January 16, 2020

Can You Stop Neuropathy From Getting Worse?

The short answer from a neurologist

neuropathy pain in hands

Slowing or stopping the progression of neuropathy is really dependent on the underlying cause of it. Some types of neuropathy are treatable, others are not, and most fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum (there are over 100 different types):

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  • Hereditary/genetic neuropathies tend to fall to one end of the spectrum and are often difficult to slow and improve. But just because there isn’t a specific treatment does not mean there aren’t workarounds to improving pain and managing symptoms.
  • Autoimmune neuropathies tend to fall on the other end of the spectrum and are typically responsive to treatment and management.
  • Neuropathies of diabetes (previously referred to as diabetic neuropathies), medication-induced neuropathies, and a variety of others make up the middle portion of the spectrum. Treatment and pain control often varies depending on the cause and other personal factors.

For many people, lifestyle changes and management are usually successful in slowing the progression of neuropathy.

These changes can include:

  • Losing weight.
  • Exercising.
  • Monitoring blood sugar levels.
  • Not smoking.
  • Limiting alcohol.
  • Making sure injuries and infections don’t go unnoticed or untreated (this is particularly true for people who have neuropathies of diabetes).
  • Improving vitamin deficiencies.
  • Managing stress and practicing mindfulness.
  • Attending physical therapy.
  • Wearing orthopedic braces to compensate for weakness and balance loss.
  • Making sure your environment includes assistive devices (like canes or walkers) and is well-lit to reduce your fall risk.

Still, the most important thing you can do to slow the progression of neuropathy is to see your doctor and discuss your care plan. Together you can manage symptoms, reduce pain and get you back to enjoying your life.

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Neurologist Benjamin Claytor, MD.

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