Treatments include antidepressants such as amitriptyline, pain relievers such as oxycodone, anti-seizure medications, and pain-relieving creams. It is also important to treat the underlying condition. Surgical treatment may be recommended for people with nerve damage due to nerve injury or compression. Mobility aids, such as a cane, walker, or wheelchair, may be helpful.
For pain, the doctor may prescribe painkillers. Treatment of peripheral neuropathy may include treatment of any underlying cause or symptoms. Treatment may be more effective for certain underlying causes. For example, making sure diabetes is well controlled can help improve neuropathy or at least prevent it from getting worse.
The type of symptoms you feel depends on the type of nerve damaged. However, it can also affect the autonomic nerves and motor nerves. If your neuropathy is due to an underlying condition that can be treated, you may be able to stop peripheral neuropathy by treating the larger problem. Understanding the causes of neuropathy provides the basis for finding effective prevention and treatment strategies.
Early diagnosis and treatment of peripheral neuropathy is important, because peripheral nerves have a limited ability to regenerate and treatment can only stop progression, not reverse damage. NINDS-funded research ranges from clinical studies of the genetics and natural history of hereditary neuropathies to discoveries of new causes and treatments for neuropathy, to basic scientific research on the biological mechanisms responsible for chronic neuropathic pain. The effective prognosis and treatment of peripheral neuropathy largely depends on the cause of nerve damage. When a person's neuropathy occurs as a result of compression of a single nerve, treatment is similar regardless of which nerve is affected.
Peripheral neuropathy is a broad term that describes any change in nerves and their function in the extremities of the body, most commonly in the feet and legs. Talk to your doctor before trying these treatments if they might interfere with your ongoing treatment. It has been estimated that more than 20 million people in the United States have some form of peripheral neuropathy, but this figure may be significantly higher, not everyone with symptoms of neuropathy is tested for the disease, and testing does not currently look for all forms of neuropathy.