The treatment is based on treating the underlying disorder. If diabetes is the cause, making certain that the blood glucose is controlled is important. If a vitamin deficiency is causing the problem, then correcting the deficiency is the treatment. Many treatments can bring relief and help you return to your regular activities. Sometimes a combination of treatments works best.
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, can be very helpful in controlling moderate pain. If you take them in excess, these drugs can affect your liver or stomach function. It’s important to avoid using them for an extended period, especially if you drink alcohol regularly.
Many prescription pain medications can also help to control the pain of this condition. These include narcotics, some antiepileptic medicines, and some antidepressants. Other helpful prescription medicines include:
- cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors
- corticosteroid injections
- seizure medications, such as gabapentin or pregabalin
- antidepressants, such as amitriptyline
- Cymbalta, which is a serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor
Prescription drugs for sexual dysfunction in men include:
- sildenafil (Viagra)
- vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn)
- tadalafil (Cialis)
- avanafil (Stendra)
Your doctor can use several medical treatments to control the symptoms of this condition. Plasmapheresis is a blood transfusion that removes potentially irritating antibodies from your bloodstream. If you get a nerve block, your doctor will inject an anesthetic directly into your nerves.
Transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation (TENS)
Transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation (TENS) doesn’t work for everyone, but many people like it because it’s a drug-free therapy. During TENS, electrodes placed on the skin send small amounts of electricity into the skin. The goal of this treatment is to disrupt nerves from transmitting pain signals to the brain.
Ergonomic casts or splints
Ergonomic casts or splints can help you if your neuropathy affects your:
These casts provide support for the part of your body that’s uncomfortable. This can relieve pain. For example, a cast or splint that holds your wrists in a proper position while you sleep can relieve the discomfort of carpal tunnel syndrome.
In addition to OTC pain relievers, many people have found relief for peripheral neuropathy through:
- chiropractic care
Moderate, regular exercise can also help lessen discomfort.
If you drink alcohol or smoke, consider cutting back or stopping. Both alcohol and tobacco aggravate nerve pain and can cause nerve damage when used for long periods.
Take precautions at home
If you have peripheral neuropathy, you’re potentially at greater risk for accidents in the home. You can do the following to improve your safety:
- Always wear shoes to protect your feet.
- Keep your floor clear of things that you could trip on.
- Check the temperature of your bath or dishwater with your elbow, not your hand or foot.
- Install handrails in your bathtub or shower.
- Use bath mats that can prevent slipping.
- Don’t stay in one position for too long. Get up and move around a couple of times each hour. This is especially important for those whose work involves sitting for long periods at a desk.