WELL BEING: Neuropathy

5 Oct


Millions of people suffer from the debilitating numbness and tingling pins and needles feeling of neuropathy.

As a licensed massage therapist and herbalist, I am consulted every single week about this particularly painful form of nerve damage.

There are numerous types of neuropathies which are all characterized by a progressive loss of nerve fiber function.

Neuropathy is most often caused or worsened by:

  • Diabetes
  • Alcoholism
  • Severe malnutrition
  • Prior chemotherapy
  • Electrocution
  • Major Injuries

Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy:

  • Numbness, tingling (feeling of pins and needles) of hands and/or feet
  • Burning of hands and/or feet
  • Numbness around mouth
  • Constipation
  • Loss of sensation to touch
  • Loss of positional sense (knowing where a body part is without looking)
  • Weakness and leg cramping or any pain in hands and/or feet
  • Difficulty picking things up or buttoning clothes

Ultimately, all neuropathies are a form of damage to the nerve endings, most commonly the peripheral nerves.

Certain chemotherapy drugs can cause peripheral neuropathy such as vinca alkaloids (vincristine), cisplatin, paclitaxel, and the podophyllotoxins (etoposide and tenoposide).  Other drugs used to treat cancer such as thalidomide and interferon can also cause peripheral neuropathy.

Many of my clients complain that even after all the doctors visits and trying  a variety of medications, they are still suffering terribly with no relief in sight.

Understand, as an herbalist, I see the world through very different eyes than most health care professionals.  I like to look at the whole person, their strengths and weaknesses, their optimal health and their nutritional deficits.  And what I have observed is that the nutritional deficiency that most often causes neuropathy.. also causes diabetes.

Let’s begin with what causes this nerve pain.  When the myelin sheathing that surrounds nerve endings gets thin and brittle, it breaks down thereby exposing the nerve.  Raw nerve endings equal pain.

The nutrient most needed to re-build myelin sheathing around the nerves is Thiamin, also known as B1.

Thiamin is a water-soluble B vitamin that strengthens the insulation around nerves, thereby protecting us from unnecessary pain.  Thiamin relieves pain over-all, providing energy and stamina, as well as rapid recovery from all forms of injury.

I have it on good authority from my clients, using B1 for relief of neuropathy, that they have experienced significant pain relief over-all.  Some have claimed that even a small dosage of B1 everyday provides more relief than all the medications they have used for neuropathy.  Perhaps it is because medications are often designed to help patients cope and function with the disorder as opposed to healing it.  Thiamin actually goes in to repair the nerve damage and re-grow the myelin sheath.  But remember that not all nerve damage is repairable.  If this disorder has been ongoing for some time, you may find some relief from pain by using this B vitamin but complete healing is not always possible.

Word of warning, taking any B vitamin by itself tends to make you deficient in all the other B vitamins.  So if you are considering Thiamin, be sure to get a complete B complex to take in addition.  Take only as directed and discuss with your physician before starting any nutritional regimen.

Since most of my clients who have neuropathy also have diabetes, it is pertinent to mention the connection nutritionally.  In lab studies, diabetes has been intentionally caused in lab animals within 24 hours of removing B vitamins from their diet.  The pancreas renews itself every 24 hours and B vitamins are essential to its proper function in balancing blood sugar.

So, which came first, the chicken or the egg?  How about, which came first, diabetes or neuropathy?

The answer may be that Thiamin (vitamin B1) deficiency caused both of these disorders at the exact same time, causing the pancreas to malfunction and the sheathing insulators around nerve endings to break down.

So be kind to your body.  It only hurts because it is trying to tell you it needs something.  Take it easy and do your research.  Talk to your friends and ask if any have ever taken Thiamin for neuropathy pain relief.  Use your creams and get a massage.   Hopefully, you’ll be feeling better in no time.

One Response to “WELL BEING: Neuropathy”

  1. Kris Langley April 20, 2015 at 3:36 pm #

    Hi. I was hopping to get some advice on my feet , I had surgery 8 months ago . The plantar plate was repaired and a Mortons Nuromo was removed. Have been trying to exercise and walk but they have become more painful and is spreading over my body, my face, and hand are affected(I have neuralga in face) I have read your article and I have many on your list of complaints. I have been taking a multi b with 5mg Thiamin once a day will it help at all if I take 3 timers a day. And how much thiamine is too much. I am in despair as I have tried to get it right . The graft on my Plantar plate is still torn and am going to see a specialist, but I’d rather have a different rememdy to surgery again. Thankyou


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