How to Manage Neuropathic Pain during Cancer Treatment

Side effects of cancer treatment are varied, depending on the type of therapy, the individual diagnosis, and the person’s body; however, it’s fair to say most cancer patients will have to deal with some unfortunate side effects. The most known effects of chemotherapy are hair loss and nausea, but this treatment and others can cause a host of other negative physical impacts. Neuropathic cancer pain is one phenomenon associated with a number of chemo drugs.

Neuropathy, which occurs after damage to the peripheral nerves, may present as numbness, tingling and burning in the hands and feet, numbness around the mouth, loss of sensation, constipation, physical disorientation, and weakness. Patients who have previously been treated with chemotherapy and those who have been diagnosed with diabetes, alcoholism or malnutrition are all at higher risk for neuropathic cancer pain.

While each patient’s case is different, according to Healthline, there are a number of home remedies for neuropathic pain that may provide some relief, such as:

  1. Exercise: Regular exercise, to the extent that is safe and comfortable for patients, promotes proper blood flow, can reduce blood pressure and slow nerve damage.
  2. Warm bath: Warm water can help increase blood flow, which may decrease the symptoms of neuropathy.
  3. Essential oils: Chamomile and lavender are especially known to decrease inflammation and promote circulation.
  4. Meditation: Already used by many cancer patients, meditation can be particularly beneficial for helping patients to learn to overcome neuropathic cancer pain.
  5. Acupuncture: Stimulating pressure points can trigger the body to release chemicals that help it manage pain.
  6. Vitamins: Vitamin B, either in food or as a pill, is especially helpful for proper nerve health.
  7. Quitting smoking: Smoking restricts blood vessels, which can make neuropathy worse.
  8. Cayenne pepper: The capsaicin that is contained within cayenne pepper has been shown to reduce neuropathic cancer pain. It can be taken as a supplement or incorporated into a diet.

In addition to these home remedies for neuropathic pain, there are also things cancer patients can do to guard against neuropathy if it starts developing. Protect any areas where there has been numbness or tingling, such as wearing socks if you’ve felt the sensation in your feet. Avoid extreme temperatures, such as hot showers. Use gloves for activities such as washing the dishes or gardening outside. Drink plenty of fluids to combat constipation, and eat foods high in fiber. Most of all, be informed about the medications you’re taking to ensure you’re prepared for any potential side effects.

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