Foot in a vice, diabetic nerve pain, ease foot pain, help neuropathy, remedies for nerve pain

Physicians find neuropathy difficult to manage. This nerve pain can easily become chronic if it is not interrupted early in its course. When pain originates in the nervous system itself, relatively few treatments can quell it effectively. People taking medications such as duloxetine (Cymbalta) or pregabalin (Lyrica) that are prescribed for neuropathy may end up with unanticipated side effects. Little wonder, then, that many people are searching for natural remedies for nerve pain.

Can Turmeric Ease Neuropathy?

Q. I suffer from nerve pain (neuropathy) in my toes and feet. I am looking for a natural approach to dealing with this problem.

Is there any research to suggest that turmeric could be helpful? If not, what do you recommend?

A. As far as we can tell, there are no clinical trials demonstrating that the active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, can ease the pain of neuropathy. That said, there are theoretical reasons that this natural product might be helpful (Zhang et al, Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Nov. 24, 2013). Curcumin appears to affect opioid sensors in the nervous system (Banafshe et al, European Journal of Pharmacology, Jan. 15, 2014).

Other Natural Remedies for Nerve Pain:

There are some other possibilities worth discussing with your physician. First, make sure you are not deficient in any nutrients that could contribute to neuropathy, such as vitamin B6 or vitamin B12.

Check Out Benfotiamine:

Then, ask about benfotiamine. This synthetic version of thiamine has been used to treat diabetic neuropathy (Javed et al, Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease, Jan. 2015).

Might Marijuana Help?

If medical marijuana is legal in your state, it might be worth considering. A meta-analysis of five randomized trials “suggests that inhaled cannabis may provide short-term relief for 1 in 5 to 6 patients with neuropathic pain” (Andreae et al, Journal of Pain, Dec. 2015).

Another option is cannabidiol. It is a derivative of marijuana but does not make people high. You might want to listen to our interview with Dr. David Casarett on the medical uses of marijuana.

Expressive Writing Is Another Option:

We recently interviewed Dr. David Hanscom about his approach to chronic back pain. In addition to adequate sleep and good nutrition, Dr. Hanscom advocates a practice of expressive writing: putting down your thoughts and feelings about the pain on paper, then tearing it up. If you would like to listen to Show 1071 with Dr. Hanscom, here is a link.

Like other natural remedies for nerve pain, expressive writing may work better for some individuals than for others. At least, that is the conclusion from a study of expressive writing for lymphadenopathy, a complication of breast cancer treatment (Sohl et al, Psychology & Health, March 30, 2017).

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  1. Brenda
    Bham uk

    Dear readers. I have chronic pain in my lower back (left side) and my left buttock, down the back of my left leg, turning into my left groin, going down the side of my left leg into my left knee, then turning into the frontside of my left leg, then pain in the toes of my left foot. The pain is so strong I cry out I limpand can hardly stand on my left leg,I was in a wheel chair for five months until my son told me if you don’t get out of that wheel chair you will never walk again, I am 72 yrs old and have been very active having brought up 7 children on my own, for this last nine months I have been like a crippled old lady, I have suffered from fibromyalgia for a few years, but have never been in so much pain, all this has been put down to what the doctors and experts call a wind up of my nervous system, they say my nerves are sending rogue messages to my brain, they have prescribed me gabapentin, morphine patches which neither helped now I am on 150 mg pregabalin, which does not help along with amitriptyline, and 8 paracetamol a day, but none of this stops my chronic pain condition, does any one else suffer from this nerve wind up, and can anyone help me who knows of a natural solution so I can come of these dreadful chemicals, please help,

  2. Todd

    Black Seed oil has helped my nerve pain the most, within a few seconds the pain is totally gone. I rub it on the bottoms of my feet and I also take a teaspoon internally twice a day, and I never get colds or the flue.

  3. Marlene

    I had the shingles two and one-half years ago due to my immune system being so low during my Stem Cell Transplant. The pain has never left me. I take Lyrica 150mg 3 times daily and the pain is still here? Sometimes it is very bad! Any suggestions?

  4. Krista
    Goodview VA

    Two friends have experienced lasting relief from neuropathy symptoms in their feet by taking Shaklee B-complex which has the recommended levels of all 8 essential B vitamins.

  5. Suzette N.

    What about vitamin D?

  6. Linda
    Black Hills

    Ubiquinol helps me a great deal with neuropathy.

  7. William

    Expressive writing?!? That’s just silly. Just hinting something so asinine has even the slightest merit greatly reduces your credibility in my estimation.

  8. Rosemary

    I am on one full strength enteric aspirin a day for antiphospholipid antibody syndrome or sticky blood. My blood clots too easily. When the aspirin starts wearing off I get sharp pains or something that feels like ant bites in my feet. This stops after my next dose of aspirin. May not be a bad idea to start with baby aspirin. Check with doctor for drug interactions.

    • Lisa D

      I agree! It’s like a smack in the face for someone to tell you your pain can be helped by juvenile advice such as writing it down and tearing it up! Voila! Pain gone. Problem solved! Next?

  9. Roger Reynolds

    Please go to a shoe store that specializes in shoes for diabetics and read their literature. it talks of reduced blood flow. Thus lower feet and leg nerve pain. What will likely work best??? Why chelation therapy that restores blood flow. Been there, done that. At age 76 can out walk almost every member of my church. Doctors say it does not work. But, the NIH did a study a few years ago that proved it does work. Mainstream medicine totally disregarded and put down the study. Yet, it’s so much cheaper than any other heart procedure.

  10. Jan

    Wish there was a solution for nerve pain…… debilitating, and always feeling as if you will fall due to weakness of nerves in legs and feet. God bless you for trying.

  11. mary
    winston-salem, nc

    I take Alpha Lipoic Acid 600mg daily with some relief; can be taken twice daily. Does not totally eliminate the pain/burning, but has helped significantly. I purchase from AmazonPRIME.

  12. Jorie

    I have been troubled with frequent UTI’s over the years and was usually prescribed the antibiotic Nitrofurantoin, for a week to cure the infection. Nitrofurantoin is generic for Macrobid. (Note that I always had a urine culture before starting the antibiotic therapy to be sure the causative organism was sensitive to the medication).
    Last week I was troubled with a sleepless, pain-filled night because of stabbing pain in one foot. It felt like jabs with a hot needle several times each minute.

    This was not the first time I had been troubled with neuropathy but it was the first time that I began to wonder about a possible connection between the pain and the Nitrofurantoin which I had been prescribed, this time, as a daily 50 mg prophylactic against another UTI. I began to go over my medical records and started to see what I THINK is a pattern: every time I had neuropathy like this in the past I was either taking the antibiotic or had just completed a course.

    Ordinary NSAIDS did nothing to alleviate this pain nor did anything else I tried: topical creams/lotions or ice packs, for example. the only medication that helped was Gabapentin that my physician prescribed the next day. I took one that evening and one the next day and the pain was gone within 24 hours.

    “Numbness and tingling” are mentioned in the literature as uncommon side effects of Nitrofurantoin but neuropathy is listed as a “rare” side effect. I simply want others to be aware that they, too, might be troubled with this side effect as I was and to talk to their doctors about a possible connection with another medication–or with Nitrofurantoin, as in my case.

  13. Barb G.
    Milwaukee, WI

    I was able to stop the pain from foot neuropathy with Homeopathy.
    My pain went away after a few doses and has been gone for 3 years.
    Homeopathy can be puzzling at times.
    It would be best to consult a Homeopathic practitioner.

  14. christine
    tucson, arizona

    I have neuropathy due to chemotherapy and have gained much relief from alpha lipoic acid, 600mg twice a day

  15. Jody
    Portland, OR

    I went to a Naturopath d/t nerve pain and he prescribed R Lipoic acid. Life extension makes it but you can shop around. My neurosurgeon was shocked, I didn’t have more nerve pain. I wasn’t going to take Lyrica or any of those awful drugs. The naturopath said I could take up to 9 pills/day, but I would check with an enlightened MD or Naturopath. I’ve also optimized my nutrition and take turmeric, but it didn’t work like the ALA.

  16. kim
    durham, nc

    I recently listened to a talk (I forget where now) that cautioned about toxicity associated with excess benfotiamine since it apparently is fat soluble, and so, stored.
    I tried befotiamine for neuropathy a few months ago, and did not see results for the burning/tingling/numbness, but did wind up with a very high blood level.
    You suggest measuring for deficiency before supplementing — my experience illustrates the wisdom of that advice!

  17. Jim
    Land O Lakes, FL

    I take Duloxetine (Cymbalta) for the neuropathy in my legs. It helps tremendously and I do not have any side effects.

    • Susan

      I have been taking Benfotiamine for several years and have had no pain in my feet. My doctor told me that I should double my one pill per day dose and I told her that it is working fine. Don’t fix it if it isn’t broken! I have no problems with it at all.

  18. Brooke

    Low Dose Naltrexone might be worth a try. Though you need a Dr willing to think outside the box. And you’d need to find a compounding pharmacy. Do some research on LDN. A lot of people find it helpful.

  19. David
    Central Point,Oregon

    I suffer from peripheral neuropathy, opiates work well, however with the new recommendations written by addiction specialists and A over-reaching government (CDC). Doctors and chronic pain patients have been left terrified. Anyway I have found a little relief by using CAPSICUM EXTRACT.

    I use a product called Capzasin quick relief gel, capsaicin 0.025%, Menthol 10% I apply this let it set in, then I apply a Salonpas pain relieving gel patch, capsaicin 0.025%, Menthol 1.25%. I cut them in half and put half on the top of each foot. This has helped me considerably. I do this twice a day, sometimes more often if it’s a real bad pain day. I would warn against using any products with a whole bunch of Menthol in them as they made my feet cold which triggered a great amount of pain. Best of luck to everyone out there.

  20. John

    I have crps, complex regional pain syndrome. It is the most painful disease known. It is neuropathic pain. Rates highest on McGill pain scoring. Chronic, incurable,b progressive, instead of following western medicine’s lame approach, I made the decision to not take narcotics. I did take gabapentin for a couple months. I found LDN and it has been amazing. 2+ years I’ve had this.

    My leg has atrophies, vascular changes,….but instead of being in agony in a wheelchair, I do yoga everyday and walk 3 miles. I eat a very strict diet that is a cross between the Wahls protocol and the ketogenic diet. Basically strictly controlled high fat, low carb and moderate protein. I use Cannabis daily legally, and put turmeric in my breakfast shake. So far I have done remarkably well for a person with ‘severe’ crps. Also did a lot of acupuncture in the beginning, but not anymore.

    • June

      What does crps stand for? I have small fiber nerve damage, and haven’t found gabbapenten or lyrica to help at all. (I prefer not to take drugs like that, anyway.) I’ve heard Cannabis works great!

  21. Mary G.

    I’ve had relief from idiopathic peripheral neuropathy by using Alpha Lipoic Acid and Acetyl-L-Carnitine. They have been used in Europe for many years.

  22. Micki
    Owens Cross Roads, AL

    I suffer from extreme nerve pain in my leg (inner thigh/lower butt on down the back of my inner leg) brought on by an improper sitting position during a long road trip. Pain so severe that I was hospitalized. Finally, the doctors diagnosed the problem and prescribed Lyrica. This was 7 years ago. I am still taking Lyrica daily, as the intense pain flares even if I try cutting back on it. Lyrica definitely works. It’s not a cure – it is only a pain reliever. Without it, I would not be able to function.

  23. Charles
    Portland, Oregon

    I was prescribed Gabapentin (neurotin) by my pain specialist for lower back nerve pain. It is an older, time-tested, drug originally used for seizures, but is quite safe with the main side effect being drowsiness. It is widely used for shingles nerve pain.

  24. Diane

    I have read numerous articles about cannabidiol. The NFL uses it for injuries suffered by players. It has none of the ill effects of MJ itself.

    • Lisa D

      Neurontin and Lyrica make my arms and legs flail and jerk involuntarily. Can’t take either.

  25. T
    N C

    I have had shingles for over 3 months and cannot find medicine to relieve the pain have taken 7 different medicines and only one has given slight relief Carbamazepine 100mg. Any suggestions?

  26. Laura
    Evans, West Virginia

    I have high blood pressure and a rod in my right tibia, from a broken leg. Both cause neuropathy in my lower legs. I read an article somewhere that said evening primrose oil could help. It works beautifully for me! It takes about a week for the effects to be felt. If I run out, within 4 days, the neuropathy begins to return. I have been useing it for almost 3 years now.

  27. Marilyn

    My husband suffers terribly but is not diabetic. Unfortunately, he was exposed to Agent Orange. He takes a multi B and B12 along with a good men’s over 50 daily supplement.

    He’s tried gabapentin but no relief. I’m interested in anything that might help and prefer a natural so maybe this will help. Are there interactions with other meds. He also takes meds for BP and thyroid.

  28. Margaret
    Sedona AZ

    My husband & I have been using Benfotiamine for over two years for leg & foot nerve pain. Has been great with no side effects. We take 150 mg. with each meal for a total of 450 mg. You will have to experiment to see what is the right dosage for you.

  29. Don

    I was on Neurotin (generic) for years the first nerve drug prescribed for neuropathy. Then they came up with Lyrica (name brand). Neurotin was better with less complications. Both make me feel loopy so I quit both and resorted to trying to control my blood sugars with low carbs diet and near infared LED lights on a foot pad that helped without making me feel loopy.

  30. Charlotte S

    First, make sure it is neuropathy that you are fighting. After two years of pain pills for “neuropathy”, I continued to look for a doctor who had a better answer. Since I have a pacemaker, I could not have an MRI done. But, I was finally directed to the Neuro-Science Institute in nearby Edison, NJ. They did a CT-Myleogram which is an invasive test but I felt I no longer had any choice.

    Half an hour after the test was completed, the doctor had the answer. I did not have neuropathy. I had a tumor (non-cancerous) on my spinal cord. It had been there so long, it had calcified and the surgeon who removed it said it was like chipping a hunk of rock from my spinal cord. Some feeling immediately returned to my feet and legs.

    I am taking half the pain meds I was taking before and intensive physical therapy will hopefully help with the rest of the damage done. If I had listened to the doctors who were “treating” me, there is no telling what would have happened next. I’m glad I followed my own intuitions and finally got to the bottom of the pain and loss of use I was experiencing. The doctor isn’t always right!

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