Antidepressant medication, especially tricyclics and selective serotonin-norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitors, are a favored treatment for neuropathies. These can provide relief for neuropathic pain in individuals who aren’t suffering from depression. Anticonvulsants are another class of medication that are commonly prescribed for neuropathy. These medicines are capable of blocking calcium channels on neurons to help minimize pain. Opioid drug treatments for neuropathy are used as well to treat the condition, but are less favored because of the risk of dependency. However, opioids have been found to be the most consistently effective in pain reduction.
For certain forms of neuropathy, such as post-herpes neuralgia, physicians recommend using a topical anesthetic such as lidocaine. Topical applications of capsacin (the spicy chemical found in peppers) have also been used as a treatment for neuropathic pain.
Alternative therapies for treating peripheral neuropathy include cannabinoids, botox, NMDA antagonists, dietary supplements, chiropractic massages, yoga, meditation, cognitive therapy, and acupuncture.
The last type of treatments for neuropathy is known as neuromodulators. These include both implantable and non-implantable devices such as spinal cord stimulators, implanted spinal pumps, electrodes that stimulate the motor cortex of the brain, and methods called deep brain stimulation.
In managing neuropathy, there are several ways to prevent its symptoms. In the case of diabetics, maintaining good foot health is important. Patients should routinely check for blisters, cuts, or calluses and avoid tight fitting shoes and socks. Doctors can also recommend an exercise regimen to help reduce neuropathy pain and control blood sugar levels. Patients should also do their part to quit smoking and follow a healthy diet plan. Hand and feet massages may also help neuropathy management by stimulating nerves and providing temporary pain relief. Finally, neuropathy patients should avoid prolonged pressure on their knees or elbows to ensure there is no further nerve damage.