Neuropathy is a medical condition that affects the nerves, often causing pain, numbness, and tingling in the hands and feet.
Not only is it painful, but it can make even the simplest tasks impossible. While there is no cure for neuropathy, your doctor may prescribe medications to help treat it, but there are also a number of natural remedies that can also help.
In this article, we will discuss foot soaks and other natural home remedies for neuropathy while also exploring other treatment options available to if you suffer from this condition.
What is neuropathy?
Neuropathy, also called peripheral neuropathy, is a term used to describe damage to the nervous system that occurs outside of your brain or spinal cord.
These damaged nerves can lead to numbness or a loss of feeling in the affected area, as well as pain and muscle weakness.
Other common neuropathy symptoms include a tingling sensation similar to pins and needles, hypersensitivity, and a burning sensation.
In severe cases where your nerve is lacerated, it can even cause paralysis. If you have neuropathy, it is usually chronic and can progressively become worse.
Thankfully, there are medications and home remedies that can be used to help treat the symptoms that we will discuss below.
What causes neuropathy?
There are many different causes of neuropathy the most common include:
Neuropathy caused by diabetes is also called diabetic neuropathy.
Diabetes occurs when you have high blood sugar levels (blood glucose levels) for an extended period which can damage your nerves, especially the ones in your feet and legs.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is an inherited genetic disorder that damages your peripheral nerves. The damage usually starts in your feet and legs and then progresses upward.
An injury to your nerves can occur from a laceration, crush injury, or prolonged pressure on the nerve.
These injuries usually heal themselves although they can sometimes lead to permanent nerve damage.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome can also occur due to prior injuries which causes pain and tingling in your feet although it can also occur on its own.
Chemotherapy and cancer
Cancer and the treatments used to fight it can also lead to neuropathy.
Chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancer are known to damage nerves.
If you have certain types of cancer such as lymphoma or leukemia are also at an increased risk of developing neuropathy.
Alcohol abuse or liver damage
Drinking too much alcohol can lead to neuropathy.
Alcohol abuse can damage your liver which then causes a build-up of toxins due to your body’s inability to absorb certain minerals and vitamins which can damage your nerves.
These conditions can also be caused by liver damage such as chronic liver disease that can be unrelated to heavy alcohol use too.
Autoimmune diseases occur when your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake.
Some examples of autoimmune diseases include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and celiac disease which can all damage the nerves in your body.
Small fiber neuropathy
Small fiber neuropathy is a type of neuropathy that damages the small unmyelinated fibers in your nervous system which are responsible for sending pain signals to your brain.
The cause of this condition is unknown but it has been associated with diabetes, celiac disease, and autoimmune diseases.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
CRPS is a type of chronic pain that is caused by damage to your nervous system. It usually affects one limb such as an arm or leg and the pain is out of proportion to the initial injury.
The cause of CRPS is unknown but it has been associated with previous injuries, surgery, and certain autoimmune diseases.
Some infections can cause nerve damage too and these include HIV, shingles, Lyme disease, and Guillain-Barré syndrome.
Can a foot soak help alleviate the symptoms of neuropathy?
There is no cure for neuropathy but there are treatments that can help alleviate the symptoms and both warm water and cold water foot soaks are used although warm water foot soaks are more common.
Foot soaks can help improve poor circulation, reduce inflammation, and relieve neuropathic pain. Different ingredients can be used for a foot soak and we will discuss them below.
- A soothing foot bath isn’t an option for people with nerve damage to their feet. If you can’t feel the temperature, how can you avoid an injury?
- Introducing SafeSoak- A soaking basin invented by a board-certified wound specialist and foot surgeon that uses proprietary color-changing technology to warn the user when the water is too hot to soak your feet.
- Doctor developed and approved. Safe for Diabetes and Neuropathy.
- Easy, Simple to use. No thermometer needed!
What are the best foot warm water foot soaks for neuropathy?
There are many different recipes for foot soaks but we have listed some of the best ones below.
An Epsom salt foot soak is one of the best and most popular foot soaks for neuropathy. The magnesium sulfate in Epsom salt can help reduce inflammation, improve blood circulation, and relieve foot pain.
Apple cider vinegar
Another popular foot soak is one made with apple cider vinegar which is thought to help improve blood flow and relieve pain. Apple cider vinegar is also antifungicidal and antimicrobial as well.
Essential oils such as lavender, eucalyptus, ginger, and peppermint oil can also be used in a foot soak and are thought to have soothing and pain-relieving properties.
Please note that although some studies have been conducted for some of these foot soaks most evidence is anecdotal and more clinical studies and research needs to be done before any firm conclusions can be deduced by using them for neuropathy.
Also, always test the water temperature before soaking your feet as hot water can burn your skin.
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What are other alternative remedies for neuropathy?
There are many other natural home remedies that can help alleviate the symptoms of neuropathy and may help with your overall foot care. Some of these include:
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine treatment that involves inserting thin needles into the skin at specific points. It is thought to help relieve pain by stimulating the nervous system although more research is needed to prove its benefits.
Massage can also help relieve pain by improving circulation and relaxing the muscles. It can also help reduce stress and anxiety which can worsen the symptoms of neuropathy.
Yoga and meditation
Yoga is a form of exercise that helps improve flexibility, strength, and balance. It can also help reduce stress and anxiety.
Meditation is a practice that helps you focus and clear your mind. It can also help reduce stress and anxiety. Both may help with neuropathy but more studies need to be conducted to prove their benefits.
Turmeric, fish oil, and ginger supplements among others are thought to help with neuropathy. However, please note that supplements can interact with medications so always speak to your doctor before taking them.
Also, there is no scientific basis for their benefits for neuropathy as more research is needed to prove these claims.
What are other options to help treat neuropathy?
There are several other options available to help treat neuropathy and these need to be discussed with your doctor. Some of these include:
- Prescription medication
- Physical therapy
- Topicals containing lidocaine or capsaicin
- Lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly
As noted above, please consult with your doctor or health care provider before starting any treatment option for neuropathy.
Neuropathy is a condition that causes pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness and can be caused by diabetes, chemotherapy, injuries, and other conditions.
There is no cure for neuropathy but there are many different home remedies available to help alleviate its symptoms including foot soaks that can help improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and relieve pain.
There are many different recipes for foot soaks and some of the most common ones include Epsom salt, apple cider vinegar, and essential oils.
Other alternative remedies for neuropathy include acupuncture, massage, yoga, meditation, natural supplements, and lifestyle changes.
If you have any more questions about how to treat neuropathy, please consult with your doctor or health care provider before starting any treatment option for it.
References and sources:
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Diabetic.org is devoted to producing expert and accurate articles and information for our readers by hiring experts, journalists, medical professionals, and our growing Diabetic.org community. We encourage you to read more about our content, editing, and fact checking methods here. This was fact checked by Erik Rivera and medically reviewed by Dr. Angel Rivera.
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