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Neuralgia (Nerve Pain)

Nerve pain, also known as neuralgia, can be a challenging condition to manage. In this article, we will explore lifestyle suggestions, nutritional therapy, and dietary recommendations that may help alleviate it.

What is neuralgia (nerve pain)?

Neuralgia is known as pain in a nerve pathway. Neuralgia isn't thought of as an illness in its own right, instead it’s considered a symptom of injury or of a disorder. In many cases, the exact cause of pain is not known[i].

Why do we get nerve pain?

Nerve pain (neuralgia) is a particular type of pain that often feels like a shooting, stabbing or burning feeling. It is most commonly caused by damage or injury to the nerves that send messages to your brain to signal pain [ii].

Causes: As well as physical injury, other causes include shingles and underlying medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis[iii].

Diabetes and nerve pain: Firstly, to clarify, neuropathy refers to nerve damage while neuralgia is a type of nerve pain. Neuropathy is one of the long-term complications of diabetes. Over time, high blood glucose (sugar) levels can damage the small blood vessels that supply the nerves in your body[iv][v].

What are the risks associated with developing nerve pain?

As well as physical injury and the other causes discussed above causing nerve pain, cases of peripheral neuropathy are associated with risk factors including diabetes (especially if blood glucose levels are not properly managed), alcohol misuse and dangerously low levels of vitamins in the body – this is especially common with vitamin B-12 deficiency. Nerve damage caused by low B12 may be permanent if you do not start treatment within 6 months of when symptoms begin[vi].

Why is nutritional therapy important for nerve pain?

Good nutrition is usually the first port of call to prevent and manage many issues relating to the nerves, including nerve pain. Studies have shown that nerve pain is often caused by a lack of blood flow to the nerves[vii] – which may create insufficient circulation in specific areas such as your hands and feet[viii]. Diet is key in preventing such factors. See also our article on Pins and Needles.

Moreover, ensuring a balanced and nutrient-dense diet is an important part of managing diabetes, and it may help prevent diabetic neuropathy and other complications. Keeping blood sugar under control may help slow the progression of nerve damage[ix]. To read more on Diabetes / Blood Sugar Balance you can also read more in our dedicated article.

Supplement recommendations for nerve pain

B vitamins are useful in cases of neuropathy because they are known to support nervous system function. As peripheral neuropathy is sometimes caused by a vitamin B deficiency, supplementation considerations should include vitamin B1 (thiamine), B6, and B12. Why? Vitamin B-1, also known as thiamine, helps to reduce pain and inflammation and vitamin B-6 preserves the covering on nerve endings[x]. Viridian High Twelve B-Complex B12 - Vitamin B12 – contains great levels of these B vitamins.

Viridian Alpha Lipoic Acid 200mg: Alpha Lipoic Acid is found naturally in the body and in every cell. Several studies suggest alpha-lipoic acid helps lower blood sugar levels. This is due to its ability to kill free radicals may help people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy[xi].

Terranova Hyaluronic Acid & Silica: Hyaluronic acid has been shown to enhance peripheral nerve regeneration in vitro studies[xii].

Viridian Curcumin Extract - Organic: Curcumin has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and analgesic (painkilling) properties, which all combine to produce a positive action in relieving peripheral neuropathy symptoms[xiii].

Bare Biology Life & Soul Omega 3 Fish Oil Liquid: Omega -3 fatty acids may be of benefit in the management of neuropathic pain[xiv][xv].

Viridian High Potency NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine): Acetyl-l-carnitine may help improve nerve function in people with neuropathy due to diabetes[xvi].

Bio-Health Hyperidrine/St Johns Wort: St John's Wort may be used for many conditions including nerve pain (neuralgia), anxiety, and tension. It may also be helpful in muscle weakness, emotional stress, irritability, and insomnia. In studies, it has shown promise for neuralgia in particular[xvii]. Please consult with your doctor if you are on any medications as St John’s Wort is known to interfere with drug metabolism.

Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Glycinate: Studies have shown that magnesium can be an effective treatment for pain, Magnesium glycinate is good for people with nerve pain or nerve degenerative diseases like diabetes mellitus and multiple sclerosis [xviii]. Try also NEOM Organics Bedtime Hero Magnesium Body Butter.

Viridian Vitamin D3 400IU: Vitamin D deficiency may be associated with increased pain sensitivity. In studies, vitamin D supplementation has been reported to have beneficial effects on neuropathic pain and prevent neuronal degeneration[xix].

Dietary suggestions for nerve pain

Anti-inflammatory food choices: such as fruits, vegetables, fatty fish (rich in omega-3 fatty acids), nuts and seeds. These can help combat inflammation and pain in the body[xx].

Omega-3 fatty acids: Be sure to include sources of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet like salmon, mackerel, sardines, walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds. Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory effects for pain management[xxi].

B vitamins: A diet rich in B vitamins, such as leafy green vegetables, legumes and good quality meat and dairy products, could play a big role in nerve function and is thought to support nerve health overall[xxii].

Magnesium: Include magnesium-rich foods like leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes, where tolerated. Magnesium is involved in nerve function and muscle relaxation and may be helpful in nerve pain reduction[xxiii].

Turmeric and ginger: Both spices have natural anti-inflammatory properties and may help in cases of nerve pain. It’s great to add them to your meals or incorporate them into a soothing tea[xxiv][xxv]. Pukka Three Ginger tea / Pukka Turmeric Active tea.

Avoid or limit inflammatory foods: Reduce or avoid foods that may contribute to inflammation, such as processed foods, refined sugars, saturated fats, and trans fats as these foods could potentially have a negative effect on nerve pain[xxvi][xxvii].

Allergies and intolerances: If you suspect certain foods may be triggering or exacerbating pain, an elimination diet may be helpful to identify potential food sensitivities or allergies. It is recommended to work with a nutritional therapist to ascertain sensitivities or allergies as they can help avoid nutrient deficiencies and insufficiencies and to guide you through the process[xxviii].

Lifestyle suggestions for nerve pain

Stress: Practice stress-reduction techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or mindfulness. Chronic stress can worsen nerve pain, so finding healthy coping mechanisms is important[xxix].

Prioritise good sleep hygiene: create a relaxing bedtime routine and ensure you have a comfortable sleep environment. Quality sleep is essential for pain management[xxx].

Choose supportive footwear: Supportive shoes are a basis for overall musculoskeletal support. Shoes that cushion and provide proper arch support are best. Avoid high heels or impractical shoe choices for prolonged amounts of time that may cause or exacerbate nerve pain[xxxi].

Mind-body practices: Explore ways to keep your mind and body in tune such as tai chi, qigong, or acupuncture. These suggestions may help to improve energy flow, reduce pain and promote relaxation[xxxii].

Naturopathic practices for nerve pain: Hydrotherapy integrated with massage has been shown to improve nerve health, postural stability, and blood sugar levels in patients with diabetic neuropathy. In addition, contrast baths (hot and cold therapy) have been shown to reduce neuropathic pain among patients with diabetic neuropathy[xxxiii][xxxiv].

Social connections: Seek support from friends, family, or support groups. Strengthening connections with others who may have similar experiences can provide emotional support and practical advice. Social networks can boost your mood and also help alleviate symptoms[xxxv].

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Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.