Exercise can alleviate neuropathic pain in two ways: 1) it reduces inflammation and 2) it increases blood flow to nerves.
Inflammation is a normal response to injury or infection. When there are no immediate problems, the body’s immune system fights off any foreign invaders that might be present. However, when inflammation becomes excessive (as occurs with chronic inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis), then the immune system begins attacking healthy tissue instead of invading it. Inflammatory cells release chemicals called cytokines which affect many different systems in the body. These include the nervous system, liver, kidneys, heart and lungs.
The main effect of inflammation is to reduce blood supply to nerves. This causes symptoms such as numbness or tingling sensations in the affected area. If left untreated, nerve damage may result from reduced blood flow to nerves due to increased levels of free radicals and other substances produced by damaged cells.
In addition to reducing blood supply to nerves, inflammation can also increase the amount of free radicals in the blood. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and DNA if they come into contact with them. Research shows that free radical activity is higher during periods of high stress such as those caused by physical exertion, illness or even emotional distress.
When these factors combine, it results in an imbalance between protective mechanisms and reactive processes that contribute to cell death. Fortunately, physical activity can help to reduce the effects of inflammation. This is partly due to the increased blood flow that results from physical activity.
Exercise can increase blood flow to nerves and to other tissues such as muscles. In addition, it releases endorphins which are our bodies natural pain relievers. They bind to the same receptors in the brain that are targeted by opiates and morphine-like drugs.
It also helps to strengthen bones and muscles. Muscles contract and pull on bones which strengthens their structure. This is one reason why osteoporosis is a common condition among those who are bed-ridden or lack physical activity.
Exercise and the elderly have also been shown to benefit from reduced inflammation. It helps to maintain body weight, increases muscle strength and bone health, enhances the capacity for performing daily activities and reduces falls and fractures.
Aerobic activity also has a positive effect on those suffering from nerve damage. For instance, it increases the amount of blood flow to these areas and can subsequently help to relieve symptoms such as numbness and tingling sensations. This is partly due to the effects of endorphins which block pain signals to the brain. The increased blood flow can also help to bring protective factors such as antioxidants, nutrients and other helpful compounds to these areas.
There is no specific amount or type of physical activity that is suitable for everyone. Everyone responds to activity at their own pace and different amounts of activity are suitable for each individual. It is recommended that everyone does some form of regular physical activity even if it is just a light walk. This will help to improve general health and reduce the risk of illness and disease.
Return To Common Sense
One of the most important factors when it comes to curing nerve damage naturally is your mindset. It is important to not let yourself become overwhelmed by the fear of losing feeling in your body. Everyone experiences some kind of temporary tingling, numbness or other sensations at some point in their life and most of the time it is nothing serious and just our nerves acting up.
The problem arises when we panic about these sensations and begin to worry that something more serious is going on. In these situations it is crucial to try and remain as calm and relaxed as possible. Focusing on your breathing and taking things one step at a time can help you to maintain a clear head.
This may seem difficult, especially when you are feeling anxious but if you practice techniques such as meditation or yoga on a regular basis then it will become easier and second nature to you.
Along with this, it is important to keep your mind occupied with other tasks or activities of interest. If you spend all day sitting at a desk job, try and take a walk during your break times or prepare healthy snacks rather than fetching a burger from the local fast food restaurant.
All of these small things can have a positive effect on your state of mind and ultimately make you feel more relaxed and in control of your life.
There are also a range of alternative therapies that may help to calm your nerves and improve the blood flow to your nerve endings. Acupuncture has been shown to be beneficial in treating a wide range of conditions and it doesn’t hurt to try it if you’re feeling anxious about your symptoms.
Other techniques such as essential oils and aromatherapy can also help to relieve stress and keep you in a positive frame of mind. Aromatherapy is the art of using the scent of certain oils and plant extracts to improve one’s mental, emotional, and physical health.
Essential oils can be rubbed directly onto the skin, diluted with a carrier oil or gel to make a massage oil, or inhaled via diffuser to give all round relief from stress and anxiety.
Other natural remedies such as ginger and gingko biloba can also help to improve blood flow and circulation throughout the body. If you are really keen to cure any nerve damage naturally then taking these supplements on a daily basis can only be beneficial to you in the long run.
Take a look through the different options and see which ones are more suitable to your lifestyle, then choose one or two that you think will have the most impact. Everyone is different and you need to take into account things such as cost and convenience when choosing your preferred options.
Natural supplements and herbal remedies can be just as effective as prescription medication if you take the time to learn about their benefits and drawbacks and apply them correctly. It is up to you to take that first step and change your life for the better.
If you are having problems with any other areas of your life then there are a number of online resources that can help. From dealing with anxiety attacks to curing insomnia, there is almost no problem that you can’t find a website dedicated to helping people with it.
One issue that often becomes a problem for people is handling stress in the workplace. If you are feeling stressed and anxious about your job on a daily basis then it is only going to aggravate your symptoms.
You need to find a way of keeping your stress levels low and one of the best ways to do this is by keeping yourself occupied with hobbies. Take an interest in something that takes your mind off your worries and keep yourself focused on positive things.
If you have a restricted budget then visiting your local library or browsing the online catalog is a great way of killing time and educating yourself at the same time. Many libraries now have internet access so you can catch up with friends and family online or even chat to someone via web cam from across the world!
You could also take an interest in exercise. It has been proven that regular exercise can improve your health and make you feel more relaxed.
Sources & references used in this article:
Benefits of exercise intervention in reducing neuropathic pain by JL Dobson, J McMillan, L Li – Frontiers in cellular neuroscience, 2014 – frontiersin.org
Emerging relationships between exercise, sensory nerves, and neuropathic pain by MA Cooper, PM Kluding, DE Wright – Frontiers in neuroscience, 2016 – frontiersin.org
Exercise therapy normalizes BDNF upregulation and glial hyperactivity in a mouse model of neuropathic pain by C Almeida, A DeMaman, R Kusuda, F Cadetti… – Pain, 2015 – journals.lww.com
The effect of exercise frequency on neuropathic pain and pain-related cellular reactions in the spinal cord and midbrain in a rat sciatic nerve injury model by M Sumizono, H Sakakima, S Otsuka… – Journal of pain …, 2018 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Exercise training attenuates neuropathic pain and cytokine expression after chronic constriction injury of rat sciatic nerve by YW Chen, YT Li, YC Chen, ZY Li… – Anesthesia & …, 2012 – journals.lww.com
Enriched environment and effects on neuropathic pain: experimental findings and mechanisms by LW Tai, SC Yeung, CW Cheung – Pain Practice, 2018 – Wiley Online Library
The Effects of Exercise on Pain and Reproductive Performance in Female Pregnant Mice With Neuropathic Pain by M Parent-Vachon, F Beaudry… – … research for nursing, 2019 – journals.sagepub.com
Effects of an exercise programme on musculoskeletal and neuropathic pain after spinal cord injury—results from a seated double-poling ergometer study by C Norrbrink, T Lindberg, K Wahman, A Bjerkefors – Spinal Cord, 2012 – nature.com
Exercise-mediated improvements in painful neuropathy associated with prediabetes in mice by AL Groover, JM Ryals, BL Guilford, NM Wilson… – PAIN®, 2013 – Elsevier