Neuropathy is when the nerves are damaged. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including accidents, trauma, diseases such as diabetes, and sometimes the cause cannot be determined. In fact, some form of nerve damage is very common; as many as two out of three adults will experience nerve damage during their lifetime.
Although there are many causes, by far the most common cause is diabetes. In these cases, nerve damage is caused by high blood sugar levels over a long period of time. This can cause calcium overload in the nerves, causing them to act on their own.
Why Neuropathy in Feet and Legs?
The body works hard to protect the vital organs first, whether you are in an extreme cold survival situation or dealing with high blood sugar levels. The feet and legs are important parts of the body, but they are not vital organs. Because they are the furthest from the heart, they will suffer first. You might also be interested in exploring the neuropathy aids available at our store.
Providing the Best Treatment for Neuropathy in Feet and Legs
Although steps have been taken to reverse nerve damage, there is no definitive drug regimen that can successfully achieve this goal. Instead, treatment focuses on managing symptoms and ensuring that people have the best possible quality of life.
The first step in any treatment plan is effective pain relief. Nerve damage often manifests as tingling or sharp, shooting pain. These can be very difficult to live with and make a normal life almost impossible. It is likely that over-the-counter medications will not be enough to control the pain. Your doctor may prescribe any of the following:
- Neurontin – an epilepsy drug which reduces nerve sensations; thereby reducing pain.
- Duloxetine – this works in a similar way to Neurontin inhibiting nerve response. It is also commonly used as an antidepressant.
- Patches – these contain anesthetic which is localized by the patch but can provide effective relief; although you will lose any feeling in the area.
- Opioid Painkillers – These are prescription but can be extremely addictive; it is advisable to approach with caution.
Pain relief is essential for many sufferers, regardless of how the condition developed.
The exact treatment option for neuropathy in the feet and legs depends on the cause of the nerve damage:
- Compression Injuries – Nerve damage caused by this type of injury is usually temporary; provided the item causing the compression was not on you for too long a period of time.
- Inflammation Problems – If the nerve damage is caused by inflammation, it should be resolved by resting the affected foot and leg. You can also apply heat treatments to reduce swelling around the inflamed nerve.
- Pinch – Nerves can be pinched as a result of carpal tunnel or similar injuries. In these cases, surgery can be used to release the pinched nerve.
- Diabetes – This is the most common cause and the most difficult to treat successfully. There are a number of options.
Diabetes Neuropathy in Feet and Legs
This section requires more in-depth study regarding treatment options. Neuropathy in the feet and legs is a side effect of this condition; however, it needs to be treated in stages:
- Check Your Diet
The first step in treating neuropathy is to lower the amount of blood sugar in your body. This has been linked to nerve damage. Keeping your blood sugar levels in balance will help prevent further problems. It will probably not reduce the damage that has already occurred.
Starting or increasing your activity level will lower your blood glucose levels and reduce the risk of nerve damage in your feet and legs. It will also improve the flow of nutrients and oxygen around your body.
- Vitamin D & B
The same is true for vitamin B, which is known to help signals travel through your body. Vitamin B6 is particularly important for this, while low levels of B12 have been linked to nerve damage.
- Alpha-Lipoic Supplement
This supplement has been shown to balance your blood sugar levels and has even been linked to pain relief and long-term nerve protection.
Surprisingly, research has linked neuropathy in the feet and legs to anxiety. This has been shown to be very effective in making your nerves worse. Therefore, it is important to avoid stressful situations and learn relaxation techniques to help you stay focused and calm. Yoga and meditation are two great examples.