Harvard Health Letter

When nerves get damaged

People with peripheral neuropathy may experience pain, numbness, tingling, and other unpleasant sensations. Often the cause cannot be determined, so the condition must be managed by attempting to treat the symptoms, especially if one of them is pain. Unfortunately, conventional painkillers like ibuprofen or aspirin may not be very effective. The alternatives are off-label prescriptions of antiseizure medications and tricyclic antidepressants. The antiseizure drug gabapentin (Neurontin) does seem to be effective for some people  and physicians prescribe tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline (Elavil), desipramine (Norpramin), and nortriptyline (Pamelor). The side effects can be a serious drawback but they may be a reasonable trade-off if there's relief for troubling symptoms, especially pain. Many people with peripheral neuropathy say yoga, acupuncture, and other somewhat unconventional treatments have done wonders. Supporting data are scarce, but these alternative approaches might be worth a try as long as there's little risk of harm.
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