include:
- Stomach upsets
- Blurry vision
Additionally, they are not safe for people who have other serious conditions, including heart problems.
Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, which are a new form of antidepressant medication that also seems to have a positive effect on nerve pain. These drugs are preferred because they do not have as many side effects and are generally classed as safer. However, they are likely to be less effective as well.
An added benefit of antidepressants is the fact that they also make people feel better. Those with neuropathy have a significantly reduced quality of life, and this can make the pain signals worse, in fact. Hence, by ensuring that there is a focus on better mental health, people can also help to improve on their symptoms.
Some people, however, worry that taking antidepressant medication means that their neuropathy is “in their head”. In reality, however, this is not the case. Because antidepressants work on the central nervous system, they also help to improve the real and physically measurable symptoms of neuropathy.
Getting the Most Out of Prescription Medication
If you decided to take prescription medication, it is important that you do so properly. Hence:
- Be aware of any contraindications or interactions with other drugs before you agree to start taking a new drug. Your physician must be fully aware of any vitamins, supplements, herbal remedies, over the counter drugs, and prescription drugs that you take. When you visit your physician for an appointment, bring a list that highlights this, so that he or she can ensure that you will not take inappropriate combinations.
- Read the label and follow the instructions as provided by your physician and pharmacist. Make sure that you understand the instructions and ask questions if you don't. You may have to take the drugs at certain times during the day, for instance. Do not stop taking your prescription unless told to do so.
- Take side effects seriously. If you experience any, inform your physician immediately so that it can be determined whether a different option may be better for you.
Unfortunately, you cannot simply take a drug and be completely healed. Instead, you must learn how to control your pain as well. Studies have shown that many people with neuropathy do not receive the right pain relief, and you should try to not be one of those statistics. You should not live a life dominated by pain, but rather one in which you are treated properly.
This means that you should consider the various forms of treatment that are available to you until you find something that works best for you. This may be a stressful time, but the reality is that through understanding the condition, the nerves, and implementing nutrition and lifestyle changes, you can find a way to properly manage the pain that you are experiencing and restore a higher quality of life.