Diabetes is one of the most common health conditions in America — and, unfortunately, it can cause or contribute to other serious health concerns. One of the most notable? Diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with diabetes, understanding what diabetic neuropathy is and how you can treat it could make a world of difference. Early identification and treatment can slow neuropathy’s progression and help manage any neuropathy-related pain or discomfort.
Wondering if it’s possible to start reversing diabetic neuropathy naturally? Keep reading below for 8 of our best tips to help treat and manage nerve damage.
Defining diabetic neuropathy
Diabetic neuropathy is a form of nerve damage common in diabetics, especially those with long-term, untreated, or mismanaged diabetes. This type of neuropathy occurs when high blood sugar levels cause nerve damage. It most often affects the nerves in your legs and feet.
Different types of neuropathy
There are four types of diabetic neuropathy that you may experience:
- Peripheral neuropathy — This is the most common neuropathy type and affects the legs and feet first, then works its way up the body.
- Autonomic neuropathy — This type of neuropathy affects unconscious body functions such as sight, perspiration, sexual arousal, etc.
- Proximal neuropathy — Proximal neuropathy mainly targets the lower body, especially the hips and legs.
- Mononeuropathy — Unlike other neuropathies, mononeuropathy refers to damage that only affects a single nerve.
Symptoms of neuropathy
The symptoms you experience often depend on the type or types of neuropathy you have. Unfortunately, most neuropathy symptoms aren’t immediately noticeable. Rather, they develop over the different stages of peripheral neuropathy until the final stage, in which permanent and painful nerve damage occurs.
Some of the most common signs of neuropathy include:
- Tingling or numbness in the extremities
- Muscle weakness or loss of muscle mass
- Sensitivity to touch or temperature
- An influx of foot problems
- Incontinence or bowel issues
How to stop diabetic neuropathy naturally: 8 natural treatments to try at home
Right now, there is no known cure for diabetic neuropathy. However, early identification and management can help keep neuropathy from progressing and alleviate certain symptoms.
While there are many medical treatment options available for neuropathy — including prescription medications, surgeries, and therapy — natural medicine and treatments for diabetic neuropathy can also be useful. Here are 8 DIY treatments you can try at home.
Massaging the painful areas of your body can help improve blood flow, relax and destress you, loosen muscles, and take some pressure off of your nerves. Together, these benefits can help you manage your neuropathic pain more effectively when it flares up.
2. Self-guided meditation
Many people with diabetic neuropathy can benefit from meditation to help them cope with consistent pain. Learning how to properly meditate may reduce stress, allow you to discover a more positive outlook, and act as a tool to help you deal with painful neuropathy symptoms.
3. Natural topical ointments or oils
Some neuropathy pain can be soothed with special topical lotions, ointments, or oils. For example, capsaicin oil-infused lotions can help combat neuropathy pain (though these and similar lotions may create a burning sensation when first applied). Primrose oil and other anti-inflammatory options may reduce numbness, while lavender or peppermint oils can assist with pain.
4. Diet changes
Diabetic neuropathy is exacerbated by poorly managed diabetes — and one of the best ways to control your diabetes is to eat right and test your blood glucose often to ensure it’s at an acceptable level. Make sure to follow a diet rich in whole foods, lean proteins, and low fats, and steer clear of high-sugar, high-fat, and refined or processed foods.
Ensure that you stay active. In addition to getting 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise at least five days a week, you should also aim to move consistently throughout the day. Physical activity can help increase blood flow, manage weight, control blood sugar, and reduce stress — all of which can have a positive impact on neuropathy.
6. Warm baths or showers
Warm — but not hot — baths and showers are a quick and easy way to relieve stress and pain associated with diabetic neuropathy. This is because warm water can boost blood circulation, which means your nerves are receiving the nutrients they need. Increasing blood flow can also help combat inflammation, which can relieve neuropathy symptoms.
7. Vitamins and supplements
In some cases, neuropathy is caused by a vitamin deficiency that results from improper diet or too much alcohol. If a vitamin deficiency is contributing to your neuropathy, supplements such as vitamin B or vitamin D can help correct the problem.
8. Stop smoking and drinking alcohol
Smoking and alcoholic drinks can damage blood vessels and nerves, leading to and exacerbating peripheral neuropathy. They can also contribute to serious problems such as nutritional deficiencies, heart disease, and other health conditions. Cut smoking and excess alcohol out of your life to help your body recover and resist further damage that could make your neuropathy worse.
Please note that it’s important to speak to your doctor or healthcare provider before drastically changing your lifestyle or starting new supplements or vitamins. This is to ensure that they wouldn't interfere with your diabetes management plan.
Combat neuropathy pain with diabetic socks
When natural medicine for diabetic neuropathy doesn’t provide all the relief you need, don’t worry. There are plenty of other management options available. One of the quickest and easiest ways to treat neuropathy pain in your feet and legs? A quality pair of diabetic socks.
Viasox: North America’s leading provider of fancy diabetic socks
Here at Viasox, we understand that living with diabetes and neuropathy is difficult. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing high-quality non-binding socks and compression socks to help combat any painful symptoms you may be living with. Our socks are:
- Incredibly stretchy
- Super soft and comfortable
- Moisture-wicking and antibacterial
- Available nationwide
- Delivered straight to your doorstep
- Offered in a huge range of colors, patterns, and lengths
Browse our entire collection today or reach out to one of our friendly team members for help finding socks that will make your daily life just a little bit easier.