At-Home Treatment Options for Peripheral Neuropathy
In addition to conventional treatments for peripheral neuropathy, at-home treatments can also help relieve symptoms.
At-home treatment options that may help reduce neuropathy symptoms include the following:
- Taking a warm bath
Soaking in warm water improves circulation and promotes relaxation, which can decrease pain. However, when neuropathy affects the sensory nerves, the ability to detect temperature can be impaired. In these cases, it’s important to test the water temperature with a part of the body not affected by neuropathy before entering the shower or bath to avoid scalding or burning the body.
- Getting physical activity
Physical activity increases blood flow and helps decrease stress, both of which can reduce pain associated with peripheral neuropathy. Physical activity also releases endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers.
- Applying capsaicin
Capsaicin is the substance in chili peppers that gives them their heat. It is available in both cream and patch form to numb and desensitize nerve endings in order to reduce pain. When applied to areas affected by neuropathic pain, it may help reduce pain sensations, especially when used over time.
- Using a lidocaine gel, lotion, or patch.
Lidocaine is a topical anesthetic. It provides a temporary cooling/numbing sensation that may help reduce pain.
- Taking an over-the-counter pain medication
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, or NSAIDs, can temporarily relieve pain. It’s important to note that a medical professional should always be consulted before taking any new medication.
- Limiting alcohol and quitting smoking
Alcohol is toxic to nerves, so consuming excessive amounts can worsen neuropathy symptoms. Quitting smoking can improve circulation, which can reduce symptoms and also help prevent complications from developing.
- Eating a healthy diet
A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains (while limiting added sugars) is conducive to a healthy lifestyle in general. If neuropathy is gluten-induced, following a gluten-free diet can help reduce symptoms.