Alternative medicine

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Some people with peripheral neuropathy try complementary and alternative treatments for relief of their symptoms. Although researchers haven't studied these techniques as thoroughly as they have most medications, the following therapies have shown some promise:

  • Acupuncture. Acupuncture, which involves inserting thin needles into various points on your body, may reduce peripheral neuropathy symptoms. You may need multiple sessions before you notice improvement. Acupuncture is generally considered safe when performed by a certified practitioner using sterile needles.
  • Alpha-lipoic acid. Used as a treatment for peripheral neuropathy in Europe for years, this antioxidant may help reduce symptoms. Discuss using alpha-lipoic acid with your doctor because it may affect blood sugar levels. Other side effects may include stomach upset and skin rash.
  • Herbs. Certain herbs, such as evening primrose oil, may help reduce neuropathy pain in people with diabetes. Some herbs interact with medications, so discuss herbs you're considering with your doctor.
  • Amino acids. Amino acids, such as acetyl-L-carnitine, may help improve peripheral neuropathy in people who have undergone chemotherapy and in people with diabetes. Side effects may include nausea and vomiting.
  • Fish oil. These supplements, which have omega-3 fatty acids, may reduce inflammation, improve blood flow and improve neuropathy symptoms in people with diabetes. Check with your doctor before taking fish oil supplements if you're taking anti-clotting medications.
Dec. 02, 2014

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