The rate of prevalence of neuropathy is high, with around 30% of all Americans expected to be diagnosed at some point of time. The reasons behind the condition vary, with diabetes being attributed as the most common reason. Studies reveal that 60% of all diabetics are afflicted neuropathy. Multiple treatment options are presently use for treating the condition – from surgery, therapy, to injections and the use of essential oils. Treatment options are intended to reduce the pain and other symptoms associated with the condition. Many individuals opt for essential oils for neuropathy treatment, as it is regarded as one of the effective natural treatment options. Here is a good look at the effectiveness of essential oils for neuropathy through evidence based information related to the condition.
What is neuropathy and why are essential oils for neuropathy considered as effective?
Neuropathy is a condition caused as a result of diabetes, toxin exposure, infections and injuries. Patients with neuropathy are likely to experience symptoms as a result of nerve damage. Common symptoms include numbness, pain and an overall felling of weakness in limb extremities, especially in the hands and feet. The type of pain associated with the condition includes pricking sensations common to that of pin pricks. In addition to the pain, individuals are likely to experience a numb feeling. Pain management for neuropathy involves the use of pain killers and anti-depressants. Topical applications for relieving pain are also commonly used for alleviating the condition.
Essential oils for neuropathy are considered as effective because of the mechanism of action that offers considerable pain relief. As a natural form of treatment, essential oils are regarded as safe, without severe side effects. Another clear advantage that makes essential oils for neuropathy popular, is the proven action of the oils in treating the underlying condition. It is important to not only deal with the pain and other others symptoms that are typically associated with a condition, but to treat the reason behind the condition. This helps to offer relief over a long term and will gradually reduce dependency on treatment for symptoms. Patients with neuropathy suffer damage to the nerves, typically outside the brain and spinal cord. This explains the common term peripheral neuropathy, as the condition affects the peripheral nerves. The condition is known to affect various parts of the body, though it generally affects the hands and the feet more than other parts of the body.
It is essential to understand that the condition is not curable, but can only be managed. In other words, all treatments for neuropathy are intended to alleviate the discomfort associated with the condition. The underlying reason behind the condition is sought to be treated to reduce the dependence on treatment. In some cases, the chronic condition could last years or could result in lifelong afflictions. The reasons for peripheral neuropathy include disorders that are genetically inherited, auto immune diseases, kidney failure, adverse effects of medication, and nutritional deficiencies. Depending on the underlying reasons for the condition, the duration differs, in addition to having an impact on the outcomes of treatment.
How will essential oils for neuropathy help in treating the condition?
The qualities and mechanism of action of essential oils are more or less similar in a broader context. Certain oils have additional qualities, while in some the manner in which the oil is used differs. Some oils are extracted through cold press methods, while others are extracted through other methods. The potency of the oils also differ and these qualities have an impact on the manner in which the oils are used and the purpose of using the oil. The common benefits from essential oils include pain alleviation, treatment of infections, and stress relief, in addition to helping individuals fall asleep easily. Patients with neuropathy or other complications are likely to find it difficult to fall asleep easily and this in turn will impact health adversely. Essential oils for neuropathy effectively help individuals to overcome symptoms, which in turn aids in the possible treatment of underlying conditions, depending on the reason.
Essential oils for neuropathy – impact of different oils on the condition
The impact of different oils on the condition may differ, despite similar mechanisms of action and properties. Some of the more popular oils are profiled below, which outline the role of the oils and their effects on patients with neuropathy. But before that it is important to look at how the essential oils for neuropathy have to be used as part of treatment regimen.
Essential oils are either inhaled or used as topical applications when being massaged on targeted areas of the body. Individuals who wish to inhale essential oils need to add a few drops to either a diffuser or bath water. The aroma from the oil when inhaled, delivers the required results through its individual mechanism of action. All essential oils are concentrated oils and are therefore strong in aroma. When essential oils are used for massaging to receive benefits, it is essential to dilute the oils with carrier oils. This will prevent highly potent and concentrated essential oils from triggering adverse reactions due to the application. Whenever essential oils are used for massage it is necessary to gently massage the oil and not apply excessive pressure or rubbing motion. As the oils are not under regulation as medicinal products, despite the use cases, it is essential to choose superior quality products. Advice from a medical practitioner is essential, as some of the essential oils are known to have contraindications with medications that are of the stimulant category. It is therefore necessary to consult a specialist before ingesting or applying essential oils for neuropathy if individuals are on medication.
Some of the more popular essential oils for neuropathy include
Ginger essential oil – The anti-inflammatory properties of the oil and its mechanism of action helps to bring down the pain associated with neuropathy. Documented results have proven the efficacy of the oil in treating patients suffering from chronic pain. This has been attributed to the anti-inflammatory properties present in zingibain, a compound found in ginger. The anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties of ginger oil make it a good choice to use in the treatment of neuropathy.
Lavender essential oil – This essential oil is generally ingested to experience pain relief and enter into a state of relaxation. This is beneficial for individuals who suffer from neuropathy and are unable to fall asleep. As a result of this inability to enter into a state of rest, individuals who suffer from the condition are more likely to experience extended discomfort and pain. Lavender offers swift pain relief and also brings down inflammation, which helps patients with neuropathy to experience relaxation.
Chamomile essential oil – Pain alleviation is achieved by Chamomile essential oil in addition to the strong anti-inflammatory properties. Extensive research has been conducted on the effects of Borneol, one of the compounds in Chamomile oil, in treating pain and inflammation. The results of studies are positive and this has supported the claims on the efficacy of essential oils for neuropathy treatment. The compound which is responsible for a mechanism of action that relieves pain and inflammation is common to both Chamomile and Lavender.
Basil Essential Oil – An aromatic plant that is extensively found in South East Asia and used in traditional medicine for a variety of conditions, Basil has properties that make it suitable for treating neuropathy. Among the essential oils for neuropathy treatment, Basil is ranked high due to its proven soothing effects. The effects of the extract of Basil have prompted researchers to study its properties in lab studies on sciatic nerve pain. While the tests have been conducted only on rats, it is an accepted part of medical research that certain results conducted on rats also hold good to a certain extent on humans. This makes Basil essential oil a good choice for treating neuropathy.
Peppermint Essential Oil – Similar to all essential oils, Peppermint Essential Oil has strong anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. In addition to this, the oil has strong anti-oxidant properties that help boost the immune system in addition to bringing down muscle spasms. The oil is regarded as one of the most potent among essential oils and is used for a wide range of problems. None of the essential oils have been specifically studied with respect to effects on neuropathy, though the effects of usage have been widely reported. The symptoms associated with neuropathy are mainly pain, discomfort and anxiety. Most of the essential oils have properties that alleviate pain while offering a soothing experience.
Essential oils for neuropathy treatment have to be used with care, as the underlying causes for neuropathy need to be understood properly before using the oils. This is to ensure that there are no contraindications. Most essential oils are used as part of treatment regimen and are generally not the only treatment options. In other words, essential oils are typically a part of the regimen and aimed to reduce pain and discomfort among patients.