Before using any alternative medicines and complementary treatments it is strongly recommend you receive direction from your personal physician first. Below is a listing of just a few of the Alternative and Complementary Medicines for Neuropathy we feel are worth considering:
ALPHA LIPOIC ACID
Dr. Norman Latov in his book on peripheral neuropathy along with many other doctors say a high dosage of Alpha Lipoic Acid (a vitamin-like chemical called an antioxidant) is helping many neuropathy patients in reducing pain.
Many state the R-ALA or timed released works better. Daily dosages of 800 to 1200 mg have been recommended. Dr. Julian Whitaker who has a Health & Wellness Clinic in California recommends the 1200 mg dosage.
CURCUMIN and MSG
Erika Schwartz, M.D. a holistic physician a leading expert on wellness recommends the use of the supplement Curcumin as a great anti-inflammatory that will help relieve pain. She also recommends MSM at 2000 mg per day as helpful for pain.
I think that it is a good idea for patients to have levels of vitamins tested as recommended by Dr. Norman Latov, MD PhD. Dr. Latov warns that excessive amounts of vitamin B6 can cause neuropathy, so be aware of the amount of B6 in any combination of vitamins you take. It is best to test and then apply supplements in the opinion of many doctors who work with patients with neuropathy.
Highly recommend you purchase the book by Norman Latov, MD Neurologist in his book (from Amazon.com) Peripheral Neuropathy: When the Numbness, Weakness, and Pain Won’t Stop discusses the issues of vitamins on pages 22ff AND especially page 28. He discusses Alternative Medicines on pages 85ff.
Recommend that your doctor test your levels of vitamins to identify any deficiency or toxicity issues – see guidelines discussed in Dr. Latov’s book.
FROM DR JOHN SENNEFF BOOKS
There are two books written by John Senneff – from Amazon.com – Numb Toes and Aching Soles plus Numb Toes and Other Woes and books that share lots of information on the use of vitamins and minerals. Many patients find these books to be very patient friendly and easy to read.
FROM MIMS CUSHING BOOK OF PATIENT IDEAS
Highly recommend you purchase the book from Amazon.com by Mims Cushing You Can Cope with Peripheral Neuropathy as it is full of ideas on Alternative and Complimentary Medicine. For example, see pages 25-26; 27-28; 64; 128; 136; 137; but there is so much more in the book. Often discussed is the issue of the supplements of Alpha Lipoic Acid and COQ10.
NOTE: There are many more ideas on other complementary treatments in Mims Cushing’s book so a review of it by going to the index to look for ideas is recommended.
The health maintenance of peripheral nerve cells include:
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) (COMMENT: Some cancer patients report lesser symptoms with B1 supplements but research needs to be done – From Infusion Center Nurse)
Vitamin B6 (COMMENT: Can be toxic if too much or cause PN when insufficient – Dr Norman Latov MD Neurologist book page 22ff)
Vitamin B9 (foliate)
Vitamin B12 (COMMENT: If your level measures less than 300 a supplement is needed to prevent PN – according to Dr Latov in his book for patients.)
See Medi-Focus Health comment on Complementary Medicine in Peripheral Neuropathy.
The Role of Complementary Medicine in Peripheral Neuropathy
There are no studies to prove the efficacy or safety of most complementary and alternative therapies in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy. It is important that individuals notify their health care provider if they are using any alternative therapies no matter how insignificant or benign they may seem. Various complementary therapies have been used to help manage discomfort and anxiety of peripheral neuropathy, although not all of these therapies are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is also important to realize that approval by the FDA does not necessarily imply endorsement. Even if covered by Medicare, this does not imply endorsement.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) – Also known as electrotherapy, TENS has been shown to be effective in reducing localized pain and discomfort for the duration of treatment in diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Electrodes connected to the portable TENS unit are placed on the skin. Electric signals are then sent to the painful area, blocking or “interrupting” pain signals before they reach the brain. Pain reduction is experienced in up to 80% of patients and some data indicates that when amitriptyline is administered in conjunction with TENS therapy, pain reduction is noted in up to 85% of patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Treatment is reported to be effective even when used over a prolonged period. Various TENS stimulators have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
LOW LEVEL LASERS: I am exploring the use of low level lasers as my neurologist told me they might work… I will be doing an article on subject after I explore the facts a bit more… would be great if this is true and I think that the technology is about to hit main stream medicine …. it is new technology so I want to find the brand that has the correct settings etc…. here is the NIH Article on the subject that is most informative. Maybe it may even help you with the pain? Will explore for us and then put the article on our website. Maybe you could print and give the article to your doctor and he might have an idea on which product might work for you?
Frequency-modulated electromagnetic neural stimulation (FREMS) – In a study involving 31 patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, FREMS was applied to the lower extremities of each patient using four electrodes that were stimulated for 30 minute sessions, with ten treatments over a six week period. Results indicated a significant reduction in pain, a significant increase in sensory tactile perception, an increase in motor nerve conduction velocity, and an increased sensation of foot vibration for at least four months. Click here for more information about FREMS:
Magnetic field therapy (MFT) – MFT involves the use of magnets which may be taped or placed over the over the area of pain in patients with peripheral neuropathy. The mechanism of action of MFT is not understood. One possible explanation of its beneficial effect on the body is its ability to change the alignment of the body’s electromagnetic fields. In a study investigating the use of special magnetized insoles for patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, encouraging results were noted. Click here to read more about MFT:
Acupuncture – Acupuncture has provided relief for some patients, although the benefits tend to be short term and frequent treatments may be required.
Biofeedback – Biofeedback is a proven technique that teaches individuals how to deal with pain by learning to divert their attention or to perceive the pain differently. It is also useful in increasing the temperature of hands and feet. This is a safe treatment method that can be very effective for some patients.
Relaxation/Massage therapy – Apprehension or anxiety about neuropathic pain may be alleviated by massage therapy for some patients.
Anodyne Therapy System (ATS) – ATS is a near-infrared medical device that may bring relief to patients with diabetic and non-diabetic peripheral neuropathy through improving circulation. Pads containing infra-red photo energy heat are placed on the skin over the affected area. The energy penetrates into the skin and the patient feels relief. Patients with painful neuropathy report an improvement in balance, sensation in their feet, and reduction of pain. Anodyne therapy has been approved by the FDA since 1994 and is used also in the physical therapy setting. While an article appearing in 2004 in Diabetes Care (vol.27(1):168-72) indicated that there was benefit to anodyne therapy, another article published in 2008 in Diabetes Care (vol.31(2):316-21) indicated that there was no difference between anodyne therapy and a sham procedure.
Do you have a treatment that has worked for? Please let us know by commenting below.
Disclaimer: Neuropathy Journal articles are intended to be educational, not diagnostic or prescriptive. Patients are encouraged to seek help and direction from their own private physician.