Q. Are there any natural approaches for the pain of neuropathy?
A. There are two possibilities. One is alpha lipoic acid. A meta-analysis of 15 randomized controlled trials demonstrated that it is safe and probably effective for treating diabetic nerve pain (European Journal of Endocrinology, Oct. 2012).
The other possibility is benfotiamine, a synthetic derivative of vitamin B1 (Pharmacological Research, June, 2010). It has been investigated as a treatment for diabetic neuropathy (Current Clinical Pharmacology, Nov. 2011).
One reader shared this experience: “Benfotiamine has absolutely stopped the sharp electrical pains in my feet. It has also considerably relieved the tenderness and pain on the skin of my feet. Nothing else helped me.
“I started with 300 mg a day–150 mg in the morning and 150 mg in the evening. I have reduced that now to 75 mg am and 150 mg pm.”

You will find a discussion and other comments on benfotiamine here.

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  1. Jennie B.
    merritt island fl 32953
    Reply

    I hope and for cure real and better relief. The pain is on going, you barely get proper rest.

  2. ib
    Reply

    My mom has neuropathy in her right foot for a couple years now. She’s tried lyrica and many other medications but the only one that’s worked for her is Cymbalta. It obviously didn’t take her pain away 100% but it took it down to where its bearable.

  3. Nick
    Reply

    Is any form of exercise, stretching etc. helpful for effects of Neuropathy?
    Terrible leg, and arm pain exists, taking meds that are not effective, maybe should try the above mentioned remedies?
    Thank you for your response.

  4. Bonnie M.
    Reply

    I totally identify with Charles G. I am not diabetic. However, I did have chemo therapy 30 years ago. The neuropathy stated about 20 years ago, hot prickly feet especially in bed and in the summer when it’s hot out side. Shoes are not comfortable for me. I need sandals most of the time, even in winter. My feet do get cold, but that’s much better than hot. I have been on neurontin for years. 300 mg tablets 2 morning, noon and bedtime. I’m afraid to go off now. It there anything out there to help?

  5. wf reps
    Reply

    I have genetic neuropathy in both legs, and it feels like it is coming over my knees. I have no pain….just numbness in the feet and a burning sensation on the legs. I have no current vitamin shortage; recently taken 2000mg of primrose oil for relief…but have none.
    Tried accupuncture, no relief. Had a spinal shot to unblock nerves locked in lower spine where there is stenosis in disk…no relief.
    Saw neuro clinic at VA…no cure; had vascular blood flow tests, no problems…tried pool rehab treatments – 16 visits, wobbling and standing of one hour, upper and lower body range of motion…no relief. Takes 2 days to recover from one session. Will start new sessions Oct 2nd at VA.
    Mayo Clinic: “no treatment or cure”….NIH had lots of info,mostly research.
    *It seems genetic neuropathy is tough… How much and often do I take Alpha Lipoic acid?
    *Had rt knee minestectomy 4 mos ago, torn miniscus. Knee seems to be very
    slow healing, is this because of the neuropathy?
    Thanks for your response….God bless.
    WF Reps

  6. SJCW
    Reply

    This was also very informative. I have never heard of the Pettibon Chiropatic therapy. How do you find out if anyone in your area offers it? Do most insurances cover some of the cost? I am a little confused after reading both 1& 2 sites but am willing to try anything yo help my pain and neuropathy!
    I have fibromyalgia, type II Diabetes, Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Temporal Arthritis along with other diagnosis. I am in my 69’s and would like to try to stop whatever damage has already been done and try to PREVENT any further damage co assume the damage doesn’t show up for many years! Am I correct in assuming that? I have had both for many years BEFORE finally being diagnosed!!
    Any help y’all can give me will be MOST appreciated!! Am I the ONLY person CONFUSED? And do not know what to try first? Thank you and God Bless you all. I will pray for each of you!! The power of PRAYER is AMAZING!!!

  7. charles g.
    Reply

    I have neuropathy in my feet have had it for eight or nine yrs. I am not diabetic. I have tried lyrica 100mg 3times per day, no relief, gabopentine 300mg 3times per day no relief. have tried vitamin b1 and b12 at high doses with no results either. have had foot therapy, nothing seems to help. There is a place in minneapolis that gives laser treatments. I was wondering if that is something you are acquainted with and what the results have been. I have had circulation tests on my legs and that is good. My age is 73yrs. I am very active in the farming occupation so get lots of exercise, I cannot seem to get a pair of shoes that are comfortable, feet always burning and pricking top and bottom walking or sitting. Any cure or advice would sure be welcome as I have a tough time sleeping at night also. thanks

  8. Minna W.
    Reply

    I have nerves pain from a surgery.

  9. Julia C.
    Reply

    I’ll have to try the vapor rub. About a year ago, a severe B-12 deficiency left me with nerve damage in my feet and lower legs, and what I can feel of them, is non-stop, excruciating pain. It feels like I’m constantly being electrocuted, and like I have fresh 2nd degree burns on my feet in particular. Lyrica was the only thing I’ve ever found to help, but I can’t afford it. The pain is maddening. Sometimes, late at night, I just unravel in tears, as I’m so tired, but the stabbing, throbbing sensations make it nearly impossible to sleep. It takes 5+ hours in bed before I finally manage to drift off, when I’m lucky. Living like this is almost unbearable.

  10. fbl
    Reply

    Despoina S., I mentioned Pettibon Chiropractic in a post above. I’m sure this would help tremendously.
    MMB, this treatment might also help you. Keep in mind this is not a passive therapy. It requires daily PT at home as well as office visits. Yes, it is a lot of work! Is it worth it? You bet!
    Before I started Pettibon therapy in 2002 I was in terrible pain that was not helped by any pain med at all (nope not even morphine!). I was homebound, couldn’t drive, and most days couldn’t even cook dinner. I spent years existing in my barely lucid world.
    Yes, I still do my exercises (PT) five days a week and twice a day I do 20 minutes (7 days a week) on my Rebounder. The first session is to strengthen my hip muscles so that I can walk and the second session is simply bouncing up and down for my circulation, which is excellent. I have a safety bar that I hold with one hand and read the book in my other hand.
    Because of my sensitivity to metals I can’t get a hip replacement and my Pettibon Chiropractor started me doing exercises to keep the hip mobile. I also do stretching exercises in the pool/spa.

  11. Despoina S.
    Reply

    Hello! My father was diagnosed with cervical spondylosis myelopathy and having only numbness in left hand he had surgery in 2011 which didn’t help at all. Now he has pains every where, exhaustion, burnings in his face and neck, numbness in his left arm and both legs and major difficulty in walking. He is mostly laying in bed.. I am open in any suggestions of treatment!!!!

  12. MMB
    Reply

    Thank you, JDS! Your prayers are so appreciated! It just occurred to me that more of my healing could have come from the prayers I am receiving from my church family than from the soap. Both things were started at the same time. I will put you on our prayer chain so that you can also reap those miracles! I will be praying for you as well. Another note to the soap; I actually had the soap touching my hip at all times while in bed, which has been almost 24 hours per day. I was actually able to go to church yesterday, after only 6 days in bed! I was told it would be a very slow recovery, so that was more than I ever expected. I do know that the prayers are the number one thing for any of us in any situation! Please keep me posted as to how you are progressing and what they find out. God bless!

  13. JDS
    Reply

    MMB, thanks for the reply. I certainly hope you can find a way to get good relief from your misery.
    I tried the soap in the bed routine for leg cramps and it didn’t do me any good at all. I’m happy it is helping you.
    I am going through all sorts of diagnostic tests at this time. My neurosurgeon prescribed an ultrasound test on my legs and they found abnormalities. I then had an MRA for blood flow and it appears I have a blockage in my aorta which is restricting proper blood flow to my hips, legs, etc. That may be a big part of the problems rather than my failed back surgery.
    Time will tell. It’s a long process of elimination but certainly worth the efforts if something helps. I pray your situation can be improved as well.

  14. MMB
    Reply

    JDS: this sounds like what I am going thru right now. I have a spinal cord injury and am a quadriplegic, but have regained the US of my upper body, and can walk with a walker due to prayer and physical therapy. I am I a manual wheelchair, and from sitting, I have horrible pain when seated. There is no visible bruising, but the pain is horrible. I have been told it’s bursitis.
    A couple of nights ago, the burning started in my upper thighs, thru my buttocks, into my lower back. I went to DR thinking I had the beginnings of shingles. Felt like I had a horrible sunburn and then had someone beat the sunburn with a paddle til I blistered! Doc said it was my sciatic nerve causing the burning, as it too was being compromised from the bursitis.
    I saw on this site to sleep with a bar of soap to was pains. Tried this last night and it seemed to help. I am going to continue, as it’s safe and easy to do.
    My physical therapist did tell me to ask doctor about piriforms syndrome, as well. He didn’t think that was the case for me, but might be for you. You can research both of these things online for their symptoms. Hope this helps you! God bless!

  15. JDS
    Reply

    I have a situation where my buttocks are burning when seated. I have had back surgery which failed that causes me all sorts of problems but my Neurosurgeon doesn’t think that is causing the painful burning in my buttocks. My primary care doctor says I don’t have diabetes but it seems like I have a lot of symptoms of it. I’m going to try to find ALA at my health food store to see if that will help.
    Does anyone else have this problem and what did you do for it?

  16. fbl
    Reply

    Harold M, Carpal Tunnel can be cured by good chiropractor or physiotherapist. I learned that the hard way. My left wrist tested worse than my right but didn’t hurt so I told them to leave it alone. I had surgery on my right.
    Many years later my left wrist started hurting. By that time I was going to a very good Pettibon Chiropractor and he showed me how to manipulate it myself so that I’d never have to go through surgery. That was over ten years ago and I’m still good!
    I’d be willing to bet the same type of manipulation would work for your ankles and feet as well.

  17. Harold M.
    Reply

    Fifteen years ago, a neurologist performed a procedure on my wrists, elbows, ankles. The procedure is called Electromyography (EMC), and it is used to diagnose carpal-tunnel syndrome. I developed carpal-tunnel syndrome in both wrists that required surgery. The neurologist alerted me that the same condition as carpal-tunnel syndrome would occur in my ankles and feet in two years, but the condition is not named carpal-tunnel syndrome. I am not diabetic. I am prescribed Amitriptyline, 50-mg, which I am told is also prescribed for bipolar disorder. This medication only works 50% for me, and I sleep 2 hours in my bed and 4 hours in a recliner so my feet touch the floor. I can only sleep if seated or standing.
    I have tried both over-the-counter products used for diabetic neuropathy, but neither product works alone or together. Are there other remedies for neuropathy I can try?

  18. Bill
    Reply

    I’ve read somewhere that beets and/or Borscht might be helpful for neuropathy? Am I right?

  19. Anh Nguyen, PharmD, BCACP
    Reply

    GGMaw,
    You are not a nutcase :) I am pharmacist, and Vicks has menthol in it, which is why it is helping you for your nerve pain or the “prickly” feeling in your feet.
    Anh

  20. GGMaw
    Reply

    I may sound like a nut case. For the last few years when I am trying to sleep, my feet will feel like I’ve been running through a cactus bed. I was really miserable. I tried to cure a nail fungus with Vicks and found when I covered my feet with Vicks and wore socks to sleep, my feet were fine. (Did not cure the nail fungus.) I use Vicks every night and if I ever try to skip – the problem returns. I am not diabetic, but have had several back surgeries and nerves in my back are damaged.

  21. fbl
    Reply

    My Dr. is a medical Dr. as well as a homeopathic physician and an acupuncturist. He has a lot of tools in his medical bag. He has been my family Dr. for over 20 years.
    He has many diabetic patients with severe neuropathy. I know this because I went through IV chelation therapy for a blockage in the “widow maker” artery. It was because of the damage done to my heart by my shoulder harness seat belt in an auto accident.
    While undergoing the chelation process I talked to many patients who were diabetic and going through the chelation process for nerve pain.
    The most memorable patient was a guy who had diabetes and his foot was black. The Drs. wanted to amputate it. He’d had a stent in his heart that they also wanted to replace. He started chelation just after I did. When I finished my treatment his foot looked almost normal and he no longer had pain.

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