Nerve pain can be debilitating and severe, significantly undermining the quality of life. It can develop in any place in the body and is different for everyone, but it’s commonly described as burning, stabbing, or feeling like sharp electric shocks. Whether your nerve pain is caused by an injury, surgery, or a chronic condition like diabetes or multiple sclerosis, the good news is that there are some powerful, natural ways to treat your discomfort without the continuous use of painkillers. Here are ten of the most effective methods you can try.
1. Apply capsaicin cream
Capsaicin is a compound found in hot chili peppers, and you can find it in several therapeutic creams commonly carried by drugstores. While capsaicin cream stings upon application, many nerve pain plus sufferers report significant improvements in their conditions after 1-2 weeks of daily use.
2. Try green juicing
Green juices and smoothies are another powerful allies in your war against nerve pain. Although you may think “Yuck!” when you look at these beverages, there are ways to make them taste great. For example, a splash of apple juice can make a mix of celery, kale, and cucumber a lot more palatable, and all of these fantastic vegetables have anti-inflammatory properties that will help to reduce nerve pain. As a bonus, many nutritionists believe that green juices can help to cleanse the body of harmful toxins that can contribute to nerve pain.
3. Boost your vitamin intake
Recent research has revealed that large numbers of people diagnosed with diabetic neuropathy are actually suffering from nerve pain caused by low levels of vitamin B6 or B12. Meanwhile, other studies link chronic nerve pain to a lack of vitamins D and E, as well as zinc. Consequently, it’s worth asking your doctor to test you for vitamin and mineral deficiencies—taking supplements could make a big difference to your nerve pain within a few months. For example, one group of patients reported a 47% decrease in nerve pain plus after just 3 months of vitamin D supplementation.
4. Take warm baths
When you submerge your body in warm water, you boost blood flow in a way that can help to reduce nerve pain. Plus, if you find yourself feeling anxious or low when your nerve pain hits, note that a warm bath is also a great treatment for stress. Try adding a relaxing essential oil like sandalwood, sweet marjoram or roman chamomile to make the experience even more peaceful.
5. Get hold of some botanical oils
Emerging research on useful treatments for nerve pain shows that some botanical oils are effective. Geranium oil has the most support from scientific studies at this stage, so try gently rubbing some into the painful area. Geranium appears to be suitable for even the most sensitive skin, and it is also commonly used to treat eczema. Meanwhile, lavender oil can reduce some of the anxiety and stress associated with nerve pain plus as well.
6. Cut back on alcohol
Alcohol is toxic to your nerves, and there is plenty of evidence proving a link between heavy alcohol consumption and an increase in nerve pain. Most doctors suggest fewer than four alcoholic drinks per week for nerve pain sufferers, but personal response varies—try slowly reducing your alcohol intake to discover how much your pained nerves can tolerate.
7. Take regular walks
If your nerve pain is in your feet, going for a walk might be the last thing on your mind. However, studies show that regular exercise helps to expand the blood vessels in the feet, potentially nourishing damaged nerves and restoring proper functionality. Plus, endorphins—also known as “feel-good hormones”—are produced by exercise, and they have natural painkilling properties. You don’t need to run a marathon to get some of these benefits. Start with a short walk each day, and build up your speed and distance over time.
8. Make ginger a staple
Whether you drink a couple of cups of ginger tea each day or regularly grate fresh ginger onto an Asian noodle dish, you’ll benefit from its powerful anti-inflammatory effects. As well as tackling nerve pain, ginger is famous for helping to treat nausea. So, if you’re also suffering from an underlying condition that’s making you queasy, adding ginger to your life is one of the best things you can do.
9. Monitor blood sugar levels
For diabetics, one of the most effective natural ways to treat nerve pain is to keep blood sugar levels under tight control. As well as potentially reducing existing pain, carefully managing your diabetes dramatically reduces the risk of future nerve damage. This tip may also be useful for those diagnosed with prediabetes, who may have to fluctuate blood sugar levels.
10. Look after your feet
Finally, in addition to staying active, it’s important to take very good care of your feet if you suffer from nerve pain in the lower limbs. Often, nerve damage is also associated with reduced sensation, so you won’t always notice if you’ve been injured or are developing an infection—both of which can make your chronic pain worse. To combat these potential sources of further pain, take a close look at your feet every day, and make regular appointments with a podiatrist who can let you know about any developing problems before they get more severe.