Alternative Therapies

Many patients find that complementary and alternative therapies help manage pain caused by peripheral neuropathy. Complementary and alternative therapies are drug-free treatments that are non-invasive and support the idea that the body will work to heal itself. They may be used alone or may be combined with other medications and treatments.

Some alternative therapies are:

Biofeedback

Biofeedback is a therapy that uses an electrical machine to help you identify, monitor and learn to consciously manage your body's physiological responses. Biofeedback helps people learn to alter activities usually controlled by the autonomic nervous system such as heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle activity. It also can be used to learn relaxation techniques that can reduce stress, headaches and chronic pain. Biofeedback therapy enables people to learn how to consciously manipulate a body function by using feedback gathered by electronic sensors that measure various body functions such as brain waves, temperature, heart rate and muscle tension. The information provided by the electronic instruments enables a person to learn ways to control, reduce or avert certain physical reactions such as those that increase feelings of stress and pain. Certified biofeedback therapists monitor the electronic equipment and train patients in the most effective techniques to control their specific symptoms.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese treatment that is performed today throughout the United States and Europe. Acupuncture involves inserting very thin needles into the body at specific points. Many people believe that acupuncture is an effective therapy to reduce pain. For some people with peripheral neuropathy, acupuncture acts as a complementary therapy because it may reduce the need to take pain-relieving drugs. Presently, research results are mixed as to whether or not acupuncture reduces chronic pain. A list of doctors that practice acupuncture is available from The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture.

Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques are designed to release tension that could make pain worse. A number of techniques exist including breathing exercises, visualization, meditation, massage and yoga.