The word neuropathy is
derived from two parts: "neuro"
referring to the nerve and "pathy"
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition occurring when
injury or disease damages your peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nerves
are the nerves that originate from your brain and spinal cord, and extend to
your skin, muscles and tissues.
The peripheral nervous system relays information
between your body and the brain in the form of electrical impulses. Each
nerve is made up of many connected cells called neurons that transmit these
Nerves are the communication lines of the
body. Electrical signals from the brain travel through the nerves and
give instructions to the various body parts. The body receives
information from the environment through the senses and sends this information
to the brain via the nerves.
However, damage to the nerves disrupts this which
results in the condition called peripheral neuropathy and its various symptoms.
The types of nerves
There are three types of peripheral nerves - the first
is motor nerves which regulate the movements of your body's muscles, the second
is sensory nerves which transmit sensations such as heat, vibration, touch and
pain to the brain. The third is the autonomic nerves which regulate the
activities of the internal organs and glands.
The majority of the peripheral nerves are responsible
for sensations you feel such as touch, pain and
temperature. There are literally millions of
these nerve endings in your fingers, hands, toes and
feet which are designed to keep you out of danger and
away from the things that are hot, cold, sharp,
These nerves to the muscles of
the hands and feet, legs and arms (called motor
nerves) help to control the numerous muscles and
movements in these regions of the body. It would also
be difficult to walk
without knowing what your feet are standing on or to
pick things up if you had no idea how hard you were
gripping something. It would be difficult to move if
the impulses weren't transmitted to the muscles.
The nerves to the autonomic
system are not under conscious control but respond to
the environment so the body can function
optimally. It controls such tasks as controlling
the bladder, slowing down or speeding up the heart
rate, constricting or dilating the pupils of the eye.
It regulates blood pressure, sexual response and many
cells have three main parts: cell body, axons, and dendrites (or
terminal).. (See diagram below)
Damage to the nerves
Nerve damage or neuropathy normally occurs when the
outer sheathing or the myelin (protective covering) of
nerve cells degenerate. Without this
protection the electrical signals are not transferred properly just like if you
stripped the covering off of the electrical wires in your house.
As the nerve damage gets worse, the nerves either lose their ability to
transmit information (numbness), or they start sending false signals (pain and
When the insulation begins to crumble, the unprotected
"wire" will start
When the signal cannot be sent through the nerve,
the area not receiving the messages will result in
Neuropathy is the condition where the nerves have
sustained enough damage that there is noticeable
numbness, pain or tingling.
How can you tell its
neuropathy and not muscle or joint pain?
Difference between nerve pain and muscle pain:
Muscle pain is preceded by trauma or injury, while
nerve pain doesn't (It can come from known trauma but not always).
Muscle pain is an ache or pain in the muscle or joint,
it feels achy and there can be stiffness, nerve pain or burning, stabbing and
Muscle pain stops after healing of the injury takes
place, nerve pain continues.
Muscle and joint pain can be relieved with aspirin or
other pain killers, the same medication does not help nerve pain.
Cranial: Nerves go from your brain to
your eyes, mouth, ears and other parts of your
Peripheral: Nerves go from your spinal
cord to your arms, hands, legs and feet. This is the
most common form of damage.
Central Nerves are in your brain and spinal
Autonomic: Nerves go from your spinal
cord to your lungs, heart, stomach, intestines,
bladder and sex organs. Damage to these nerves
can create improper functioning of these organs.
Types of Neuropathy
There are three types: Mono Neuropathy, Poly
Neuropathy and Autonomic Neuropathy or nerve damage.
Damage to a single nerve is called
mononeuropathy. This usually results from injury or repeated stress. An
example is carpal tunnel syndrome. The repeated impact to the nerve in your
wrist may cause tingling, pain and weakness in your hand, arm, and
Involvement of multiple nerves called polyneuropathy is
common. Damage typically begins in the nerves farthest from the central nervous
system. Polyneuropathy can be caused by diabetes and other systemic diseases,
infections, or exposure to toxic substances.
One or all the three nerve types may be effected.
Polyneuropathy can be due to damage to sensory nerves, and can also cause
damage to your motor nerves which can result in muscle weakness lack of
coordination, twitching and pain.
Common signs of autonomic neuropathy is nerve damage to
the internal organs and glands and can include intolerance to heat, loss of
bladder control, gastrointestinal disturbances, impairment of breathing and
impairment of heart rate.
The sad fact is that after a
while this misfiring of the nerves can get so bad that
people are unable to walk or pick things up and can
get to a point where they would rather have a limb
amputated then continue with this nerve pain.
Chronic Neuropathy can start when your nerves are
deprived of oxygen (anoxia). But, there are many
reasons why this might happen and it is sometimes a
combination of reasons. One reason might not be enough
to notice, but add a second and it can be very
Too much sugar
or insulin in your blood (diabetes), and also in
pre-diabetes or insulin resistance
one position too long (nerve compression, entrapment
Physical injuries (trauma) to the nerve
Injury from a surgery.
Prolonged compression as in the wearing
of inappropriate footwear, skinny jeans, etc.
Infections that can block oxygen getting to your nerve
Too many free
radicals in your bloodstream can also attach
themselves to the oxygen and make it unavailable to
the cells. Sometimes inflammation in the
lower back or sciatic nerve area of the buttocks can
restrict blood flow, depriving oxygen to the
Common drugs like statins (to
reduce cholesterol) can eat away the myelin sheath - which is composed mostly of
cholesterol. Statins are designed to lower the
cholesterol which is what the body needs to maintain the myelin sheath around
the nerve. See also Neuropathy
High blood pressure medication can cause
neuropathy by decreasing blood flow at the
extremities, like the feet or hands.
Drugs create side effects by depleting the body of
different nutrients that the body needs. This deficiency can cause various
problems including nerve damage. See also Drugs
B Vitamin Depletion and Neuropathy: Certain
artificial stimulants, such as cigarettes and alcohol, are known to aggravate
the neuropathy condition. Both of these work to slow blood flow throughout the
body. In the process, less nutrients and oxygen are being delivered. This is
the last thing that you want if you have neuropathy.
Anything that uses up B vitamins in the body (depletes
these vitamins) will make
the condition worse. The body needs the B vitamins for healthy nerves, if
these B vitamins are being used up by alcohol metabolism, etc. the nerves will
be less able to do their job and then will become damaged.
This is valuable when you are checking your
medications to see if neuropathy is a possible side effect. The
manufacturer doesn't always list it as neuropathy. You should talk to
your doctor about the possibility of changing your medications.
Paresthesia or paraesthesia
HSAN1 - Hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy
HSN1 - Hereditary sensory neuropathy
"Numbness & tingling" or "pins and needles"
"Poor balance of nerve damage" - Ataxia
- a sensation that resembles that of insects crawling (tactile
hallucination) on (or under) the skin
Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP)
More than 100 types of neuropathy
pain have been identified, each
with its own development, and impaired function. You can get nerve
damage in any part of our body, it depends on what
nerve is damaged. It can be your hands, feet, arms
legs, head, face, stomach, bladder, etc. etc.
These symptoms or nerve damage or neuropathy are often
slight at first. In fact, some mild cases may go
unnoticed for a long time
These symptoms depend on the type of nerve - motor,
sensory or autonomic - that are damaged.
Peripheral Sensory Neuropathy
Some people may experience
numbness, tingling and pricking sensations,
sensitivity to touch and even left arm pain and
tingling. Small fiber neuropathy affects the
nerve endings in the fingers or toes as well as the
legs. If the nerve damage increase it can cause
numbness. This can lead to numbness in feet and other
Others may suffer more extreme
symptoms, including burning pain (especially at night)
and stabbing pain.
Numbness, pain or tingling in the
feet and ankles or legs may, after several years, lead
to weakness in the muscles of the feet as well. The
loss of sensation in the feet may increase the
possibility for foot injuries to get unnoticed and
develop into ulcers or lesions that become infected,
not to mention having trouble with coordination.
Motor Nerve Damage symptoms:
Damage to motor nerves can result not only in lack of
coordination and muscle wasting and even paralysis.
Nerves to the body's organs symptoms:
Nerve damage to the nerves that serve the body's organs
can cause organ or gland dysfunction. This type of damage can create organs
functioning inadequately. It can affect the heart rate, it can create erectile
dysfunction, digestion, breathing, etc. etc.
Diabetic Neuropathy can flare up suddenly and affect
specific nerves. This can develop double vision or dropping eyelids, or
weakness and atrophy of the thigh muscles. Nerve damage caused by diabetes
generally occurs over a period of years and may lead to problems with the
digestive tract and sexual organs, which can cause indigestion, diarrhea or
constipation, dizziness, bladder infections and erectile dysfunction.
Chemotherapy Caused Neuropathy:
Neuropathy as a side effect of chemotherapy can cause
these same symptoms, can create a lack of coordination due to the motor nerves
being effected and may even cause chemo-brain as there is evidence that this
could be due, in part to nerve damage.
Pros: There are several drug treatments for neuropathy. There are
medications such as Lyrica and Cymbalta that are given cover up or block
the pain. Lyrica, is an anti-seizure medication. It is used for neuropathy as
it stops the nerves from talking to each other so you don't feel the pain.
Cymbalta is a anti-depressant which is
used because it lowers a person's awareness and thus their awareness of the
pain. One drug occasionally used is Prednisone and also Elavil.
Cons: You have to continue to take the drugs to
get relief. There are side effects to any drug.
the body of vital nutrients and there is a problem withdrawing from it (see Prednisone)
Amitriptyline (Elavil) it lowers
the awareness of the nerve damage but as with all medications, they have side effects that don't enhance your
Cymbalta as an anti-depressant can very often
be difficult to get off
with out side effects. For info on Cymbalta
Long term these drugs can cause more damage due to side effects and deficiencies it can create. Some
of these drugs even have listed a side effect of neuropathy.
If you are taking any mediation that has a side effect of
neuropathy, you should talk to your doctor to see if there is an alternative
Pros: This is a drug and like all drugs
has side-effects. Medical marijuana is talked about a lot recently with
legalization. Up into the 70s, a medical doctor's
"okay to prescribe drugs license" listed marijuana. This went out of
favor but is now back. Benefits are decreased awareness of pain, relief of
pain. As in any drug prescribed for neuropathy, marijuana covers up the
symptoms of neuropathy.
There is increased tolerance to the effects of marijuana, meaning that more marijuana is needed to get the same
A big problem with marijuana is that it strips the body
of Glutathione, the body's master anti-oxidant
that is found in every cell of the body. Thus, marijuana creates
nutritional deficiencies. This is the reason for the 60s image of a
"druggie" who looks emancipated and out of touch with reality.
Recent studies said that 17% of uses found it was
addictive and hard to stop without side effects. Side effects included
Anxiety/nervousness; Reduced appetite; Irritability/restlessness; Sleep difficulties including strange
dreams. Studies said that users are 4X as likely to develop
depression and manic-depression (bipolar) symptoms.
Some of the problems with evaluating this drug is the
inconsistent dosing and quality-control issues.
Pros: This is a vitamin supplement created by a
drug company which gives the body B vitamins which are necessary for building
healthy nerves. Metanx is a medical food (Medical Foods are intended to manage a specific disease or condition for which medical evaluation, based on recognized scientific principles, has established distinctive nutritional
requirements. This is true of most supplements that build healthy nerves
and have B vitamins for that purpose).
Metanx Ingredients Include the B vitamins: B12,
B6, Folic Acid only.
It is covered by insurance.
Cons: It is missing vital B vitamins
needed to build healthy nerves - B1 & B2 and Vitamin D (It only
includes B12, B6 and Folic acid)
B1 is used in the development of myelin sheaths: Myelin sheaths are the protective covering of the
nerves whose break down is the problem.. Deficiency of vitamin B1 results in weakening of the sheaths. Adequate intake of vitamin B1 ensures the development of myelin sheaths and aids nerve functioning. It is also required for regulating the transmission of particular types of nerve signals along the brain and the spinal cord.
B2 The body utilizes vitamin B2 to keep tissue healthy and to help accelerate healing of injuries. B2 protects the nervous system.
Vitamin D: One of the functions of Vitamin D is the regulation of nervous system development and function.
Neurobion® is used for the deficiency in any of the
following B vitamins: Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin
Originally it was a prescription
vitamin supplement but is now sold as a pharmacy OTC Neurobion is a water
soluble vitamin drug that focuses on providing B vitamins.
Pros: Claim is that in getting an adequate amount of these vitamins will
help to prevent tingling, nerve pain and numbness.
Cons: Not all the necessary vitamins for nerve
health. Water soluble can
lead to the vitamins being flushed out before the body can utilize them.
Possible side effects per drugs.com: mild diarrhea; nausea; stomach upset.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing;
tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); feeling
of swelling of the entire body; numbness or tingling of the skin.
Per Drugs.com, 11 drugs have been known to interact with
It is uncertain what is also in the supplement that would cause
interactions. But per Drugs.com Medication
that interacts with Neurobion
Pros: Combines a footbath with an electrical current. Claims
to open up nerve channels and stimulate circulation to the
affected area. It claims to stimulate the nearby calf muscles to contract and relax, enhancing the local blood flow to bring fresh nutrients to the nerves and help remove accumulated toxins.
No information on how it would address neuroapthy in other areas of the
Cons: Cost. Inconclusive if this works for
everyone or why electric current will "rebuild" nerves except for
increasing circulation There are many anti-oxidants which will also increase
circulation. It also states it sends electric current up the foot through the
sciatic nerve and down again so it addresses foot neuropathy only.
Pros: is a therapy that uses low-voltage electrical current for pain relief.
The electrodes are placed on the area of pain or at a pressure point, this
creates a circuit of electrical impulses that travels along nerve fibers.
Relief may be because the electricity from the electrodes stimulates the nerves
iand sends signals to the brain that block or "scramble" normal pain signals. Another theory is that the electrical stimulation of the nerves may help the body to produce natural painkillers called endorphins, which may block the perception of pain
Cons: Experts generally consider TENS to be safe, although the machine could cause harm if misused. Have your physical therapist or doctor show you the proper way to use the machine, and follow these instructions carefully.
You need to use it often. It is for temporary
Pros: The ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture
has been known to help with the symptoms of neuropathy. There is
apparently an ability to improve circulation with this method that would give
similar relief. There is also acupressure which works on the same
principles as acupuncture. For more information go to Acupuncture
Cons: Acupuncture sometimes does not help with
neuropathy. You also have to continue to get treatments.
Alpha lipoic acid:
Pros: This is as an anti-oxidant which will help protect the nerves
so no further damage is done to the body. It
can help with the symptoms. In order to help it needs to be taken with Aceytl
l-carnitine. There is evidence that they work together well in helping the body
use nutrients to nourish the nerves, but the vital B vitamins need to be taken
Pros: They will cover up the symptoms of
neuropathy similar to drugs and can make you temporarily feel better, you must
continue to take them. The body
doesn't use herbs for nerve health..
Cons: There are problems with herbs. They can
interact with any other medications that you are taking. They can have side
effects. Herbs are similar to drugs in so far as (in therapeutic dosages as
found in the herbs that you can buy) they make the body do what it wouldn't
normally do. While you can use herbs in your salad and in tea without problems,
when you take herbs in a supplement, they are extracts which are far stronger
dosages. Herbs should be taken separately as if there is a problem, you can
isolate what herb is causing the problem. The combination of herbs found in
some supplements prohibit you from doing that.
Remember, herbs are not vitamins. They are natural
substances, but they aren't the vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids &
amino acids that the body needs to function, create energy and to repair
Herbs can make your neuropathy feel better, but aren't
used by the body to build nerve health. Thus, you need to keep taking them to
continue the relief. There are some herbs which shouldn't be taken more than a
few months like Feverfew or Ashwagandha.
When taking any herbs, check with your pharmacist.
Pharmacies have databases where they can check for interactions and side
There are many things that will fight inflammation and
these are used for nerve pain. These can be ginger, turmeric, skullcap,
lubella, black cohash, arnica, topical creams.
Pros: Helps the pain without drug side effects.
Cons: Doesn't address the cause. The body has
unhealthy nerves which cause inflammation. The health of the nerve needs
to be addressed.
Pros: Infrared light to increase circulation and stimulate
production of nitric acid. It is supposed to relax the arteries and
eliminate free radicals. Pads are put over the injured areas. Pain is
supposed to be relieved with increased circulation and more nitric oxide in the
blood. Can treat common injuries.
Cons: Can relieve some symptoms
but needs to be continued for relief.
Pros: Homeopathy can give
temporary neuropathic pain relief without side effects or interactions with
Cons: They relieve the symptoms but
doesn't address the
Pros: There are many different
creams available that will bring relief from neuropathy pain. They can be
applied as needed. Capsaicin is a common ingredient. it is used to
relieve pain for arthritis, muscle pain, joint pain, as well as nerve
pain. It can address the inflammation.
Cons: They relieve but you must continue to use it for relief. Doesn't
work for everyone.
Cold Laser Treatment or Low Level Laser Therapy:
will give relief from pain. It is non-thermal and won't burn the
surrounding area. It is trying to increase cellular activity. The laser delivers electric pulses to the target area which delivers a jolt
that matches the pulse at which the body perceives pain. It claims to
create a reduction in pain by causing the production of natural pain killer
Cons: Again doesn't address the actual cause of
the pain, so is relief only.
Various blends of B vitamins and other
Addressing different "nerve support"
vitamins that are brought out from time to time including those supposedly
formulated by a medical doctor. There are lots of different ideas about
relieving the symptoms of neuropathy. There are many formulations.
A lot of them are putting different vitamins together and even do include B1 in
the form of benfotiamine and B12 as methyl B12. They even will give mega
doses to try and help the nerves. Some have small amounts of B1
& B12 - which are the most important B vitamins for nerve health.
However, the body needs specific B
vitamins working together to build nerves. For instance, folic acid is
needed to activate the B12. B6, B9 (folic acid) and B2 are needed for B1
to be absorbed. Some of these blends include both B vitamins
and alpha lipoic acid when one needs to be taken with food and the other on an
empty stomach. It is valuable to understand why each ingredient was put
in the formula and whether it will help or just cover up symptoms, is missing
ingredients or are good
to take together. Here is an article on what creates
Building Healthy Nerves:
"We need to shift our focus from treating disease to generating health..." Hippocrates (AMA"The Father of Medicine")
We always recommend you take the approach of building
health - and nerves are no different.
Pros: Nerves need to be healthy to function properly. Healthy sensory nerves means that they are
not painful. Healthy nerves means that they communicate and don't send wrong signals such as burning, hot and cold,
tingling when there is no reason for it. Healthy motor nerves means that
they relay messages from the brain to the muscle so that they move correctly
The body needs specific nutrients
(vitamins) to be able to build healthy nerves. Getting Bio-available
special forms of B1 and B12 along with the other Bs that activate them, will
promote and support healthy nerves.
Cons: It may not give immediate relief as the
vitamins are working at a cellular level, it may take longer, but it
does address the actual problem and builds healthy nerves.
needs the correct
tools to build healthy nerves. These tools are specific nutrition
What are they? Read on.
It has been known for some time that
B1(thiamine)is very effective. It is needed by
the body to create healthy
Unfortunately, the oral intake of vitamin B1 does not
greatly increase the levels of B1 in the blood stream.
reason for this is that Thiamine, like all of the B vitamins, is water-soluble.
Thiamine cannot be stored in the body and flushes out
within 4 to 5 hours.
it has been
found the symptoms are made worse by insufficient amounts of B12 in
B12 supports the sheathing that protects nerve cells and
has shown in studies to promote the regeneration and
growth of nerve cells.
the past, it has been difficult to remedy the B12
reason for this is that while vitamin B12 is readily
stored by the body, it is not readily absorbed by
the body. For this reason much larger amounts have been
used in supplementation, but even large oral dosages
have not been an adequate solution.
might have heard of the new type of vitamin B1 being
produced, called Benfotiamine. It is a fat-soluble
version of vitamin B1. What does this mean? It
means this new form of vitamin B1 can be taken orally in
large dosages and it will not flush out of the body the
way ordinary Thiamine (vitamin B1) does.This is due to the fact that this type of B1 will
be delivered into the blood stream where it can travel
to the cells and be used.
available is Methylcobalamine (called Methyl B12). This
is the form of vitamin B12 that can be directly utilized
by the body.When
regular B12 is taken, the body has to convert it into
the Methyl B12 in the gut. Methyl B12 already comes in
this useable form.
can I find these supplements?
(This is where we have
researched products and found
one that we found will work for
This company has
had this formula for over 11 years and has over 11 years worth of
success. The vitamins
talked about above to build
healthy nerves are
available together. The
name of the product is RHP®
Nerve Support Formula”
It contains both the Benfotiamine and Methyl B12. The result is that the blood stream levels of
vitamin B1 and vitamin B12 can be greatly increased, providing the
nutritional support needed by the body to rapidly and far more effectively
to decrease or eliminate the symptoms
of unhealthy nerves.
Both Benfotiamine and Methyl B12 have been shown to be
non-toxic and without any side effects even in very high dosages.
Additionally, the formula has three other B
vitamins, and vitamin D3 in the exact proportion that work together to produce the best
results. The formula has been found to be exactly what the body needsl
the other B vitamins in the formula?
(thiamin) is dependent on the other B-complex vitamins. Absorption of B1 into the body requires adequate supplies of
vitamin B6, B12 and B9 (folic acid). A deficiency in Vitamins B12 can increase
loss of B1in the urine, and vitamin B6 also appears to help regulate
distribution of thiamin throughout the body. B9 (folic acid) is also necessary to activate the absorption of the B12. The body utilizes vitamin B2 to keep tissue healthy and to help accelerate healing of
injuries. B2 protects the nervous system.
addition the formula has Vitamin D. One of the functions of Vitamin D is the
regulation of nervous system development and function.
And the company (Real Health Products) has Product Consultants, trained in the use of the product. That will guide you so that you get the best possible results. It is a live support line.
Their help is part of the purchase. They don't just sell you a vitamin and hope
it works. They take the time to make sure their customers understand how
they can use the formula, how to improve their health by educating them about nutrition, exercise and
other health matters. You can call them or email them any time.
These vitamins have a 90 Day money
back guarantee. This money back guarantee means that you can buy 1, 2 or
3 bottles (up to three months worth) and return them if
you feel it doesn't work for you.
Sounds too good to be true. They have a very high
success rate with lots of
The Nerve Support
Formula is made at an "FDA Inspected
Facility" and cGMP labs (Good Manufacturing Practice
Facility). This means it
adheres to Good Manufacturing Practices for supplement manufacturers. This process guarantees the potency, purity and quality of
this product. You can read more about the
Quality of Manufacturing here . Made in the USA. Gluten
The RHP Nerve Support
Formula is the same formula as the WSN Nerve Support Formula. RHP is the
exclusive distributor of original formula - the WSN Nerve Support Formula
We have used our best judgment in compiling this information. The Food and Drug Administration may not have evaluated the information presented. Any reference to a specific product is for your information only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease