Neuropathy-Diagnosis and Treatment Methods - Home Remedies and Self-Care for Neuropathy

Neuropathy is nerve damage or dysfunction that usually causes tingling, numbness, muscle weakness, and pain in the affected area.
In the diagnosis of neuropathy, the doctor may verify the integrity of the reflexes, sensation and muscle strength, and he may request one or more necessary medical check-ups, including blood tests, NCS, EMG, CSF analysis, X-rays, CT scans, MRI, nerve biopsy, etc. 
The neuropathy treatment method is based on the reason leading to it. Treatment also depends on the severity of symptoms. 
Neuropathy is treated surgically, medicinally, or by other methods. There are also several natural home remedies to help reduce the symptoms of neuropathy.

Neuropathy-Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosis and treatment of neuropathy and Natural home remedies for nerve damage

Neuropathy-Diagnosis and Treatment Methods - Home Remedies and Self-Care for Neuropathy

Neuropathy Overview

Neuropathy is a nervous system disease or dysfunction apart from the brain and spinal cord that usually causes tingling, numbness, muscle weakness, and pain in the affected area. 
Neuropathy can be a complication of other general diseases, such as kidney failure, liver failure, diseases of the immune system, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, etc.

Symptoms of neuropathy appear in the distant areas of the body, usually in the feet and hands. 
People with neuropathy may complain about skin anesthesia, paresthesia, irritation or a burning sensation.

Pain is a common symptom of neuropathy, it may be acute, dull or burning, and it can appear spontaneously or after stimulating the skin, such as touching or walking, sometimes more severe at night. 
Motor symptoms include muscle weakness and atrophy.

The causes of neuropathy are many. The most common cause in the western world is diabetes. It has been proven that a lack of balance in the disease leads to nerve injury. 
Therefore, the treatment of diabetes impedes and sometimes prevents this infection.

A deficiency of vitamins, especially vitamin B1 and vitamin B12, can also lead to neuropathy, a particularly common disorder, among alcoholics. 

Exposure to certain drugs or to toxic substances such as heavy metals (for example, arsenic, thallium and lead), found primarily in industrial materials, can harm the peripheral nerves and lead to neuropathy.

There are genetic neurological disorders such as hereditary neuropathies that usually appear at a young age, but not always. 

Genetic deficiency disrupts the production of essential compounds in the nerve. Often the defect is in the production of one of the myelin compounds, but there can also be deficiencies in the nerve body compounds themselves. 
Neuropathy can also be a result of inflammation of the nerves.

Sometimes the immune system attacks the nerves as a late complication of a general infection, such as a respiratory tract infection or a digestive system, after the infection has already passed. 

The reason for this is the similarity between pollutant compounds and nerve compounds so that the antibodies produced against bacteria or the virus move against similar compounds of the nerves. 

A similar process also occurs in the neuropathy associated with cancerous tumors, which is called neuropathic preneoplastic.

Diagnosis of Neuropathy

Usually, there is no clear explanation for neuropathy, so the doctor resorts to asking the patient questions, in order to help know how long it has been since the neuropathy, and what are the affected nerves, as he asks about the family history of the patient, and if he has other symptoms. 

The doctor may prescribe some tests. There are several tests that are used in the diagnosis of neuropathy and some of them are described below:

Physical examination: The doctor discusses the symptoms and the medical history of the person, including lifestyle, exposure to toxins, alcoholism, and a family history of neurological diseases, to link them to the cause that led to neuropathy. 

If the symptoms are caused by the use of a particular drug, the doctor may ask to stop taking it, reduce the dose, and monitor the symptoms.

Blood tests: Blood tests reveal a lack of vitamins in the body, diabetes, immune system problems and other indicators that can cause peripheral neuropathy.

Nerve Conduction Study (NCS): In NCS, tiny metal wires known as electrodes are placed on the skin, to produce small electrical shocks that stimulate nerves, and then measure the speed and strength of the nerve signal.

Electromyography (EMG): In the EMG test, a small needle is inserted through the skin into the muscle, to measure the electrical activity of the muscles.

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis: This test is done if the genetic defect is caused by, for example, Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease (CMT) – the hereditary motor and sensory neuropathies of the peripheral nervous system.

Nerve Biopsy: Nerve biopsy is a simple surgical procedure, in which a small sample of the peripheral nerve is removed and examined under a microscope.

Sensory analysis: Sensory tests record the feeling of touch, sight, smell, taste, and hearing, vibration, cooling, and heat.

Other tests: such as X-rays, CT scans, and magnetic resonance imaging.

Treatment of Neuropathy

Neuropathy is treated surgically, medicinally, or by other methods, including physical therapy, medications, injections, and surgery, etc. 

The goals of neuropathy treatment are to control symptoms and reduce the risk factors that cause neuropathy.

In many cases, treating the causes of neuropathy is very helpful in reducing or eliminating the symptoms of neuropathy. 

In other cases, when the cause of neuropathy is pressure on the nerves, such as the presence of a tumor, then the treatment, in this case, is surgery, also in the case of diabetic neuropathy, so controlling blood sugar levels is important to prevent further nerve damage.
Some common treatment options for neuropathy include:

Over-the-counter pain medication: Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen (Advil Motrin) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can relieve pain caused by neuropathy, or damage that can be caused by this condition, but in general, it cannot fully control the pain caused by neuropathy. 

Overdose of these medicines may cause more harm, so it is advised to take these analgesics with caution, but as for other medications that can be taken to relieve pain and control of neuropathy, they are as follows:

Antidepressants: The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of antidepressants to treat diabetic neuropathy. 

Depression medication that can be used in this case is duloxetine and other examples of tricyclic antidepressants include Amitriptyline and Imipramine.

Anticonvulsants: Anticonvulsants can be used to treat diabetic neuropathy. Examples of anticonvulsants are pregabalin and Gabapentin.

Opiates and opioids: Opiates and opioids such as Oxycodone and Tramadol can help treat pain caused by neuropathy.

Topical medications: The doctor may prescribe topical medications that relieve pain, such as Capsaicin cream and Lidocaine patches.

Alternative or complementary therapies may be used for acupuncture and physical therapy that may be helpful in some cases.

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA): Alpha-lipoic acid is a natural antioxidant that seems safe and efficient in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy. This may help improve both nerve conduction velocity and clinical manifestations

There are studies that have proven the effectiveness of taking one daily dose of 600 mg of anti-oxidant alpha-lipoic acid in treating diabetic neuropathy in the short term, but these studies have not yet proven the effectiveness of this treatment in the long run.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): If previous treatments fail to control pain, Trans-Cutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation can be performed.

Although information about the effectiveness of this method is not sufficient yet, the 2010 American Academy of Neurology report stated that this method can be effective in relieving pain caused by diabetic neuropathy.

Home Remedies and Self-Care for Neuropathy

People with neuropathy should pay special attention to the feet to reduce the chance of ulcers and infections of the foot, as the feet are the most common areas of the body affected by neuropathy, so the following things can be done:

Wash the feet with warm water every day and dry them after washing them, especially between the toes.

Do not walk barefoot and don't wear tight, unsuited and uncomfortable footwear.

Check the feet daily, look for ulcers, wounds, or any other problems.

Trim your nails regularly. Long nails are likely to cause many health problems. So get your nails trimmed often, but do not be overzealous. 
If you cut your nails frequently, once each week or two - you won't have to worry about them getting too much or too wild.

Get special shoes and socks if needed. Wearing thick and soft socks can help prevent feet irritation.

Give yourself a foot massage. Foot massages can improve blood circulation, so it is advisable to constantly massage the feet.

Quit smoking: Quitting smoking can improve blood circulation, as smoking limits blood circulation to the extremities and thus exacerbates foot problems.

Exercise every day. Regular exercise, such as walking, jogging, strength or resistance training, and aerobic activity can improve muscle strength and help control blood sugar levels and help reduce neuropathy pain.

Eat healthy food every day. Good nutrition is one of the keys to a healthy life to ensure that you get the necessary proteins, vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates. 
So include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, oily fish and lean protein in your diet.

Check your blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, self-monitoring of blood glucose will help keep your blood sugar under control and may help improve your health and reduce neuropathy.

See a physician immediately if any foot problems are observed. Early treatment may help prevent more nerve problems later.

Make your lifestyle choices better. Lifestyle choices may play an important role in preventing neuropathy. 
If you improve your lifestyle, you can reduce your risk for many of these conditions by eating a healthy diet, correcting vitamin deficiencies, losing weight, avoiding toxins and alcohol,  and exercising regularly.

By: Mahtab Alam Quddusi

The Scientific World

The Scientific World is a Scientific and Technical Information Network that provides readers with informative & educational blogs and articles. Site Admin: Mahtab Alam Quddusi - Blogger, writer and digital publisher.

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