Diabetic neuropathy has no known cure. The answer to this question depends on the nature and extent of nerve damage. That is why it is essential to consult a specialist soon after showing symptoms of neuropathy. Some cases of peripheral neuropathy can be reversed or cured with treatment.
The goals of treatment are to control the condition that causes neuropathy and relieve symptoms. If laboratory tests show that there is no underlying condition, your doctor may recommend a careful wait to see if your neuropathy improves. Treatment of foot neuropathy is aimed at relieving pain and restoring sensitivity to improve the patient's function and quality of life. There is no cure for peripheral neuropathy, but proper treatment will slow progression and address symptoms.
If the cause of foot neuropathy is known, treatment of the underlying cause may provide relief. Unfortunately, 33% of the time podiatrists do not know what causes neuropathy and should treat only the symptoms. The effective prognosis and treatment of peripheral neuropathy largely depends on the cause of nerve damage. For example, peripheral neuropathy caused by vitamin deficiency can be treated, even reversed, with vitamin therapy and an improved diet.
Similarly, nerve damage caused by alcohol abuse can often be stopped and improved by avoiding alcohol. Peripheral neuropathy caused by toxic substances or medications can often be corrected in the same way. When neuropathy is related to diabetes, careful control of blood sugar levels can slow its progression and slow symptoms. Once neuropathy develops, few types can be completely cured, but early treatment can improve outcomes.
Some nerve fibers can slowly regenerate if the nerve cell itself is still alive. Eliminating the underlying cause can prevent future nerve damage. Good nutrition and reasonable exercise can speed healing. Quitting smoking will stop the blood vessels from constricting, so they can deliver more nutrients to help repair injured peripheral nerves.
Mild pain can be relieved with over-the-counter pain relievers. For patients who have more severe neuropathic pain, anticonvulsants or antidepressants are commonly prescribed; their action on the central nervous system may calm overactive nerves. Topical patches that act through the skin, for example, by administering the anesthetic lidocaine or capsaicin with chili pepper extract, may also provide some relief. Another option is the administration of a local anesthetic and steroid blockades (cortisone).
When pain doesn't respond to these methods, alternatives may include cannabinoids or opioid analgesics. If these measures are ineffective, in a small and select group of patients, opioids can be introduced gradually after careful consideration of concerns and side effects. For some patients, a treatment regimen will also include physical or occupational therapy to rebuild strength and coordination. Peripheral nerves have a great healing capacity.
Although it may take months, a recovery can occur. However, in some situations, the symptoms of neuropathy may decrease but not go away completely. For example, nerve injury caused by radiation often does not recover well. Neuropathy caused by chemotherapy is also difficult to cure, and recovery can take from 18 months to 5 years or more.
During recovery from platinum-induced neuropathy, patients may suffer from increased symptoms. Some cases of peripheral neuropathy can be reversed or cured with immediate treatment and if the underlying conditions are treated. Whether or not to reverse neuropathy depends on the cause of nerve damage. In some cases, the pain may disappear completely.
In others, nerve damage may be permanent. Symptoms in diabetic polyneuropathy and other generalized neuropathies usually begin in the hands or feet and ascend towards the trunk. .