Living with untreated neuropathy can be incredibly painful and seriously impact your quality of life. More than 20 million Americans suffer from neuropathy, and approximately one in five people will experience peripheral neuropathy at some point in our lives. It’s often caused by diabetes, medication, or vitamin deficiencies, and symptoms of this condition include pain, weakness, numbness, and a pins-and-needles sensation, much like when your foot “falls asleep.” The pain commonly occurs in extremities, like your feet, hands, legs, or face, and can also cause muscle cramping and coordination issues.
Peripheral neuropathy is widely experienced by the population, yet an effective treatment is still lacking. Doctors will often prescribe anti-seizure medications or antidepressants, but why they work is yet unclear. While they may be effective, these medications can bring with them a whole host of serious side effects — these include, but are not limited to, weight gain/loss, confusion, nausea, and drowsiness. Because of the harmful side effects of these medications, and because of how dangerous taking prescribed painkillers regularly can be, people are looking for more natural, less harmful methods to help ease their suffering; luckily, most didn’t have to look much farther than their refrigerator. Here are three natural remedies that you can use to help find some relief from the pain of neuropathy.
You know that burning sensation you feel in your mouth when you eat spicy foods? That feeling is capsaicin at work. It’s found naturally in chili peppers and actually acts as an irritant for mammals when it comes in contact with mucous membranes, but it can do more than just make your mouth water. Capsaicin is also widely used as a topical analgesic to provide natural pain relief, especially for treating peripheral neuropathy, by using heat to treat the pain.
You’ve probably consumed turmeric many times in your life and just not known it. Turmeric is the ingredient in mustard that gives the condiment its bright, yellow color. Turmeric — or more specifically, curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric — has natural anti-inflammatory properties and is being used as treatment for disorders of the central nervous system, including neuropathy. On top of the relief it can provide for neuropathy, it is also one of the best antioxidants you can find.
This remedy is one that’s been practiced for centuries. Native Americans would use white willow bark to break a fever and to reduce pain and swelling caused by inflammation. In fact, studies of this bark were what lead to the creation of Aspirin.