Currently there are no treatments that can cure inherited peripheral neuropathy. However, there are therapies for many other types of neuropathy. Underlying conditions are treated first, followed by symptomatic treatment. Peripheral nerves have the capacity to regenerate, provided that the nerve cell itself has not died. Symptoms often can be controlled and the elimination of the causes of specific types of neuropathy often can prevent the development of new lesions.
In general, adopting healthy habits-such as maintaining proper weight, avoid exposure to toxins, following an exercise program supervised by a doctor, eating a balanced diet, correcting vitamin deficiencies, and limiting or avoiding alcohol consumption can reduce physical and emotional effects of peripheral neuropathy. Passive and active forms of exercise can reduce cramps, improve muscle strength and prevent muscle wasting in paralyzed limbs. Several dietary strategies can relieve gastrointestinal symptoms. Early treatment of injury can prevent permanent damage. Smoking cessation is particularly important because smoking constricts the blood vessels that supply nutrients to the peripheral nerves and can worsen neuropathic symptoms. The capacity for self-care, such as the meticulous care of the feet, plus a lengthy treatment of wounds in people with diabetes or others that have reduced ability to feel pain can alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life even known to promote nerve regeneration.
Systemic diseases often require more complex treatments. Strict control of glucose levels reduces neuropathic symptoms and helps people with diabetic neuropathy to prevent further damage to the nerves. Inflammatory and autoimmune diseases that lead to the development of neuropathy can be controlled in several ways. Immunosuppressive drugs such as prednisone, cyclosporine, or azathioprine may be beneficial. Plasmapheresis-a procedure in which blood is removed is removed immune system cells and antibodies and then returned to the body-can limit inflammation or suppress immune system activity. Give high doses of immunoglobulins, proteins that function as antibodies, can also suppress the abnormal activity of the immune system.
Neuropathic pain is often difficult to control. Mild pain can sometimes be alleviated by analgesics sold at drugstores without a prescription. There are several types of drugs that have recently proved useful for patients suffering from chronic severe neuropathic pain. They include mexiletine, a drug developed to correct irregular heart rhythms (which sometimes can be associated with severe side effects). Others include anti-epileptic drugs such as gabapentin, phenytoin and carbamazepine and some types of tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline. Injections of local anesthetics containing lidocaine may relieve more persistent pain. In severe cases, doctors may sever nerves through surgery, but sometimes the results are only temporary and the procedure can cause complications.
The mechanical attachments can help reduce pain and lessen the impact of physical disability. The mechanical devices for the feet or hands can compensate for muscle weakness or decrease the compression of a nerve. Orthopedic shoes can improve gait alterations and prevent foot injuries in people with loss of pain sensation. If breathing becomes extremely difficult, mechanical ventilation delivers essential aid to preserve life.
Surgery can sometimes provide immediate relief to the mono-neuropathies caused by injuries resulting from compression or entrapment. The intervertebral disc repair in the spinal cord reduces the pressure on the nerves where they emerge from the spine. The removal of a malignant or benign tumor may also alleviate damaging pressure on nerves. Nerve entrapment can often be corrected surgically releasing the ligaments or tendons.