The goals of neuropathy treatment are to manage the underlying cause of the condition and relieve symptoms. Nerves can regenerate in some cases, and symptoms may resolve or improve over time when neuropathy is caused by a condition that can be treated, such as a vitamin B deficiency.
Treatment will depend on and is directed against any known cause of the neuropathy. Symptom management may involve:
- Gaining control of underlying conditions, such as maintaining good blood glucose control in patients with diabetes and reducing the inflammation associated with autoimmune disorders
- Limiting smoking and alcohol consumption
- Eating a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy body weight
- Stretching and being physically active; limiting periods of immobility, which can increase pressure on nerves
- Avoiding exposure to toxins
- Protecting body parts that have diminished ability to feel pain, heat, cold, and vibration from injury
- Supporting affected body parts with, for example, braces or orthopedic shoes
- Monitoring affected areas frequently and promptly addressing problems such as reddened skin and sores that may worsen and become infected
Several classes of medications are used to help alleviate neuropathic pain. They range from over-the-counter analgesics for mild pain to anti-seizure medications, antidepressants, and narcotic drugs for more severe pain. Surgical procedures may be necessary in some cases to release trapped or compressed nerves.
Complimentary therapies, such as physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), may also help bring pain relief.
People should work with their healthcare providers to determine the best treatments for their condition. A person's needs often change over time, and new and alternative treatments continue to be developed.