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Neuropathy

'Neuropathy' is defined in ayurveda as a disease of the nerves. There are two types :- 'Dosha Nidanthi', which affects the nerves directly, and 'Guna Nidanthi', where neuropathy arises due to the accumulation of Vata or Pitta dosha. In Ayurvedic terms, all neurological disorders can be attributed to these two basic causes.

Causes of neuropathy according to Ayurveda: The cause for both primary and secondary type of neuropathy is mainly three factors – vitiated Kaphahara pitta, vitiated Vata dosha (Vatavyadhi) and Vyadhi karanam.

Ayurvedic Medicines for Neuropathy

Neuropathy is a Chronic condition and Ayurvedic treatments are holistic, non-aggressive and don't have any side effects. The main objective of treating neuropathy with Ayurveda is to heal the root cause of the disorder rather than just relieving its symptoms. When you get yourself treated with ayurvedic remedies for neuropathy, it means you are taking charge of your life as well as making right decision in terms of alternative health management initiatives.

Treatment of neuropathy with Ayurveda may include following measures:

Vata detoxification

Detoxification plays an important role in treating neuropathies as many a times it has been observed that stress induced by various factors leads to accumulation of vata in neuronal tissues resulting in activation of vata dosha thereby aggravating the neuropathy condition. Neuropathy is mainly caused due to invasion of vata dosha into affected tissues which results in spasm and inflammation of nerves resulting in pain, numbness etc. Vata detoxification aims at cleansing the nervous system thereby restoring normalcy of its functioning leading to pain relief as well as prevention of further damage to nerve cells and tissues.

The process starts with toning up of digestive system so that all toxins present within body should be digested completely. This ensures complete absorption of nutrients from food which is required for calming down aggravated vata dosha. Antioxidants present in certain herbs activate capillary beds thereby increasing blood supply to affected areas thereby helping them heal faster and promoting regeneration of damaged or dead cells.

Neuropathy is a nervous system disorder in which certain parts of the body lose feeling or experience abnormal pain and temperature. Once neuropathy has developed, it is permanent. The term neuropathy is most commonly used to describe damaged nerves in the arms, legs, and torso, but may also be applied to disorders affecting the cranial (head) and peripheral (legs and trunk). Neuropathy does not affect intelligence, memory or personality as these are controlled by other areas of the brain/body. However, people with neuropathy may have difficulties with fine motor skills such as handwriting, dressing, etc. because their nerve signals may not be clear enough to guide their muscles properly. About 50% of all diabetic patients suffer from varying degrees of diabetic neuropathies with the most common being peripheral neuropathy (75% of all cases), in which damage occurs to sensory nerve fibers in the feet, legs, and hands.

Causes of Neuropathy

The exact cause(s) of neuropathy is (are) unknown. However, it is speculated that underlying causes may be genetic, immune-mediated, or due to abnormal metabolism of certain biochemical substances within cells in the body. It has also been suggested that a faulty diet, obesity, and/or lack of exercise may play a role. Neuropathy can result from prolonged exposure to cold temperatures or vibration however most diabetic patients suffer from 'peripheral' neuropathies which have no apparent etiology or cause.

Symptoms of Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy usually affects one side more than the other and often occurs in 'stocking and glove' distribution (both feet or both hands). The most common symptoms of neuropathy may include-

  • Numbness
  • tingling or burning sensation in the extremities (hands/feet)
  • Loss of sensation after mild injury e.g. cuts and scratches that would otherwise have hurt a lot
  • Burning pain with no discernible cause
  • Extreme sensitivity to cold temperatures and pain associated with exposure to temperature changes (cold, heat, etc.) usually affecting the feet first
  • Muscle weakness in hands and feet is associated with difficulty walking due to abnormal sensory nerve signals from the legs
  • Skin discoloration at sites of physical trauma (cuts, grazes, etc.) due to an insufficient blood supply