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Natural therapies to treat neuropathic pain

neuropathic pain

In recent years, some natural therapies have been accepted as a complement against neuropathic pain. Although they are not a first-line treatment against this condition, they can be suggested to patients as adjuvants to improve symptoms and have a better quality of life.

Neuropathic pain is pain that appears as a result of an injury or dysfunction of the nervous system, as defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain -IASP, for its acronym in English. It can be located in the central nervous system, bone marrow and brain, or peripheral areas, nerves, plexuses and microscopic nerve endings.

It is often a chronic and severe pain whose treatment can be difficult. Therefore, it is necessary to consult the doctor and evaluate the therapeutic options according to the case. Anyway, as we have mentioned, some natural therapies that seem to help manage the symptoms can also be considered.

Natural therapies for neuropathic pain

According to information published in The Lancet Neurology, neuropathic pain is characterized by continuous or stabbing spontaneous pain that appears after noxious or non-noxious stimuli. In patients who suffer from it, pain responses are amplified, which decreases their quality of life.

Given its complexity, both its diagnosis and treatment are difficult to establish. However, and according to this same source, there are advanced pharmacological treatments that can help control symptoms. These include options like:

  • Amitriptyline, gabapentin and pregabalin, which are usually the first line of choice.
  • Duloxetine, a second option.
  • Opioids, tramadol and topical drugs.
  • Other antiepileptic and antidepressant drugs.

Now, thanks to recent research, some natural therapies have been proposed that could contribute to the management of neuropathic pain symptoms. Although it is advisable to first consult with the professional before starting your practice, they are options that can be considered within the treatment.

CBD (cannabidiol oil)

The analgesic properties of cannabinoids are basically due to the presence of cannabinoid receptors CB1 (and to a lesser extent CB2, and TRPV) at the level of the central and peripheral nervous system. A pain stimulus reaches the spinal cord through nerve pathways and from there is transmitted to areas of the brain related to pain processing. The activation of cannabinoid receptors present in both the spinal cord and the brain inhibit the transmission of these painful signals. At the peripheral level, in addition to inhibiting signal transmission, CB2 activation reduces the release of proinflammatory mediators at the site of injury.

The endocannabinoid system is frequently located alongside the most powerful and best-known pain control system: the opioid system. Both are present in the main nervous structures involved in pain transmission and a synergistic effect between both systems in pain control has been observed.


Acupuncture is a type of complementary therapy that is part of traditional Chinese medicine. During its practice, small needles are inserted into the skin, at various pressure points, with the aim of helping balance the energy within the body.

From the point of view of Western medicine, this type of therapy helps to stimulate the nerves and muscles. For this reason, it is considered that it can be an adjuvant to improve blood circulation and reduce the response to pain. However, more studies are necessary in this regard.

Despite this, many patients with neuropathic pain have chosen to resort to this therapy to improve their symptoms.

In any case, it is a therapy that must be applied by licensed professionals, since it also carries risks. Poor practice can lead to injuries, infections and a variety of other complications.

Physical exercise

One of the best natural therapies for neuropathic pain is physical exercise. In fact, in conventional medicine it is one of the habits that is suggested to improve the health and quality of life of patients affected by this condition.

Regular exercise helps increase muscle tone and promotes circulation; Therefore, it can help calm some symptoms of neuropathy. A study published in Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience determined that exercise training helps improve nerve function and decreases neuropathic pain, as well as other types of sensory dysfunction, such as numbness.

On the other hand, exercise also helps control blood glucose levels, which helps reduce the risk of complications related to diabetic neuropathy. The ideal is to start gradually, without exceeding physical capacity. In addition, it is advisable to request support from a professional trainer or physical therapist.

Meditation and yoga

Techniques such as meditation and yoga can be considered complementary in case of neuropathic pain. Both practices can help the person better cope with the pain caused by their condition. Likewise, they are ideal for calming stress and other emotions that can worsen the condition.

Research published in the International Journal of MS Care determined that meditation helps reduce fatigue and pain caused by neuropathy. In addition, it also contributes to improving the mental health of patients, who are prone to stress, anxiety and depression.

Meanwhile, a recent study in the Annals of Neurosciences indicates that yogic practices could be used as a complement to control neuropathic pain caused by bone marrow lesions. Its careful practice could have a positive impact on pain management.

The recommendations for practicing both disciplines are similar, and in fact they can be combined. The ideal is to find a quiet and comfortable space, away from any distractions. Furthermore, if possible, it should be done with the help of an expert on the subject who can correctly guide your practice.

Are there other natural therapies for neuropathic pain?

In addition to the natural therapies mentioned, there are other options that can be considered in case of neuropathic pain. The most important thing is to be clear that none replaces medical treatment and should be applied with due caution. Options include:

  • Take baths with warm water.
  • Use topical ointments with capsaicin.
  • Ensure an optimal supply of vitamins, especially the B complex.
  • Use essential oils through massages or aromatherapy.
  • Avoid the consumption of alcohol and tobacco.

If you are affected by this condition, remember to maintain regular medical checkups. Doctors and health specialists are the only ones who can indicate a complete treatment for this type of pain.

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