Nerve pain describes neuropathy, which is a condition that affects the nerves. When you have neuropathy, you exhibit symptoms such as irritation and pain in your nerve endings across different parts of the body.
Neuropathy can result from different conditions; however, most people get it due to diabetes complications and chemotherapy side effects.
There are conventional nerve pain treatments, but it would not hurt to consider vitamins and supplements. As we know, vitamins and supplements can have more benefits other than relieving the pain associated with the nerves.
This guide talks about the cause of nerve pain, and which types of vitamins and supplements can be great for you.
Causes of Nerve Pain
The nerve pain can be from physical injuries or disease. Below are some scenarios that could lead to nerve pain.
- Diabetes is a common denominator in people who might have to deal with nerve pain. When the body is always exposed to high blood sugar, it could easily injure the nerves and thus the pain.
- Physical injuries can easily lead to damage of the nerves. This is where the nerves can be crushed, compressed, or even severed. At this point, you are likely to experience a lot of pain.
- Shingles can result in postherpetic neuralgia. This condition is characterized as being painful. The pain can be sudden and severe, making it worse.
- HIV can also lead to painful nerve damage. It is estimated that one-third of people living with HIV have some kind of nerve pain in their hands and feet. The antiretroviral drugs can still lead to nerve damage and thus pain.
- Cancer and other types of tumors can easily cause nerve pain. When the tumors grow, they press onto the surrounding nerves. This is what leads to more pain. Even the cancer treatment methods such as chemotherapy can still lead to nerve damage.
- The degenerative disc or joint disease will also lead to nerve pain. A herniated disc will have the same effect on a person.
Symptoms of Nerve Damage
The symptoms will vary from one person to another. For most people, their nerves become hypersensitive. A good example is when a breeze on the arm leads to pain. Or even when bed sheets rub against your body, it feels painful.
Other than pain, nerve damage can also result in loss of reflexes, numbness, tingling, and prickling.
In extreme cases, nerve damage could also lead to paralysis and sometimes affect breathing and digestion.
The overall severity of the nerve pain depends on the underlying condition. If the condition has worsened, you will experience more nerve pain.
Top 8 Vitamins and Supplements for Nerve Pain
Choosing the best vitamins and supplements for nerve pain does not have to be complex. Below are some of the options you can consider getting for yourself.
- B Vitamins
Peripheral neuropathy is also referred to as vitamin B deficiency. So, it will be a good source of the right vitamins essential for nerve pain.
The supplement needs to have vitamins B-1, B-6, and B-12. You will have the option of choosing the supplements separately or opting for B complex, which will have all of them combined.
Vitamin B-1 is vital to reduce inflammation and pain you might feel from the condition. The same is crucial for preventing cellular damage.
Having vitamin B-12 deficiency is not something you may want. This is because if left untreated, it can easily lead to permanent nerve damage.
Other than buying supplements rich in B vitamins, there are some food options to consider too. Some include meat, vegetables, poultry, fish, fortified cereals, and eggs.
Consider using these foods in addition to supplements as the B vitamins are known to promote faster and better nerve repair.
- Fish Oil
Fish oil is another top consideration as a supplement to treat neuropathy. It is a desired option since it has anti-inflammatory effects and can help repair the damaged nerves.
The same can still relieve muscle soreness because of various activities. Taking 2400 to 5400mg daily should be enough to improve your condition.
The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can be found in foods such as sardines, salmon, walnuts, mackerel, caviar, and more.
Curcumin is commonly used as a cooking herb. However, it can still be a great supplement for nerve pain. This is because it comes with impressive antioxidant, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
The supplement will relieve any tingling and numbness you may experience in your feet and hands.
It is advisable to use curcumin during the early stages of nerve pain. This ensures that the inflammation and pain are kept to a minimum as much as possible. It may also help prevent the development of chronic neuropathy.
- N-Acetyl Cysteine
Since it is an amino acid and antioxidant, this supplement will be highly coveted for various medical world applications. So, other than using it to treat neuropathic pain, the same will reduce inflammation too.
You may not find it common in foods like the others, but the parent cysteine form is available in high protein foods. It is advisable to keep the dosage around 1,200mg twice per day.
Several studies show how N-Acetyl cysteine can come in handy to treat diabetic neuropathy. If you have diabetes, using it can reduce nerve pain and improve your motor coordination.
Its antioxidant properties will also improve any nerve damage as a result of apoptosis and oxidative stress.
This is an antioxidant and amino acid crucial for dealing with nerve pain. Its work is to raise energy levels, reduce the pain associated with nerve pain, and further develop healthy nerve cells.
It is mostly taken as a supplement with a dose of 500mg two times a day.
The common food sources for acetyl-L-carnitine include fish, poultry, dairy products, and meat. The best part is that most people like eating such foods more often, so they should help improve your nerve pain.
A couple of studies show that acetyl-L-carnitine is also essential for fatigue from cancer treatments, physical conditions, and chemotherapy-induced neuropathy. As such, it is quite a versatile supplement to use for other conditions.
- Alpha-lipoic Acid
This antioxidant is commonly used to treat nerve pain as a result of cancer treatment or diabetes. Generally, it will lower blood sugar levels, improve nerve functionality, and relieve the user from uncomfortable symptoms.
Alpha-lipoic acid can be taken as a supplement or still administered intravenously. The average recommended dosage is 600 to 1200mg per day.
Some of the foods with alpha-lipoic acid in trace amounts include liver, red meat, broccoli, spinach, brewer’s yeast, and more.
Since most who have used lipoic acid claim it greatly reduces neuropathic pain, more people would consider using it more often.
Since we have established that amino acids are important, this is another choice as an amino acid. It is probably the most abundant amino acid you can get around the home in foods or supplements.
Glutamine is crucial for improving chemotherapy side effects. Such include neuropathy, muscle pain, and inflammation.
The food sources for glutamine are wheat, peanuts, milk, egg whites, soybeans, corn, and barley.
The body produces glutathione naturally. However, sometimes it might be necessary to get some additional amounts from supplements.
Also, foods such as okra, avocados, and asparagus contain high levels of glutathione. When digestion breaks up glutathione, it makes it hard for the body to absorb it. It is the reason most people opt for supplements.
Always talk to your doctor to find the right methods of utilizing glutathione, depending on your body.
Other Treatment Options
Other than using vitamins and supplements, you may also use the following treatment options for nerve pain.
- Topical treatments such as creams, gels, patches, and lotion can ease nerve pain. Keep in mind that topical treatments are best for pains in isolated areas on the skin.
- The anticonvulsants were first developed to treat epilepsy, but now they also help control nerve pain. To make them better, they are commonly combined with antidepressants.
- Some antidepressants can come in handy to help with nerve pain. Studies show that tricyclic antidepressants are ideal for diabetic nerve pain. However, they might not work great for nerve pain as a result of chemotherapy or HIV.
- Painkillers can be a great option for nerve pain. Just make sure you do not end up being addicted to them. The most common painkillers are powerful opioids. However, most doctors would prescribe anti-inflammatories or other over the counter pain relievers.
- Electrical stimulation is an emerging way of treating nerve pain. In this case, you will use TENS stimulation to help repair the damaged nerves. Some complex stimulations can sometimes need surgery to apply them to the patient.
- Lifestyle changes might not cure nerve pain, but changing some of your habits can help you feel better. Consider exercising more, eating a healthy diet, and quit smoking to improve your health.
Nerve pain is something no one wants to experience more often. It is uncomfortable and sometimes gets you unaware. As such, it is good to consult with your doctor to find the best solution for your problem.
As mentioned before, nerve pain can be a result of other underlying conditions. As such, you may want to consider understanding the condition and treating it better too.
You should also be open to other methods for relieving nerve pain, such as vitamins and supplements. This is because new methods are always coming up in the medical world.