This article originally appeared in Good Health Lifestyles Magazine
If the burning agony of nerve pain disrupts your life with sudden shock attacks, you will try almost anything to make it stop.
Nerve pain, officially called neuropathy, is almost always chronic. And unlike other types of pain that you can trace back to an obvious source, nerve pain can flare up at any time. When it does, you need to calm and soothe your jangled, burning nerves just to get through the day. But prescription drugs do not offer much relief and come with many unwanted side effects. Luckily, targeted nutrients and powerful plant extracts can ease your painful symptoms and help set your frayed nerves on the path toward recovery.
Nerves Send Pain Signals—and Sometimes They Get It Wrong
Your nerves send signals back and forth between your body and your brain. When your brain gets a message from your nerves, it replies by telling your body what to feel and how to act. For example, if you step on a nail, your nerves send pain signals to your brain. Your brain then tells you to pick up your foot.
Chronic nerve pain works differently. Your nerves send random pain signals to your brain for no clear reason. This type of pain is usually caused by nerve damage and tends to worsen over time. Plus, because nerve pain is not like other kinds of pain, it usually does not respond to pain medication. That can make it much harder to find relief—unless you take advantage of natural solutions that can tame the pain and help your nerves heal.
Nerve Pain Feels Different
Nerve pain does not feel the same as other kinds of pain. Knowing its unique characteristics can help identify it so you can treat it properly. Unlike regular pain, nerve pain can be described as:
It can also trigger numbness, tingling, or the feeling of pins and needles, especially in your hands and feet. In addition, things that would not normally cause pain, such as brushing your hair, pulling on a T-shirt, or touching something cold, can trigger nerve pain. These painful experiences all flow from misfiring nerves, which may be caused by some quite common conditions.
5 Common Causes for Nerve Pain
Nerve pain can make you feel like you’re going crazy, especially because it seems to come out of nowhere. But most chronic nerve pain can be traced back to one of these five common sources:
- Diabetes is a leading cause of nerve pain. Known as diabetic neuropathy, it occurs when chronic high blood sugar levels damage nerves.
- Varicella zoster virus (the virus that causes chickenpox and shingles) can trigger a form of nerve pain called postherpetic neuralgia, or PHN.
- Nerve injury caused by inflammation or a pinched nerve around nearby bones, muscles, or connective tissue can lead to severe shooting pain in your arms and legs.
- Peripheral artery disease decreases blood flow. This can damage nerve cells and trigger nerve pain and numbness.
- Chemotherapy can affect nerve cells, causing them to send erratic pain signals.
Of course, knowing the source of your pain will not make it feel better. Luckily, you can count on four natural solutions for nerve pain relief.
4 Ways to Ease Nerve Pain
These four proven solutions help calm the shocking pain and repair the misfiring nerves to offer you much needed relief naturally.
Alpha lipoic acid. This potent antioxidant helps soothe frayed nerves to offer pain relief, helps nerves repair, and possibly slows or stops the progression of neuropathy. Alpha lipoic acid also helps your body manage blood sugar, potentially preventing diabetes-related nerve damage. One clinical study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine Research found that 300 mg of alpha lipoic acid taken twice daily for just 40 days significantly reduced nerve pain and improved the quality of life in patients with painful diabetic neuropathy.
Benfotiamine. Nerve health depends on B vitamins, especially thiamin, which is also known as the water-soluble form of vitamin B1. To give your body a stronger B1 boost, you’ll want the longer-lasting, fat-soluble version of this essential nutrient: benfotiamine. This special form can raise thiamin levels in the blood by up to 500 percent and maintain that level for significantly longer than its water-soluble cousin. That is a game changer when you’re suffering from nerve pain, because benfotiamine has been clinically proven to reduce the pain and tingling caused by diabetic neuropathy.
Boswellia. Inflammation exacerbates nerve pain, so you will want to include one of nature’s most powerful anti-inflammatory botanicals: boswellia. Most of boswellia’s anti-inflammation activity comes from a unique compound known as AKBA, a potent boswellic acid. Preliminary animal research published in Neural Regeneration Research demonstrated that AKBA promotes nerve regeneration, and this can help minimize nerve pain signals. For the best results, look for a boswellia extract listed on labels as either BOS-10 or BosPure—a proprietary form of the herb that is standardized to contain at least 10 percent AKBA.
Magnesium. This well known essential mineral plays a role in virtually every cellular function, making it crucial for maintaining health and wellness. But magnesium also has a less known, but equally important function: it helps turn down the volume on pain, reducing both its intensity and your pain sensitivity level. According to a 2020 study published in the journal Nutrients, magnesium calms special cells called NMDA receptors that stimulate and transmit nerve pain. That is how magnesium offers nerve pain relief stemming from a variety of conditions, including diabetic neuropathy and PHN.