Neuropathy of the feet is a result of damage to the nerves in the feet. This means that the nerves are unable to send signals to the brain. It is most often seen in diabetic patients, but can also be a result of alcoholism and vitamin deficiencies.
Neuropathy of the feet is characterized by tingling, prickling, numbness, weakness, burning, and pain in the feet. Additionally, individuals who have neuropathy in the feet may have problems walking.
If you’re experiencing any of the above conditions, you will need to see your physician so that he/she can figure out what is causing your condition as well as the extent of it.
He/she may send you to a neurologist or possibly a podiatrist. Following are some steps you can take to treat your neuropathy.
First of all, make an appointment to see your doctor. You will need to get a full medical examination in order to figure out what is causing your neuropathy. Treatment will be based on the root cause of the condition.
Next, to ease some of your discomfort, you can take OTC pain medications. However, you should discuss with your doctor before taking any type of pain reliever. He/she may decide to prescribe pain medication if your neuropathy of the feet is severe.
Third, always make sure to take your diabetic medications as prescribed. Since neuropathy of the feet is most often related to diabetes, this is extremely important.
Taking the medication as prescribed will help to keep control of your diabetes, and therefore could slow down the progression of your neuropathy.
Ask your physician if antidepressants are appropriate for your condition. Often, tricyclic antidepressants can be helpful for foot pain associated with neuropathy.
Of course, keep in mind that antidepressants can have some extreme side effects, so discuss the details with your doctor before starting this type of treatment.
Finally, make sure that you follow a healthy diet. If your neuropathy is attributed to your diabetes, following a diet specifically geared towards diabetics will help to regulate your blood sugar as well as improve your neuropathy of the feet.
Your doctor will be able to recommend a diet that will work for you or he/she could refer you to a dietician or nutritionist.
You should never walk around without shoes- because you could injure your feet. You already know that neuropathy could cause numbness in your feet, so you could injure your feet and not feel the pain.
Additionally, since you can’t feel the pain, you should look at your feet every day for injuries and let your doctor know if you have any.
Naturally Treating Neuropathy of the Feet
Though you should definitely be under the treatment of a physician if you have neuropathy of the feet, there are some things you can do on your own to help with the symptoms.
Get plenty of exercise. Go for a walk, swim or bike ride to improve your health. Studies have shown that low impact exercises, such as yoga, tai chi, and pilates, especially in those individuals who are older, actually improves neuropathy. Getting these types of exercises forces blood flow to your lower extremities.
Consume a well-balanced diet. Make sure that you eat plenty of fresh veggies and fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains. Vital antioxidants necessary to relieve inflammation are found in dark green veggies, berries, and apples.
Additionally, you should make sure to include things like beans, broccoli, lentils, cauliflower, beets, and peas in your diet. Choose lean red meats and fish which have high protein levels, but low fat levels.
Also, drink lots of low-fat milk. Discuss the possibility of taking vitamin supplements, especially B12, with your physician.
Limit your alcohol consumption. Drinking four or more drinks on a daily basis can lead to nerve damage over time. Additionally, those who drink heavily often have nutritional deficiencies, which can also lead to neuropathy.
If you’re a smoker, you should stop smoking. Smoking causes blood vessels to constrict and therefore, they are unable to supply vital nutrients to peripheral nerves, worsening the symptoms of neuropathy.
Since smoking has an effect on circulation, it increases the potential for foot problems, including neuropathy, especially for individuals with diabetes.
Take some time to massage your hands and feet. Massage helps to stimulate your nerves and also increases blood circulation to those areas, which provides some temporary pain relief. One form of self-massage is yoga, it helps to decrease pain by stimulating the pressure receptors located in the brain.
Natural Herbal Remedies for Neuropathy of the Feet
You may not know it, but there are some natural herbal remedies to help you treat your neuropathy of the feet. However, you should only use herbal treatments under the supervision of a physician, as some herbs can interact with other medications you are taking.
Also, keep in mind that it could take 6-14 weeks before you see any effects of herbal treatments. You should also make sure to maintain a balanced diet, manage your weight, and participate in low-impact exercise in addition to using these herbal treatments.
Following are some herbs that you can take to treat your neuropathy:
Herbs such as Valerian Root, Skullcap, and St. John’s Wort work by soothing your entire nervous system.
Jamaican Dogwood and Evening Primrose can be used in conjunction with other pain management treatments in order to prevent any further damage.
Calendula salve, Cayenne Pepper salve, and other topical salves can be used to ease muscle cramps and muscle related pain.
Additionally, adding specific vitamins to your current pain management regimen can be very helpful. Vitamins such as B12, B6, as well as a B-complex can sustain- and possibly improve- the health of your nerves, as well as prevent any further damage.
Magnesium can help soothe your nervous system as well, which helps to reduce discomfort and pain.