Patient Information: Treating nerve damage (neuropathy)
Protect hands and feet
; Avoid extremes of temperatures, and wear warm gloves and footwear in cold
; Check water temperature with an unbreakable thermometer before bathing or
dishwashing (should be less than 110 F or 43.3 C).
; Use pot holder when cooking and gloves when washing dishes or gardening.
; Wear well-fitting shoes with good support.
; Inspect skin regularly for injury and infection.
; Your balance may be affected by nerve damage in the feet – avoid activities that
could lead to injuries from falls.
; Remove clutter, furniture with wheels and scatter rugs in your home to avoid falls.
; Install safety equipment in the bathroom (e.g. bars in the shower or bath; raised
toilet seat) and handrails in stairways.
Wear clothes with zippers rather than buttons, elastic waistbands, pullover tops, ;
shoes with Velcro closures.
; Physiotherapy may be helpful.
; Prevent and treat constipation promptly.
; Eat plenty of high fibre foods (vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts)
Increase fluid intake. ;
; Use stool softeners and laxatives as required.
Treatment of pain
; Your doctor may prescribe medications for nerve pain, including Gabapentin,
Nortriptyline or Lyrica.
; Anesthetic medications such as lidocaine may also be prescribed.
; Hand and foot massage may be soothing.
; Tiger balm or capsaicin cream application may be helpful.
Vitamins and supplements
1) B complex vitamins - The vitamin B family helps prevent and treat injured nerves and includes:
; B1 (thiamine), found in whole-grain cereals, bread, red meat, egg yolks, green
; B2 (riboflavin), in whole-grain products, milk, meat, eggs, cheese and peas 2010/rc
; B3 (niacin), in protein-rich foods such as meat, fish, brewer's yeast, milk, eggs,
; B5 (pantothenic acid), in meat, whole grain cereals and legumes
; B6 (pyridoxine), in liver, meat, brown rice, fish, butter, wheat germ
; B9 (folic acid), in yeast, liver, green vegetables, and whole grain cereals
; B12 (cyanocobalamine), in liver, meat, egg yolk, poultry and milk.
B vitamins are water soluble and are not stored in the body, so must be taken every day through food or in supplements. All of these B vitamins can be obtained in a B Complex formulation. Look for B Complex or Stress Formula 100 at the local pharmacy or health food store.
2) Alpha-lipoic acid, an antioxidant, reduces pain and numbness. Usual dose is 200 mg per day.