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NEURALGIA

FOODS THAT HARM

  • Alcohol

    FOODS THAT HEAL

  • Lean meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Spinach
  • Potatoes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Wheat germ
  • Vegetable oils

    WHO’S AFFECTED

  • About 800,000 Americans and 97,000 Canadians
  • People with arthritis, diabetes, syphilis, or cancer
    Neuralgia is any type of throbbing pain that extends along the course of one or more of the peripheral nerves
    In some cases, doctors can’t find a cause; in others, the cause is an infection or underlying disease, such as arthritis, diabetes, or syphilis
    Tumors, both cancerous and benign, can cause neuralgia, as do structural problems in which nerves become compressed or pinched
    Sciatica, the throbbing pain that can extend from the lower back and buttocks to the feet, is one of the most common examples
    Various medications, as well as arsenic and other toxins, can also produce neuralgia

    Nutrition Connection

    Maintain vitamin B12 levels
    A deficiency of vitamin B12, found in all animal products such as poultry and beef, can lead to degeneration of the spinal cord and widespread neuralgia as well as pernicious anemia
    Keep up vitamin B6
    The long-term use of hydralazine (a powerful antihypertensive medication) or isoniazid (used to treat tuberculosis) can result in vitamin B6 deficiency, manifested by sensory loss and neuralgia
    Anyone taking these drugs should follow a diet that provides extra B6
    Good sources include lean meat, poultry, fish, spinach, sweet and white potatoes, watermelon, bananas, and prunes
    A doctor may prescribe B6 supplements
    Self-treating with high doses, however, can also damage sensory nerves
    Pump up vitamin E
    In rare cases, malabsorption problems resulting in low vitamin E levels can cause a type of neuralgia
    Good dietary sources include nuts, seeds, wheat germ, vegetable oils, fortified and enriched cereals, eggs, poultry, and seafood
    Doctors may also give supplements of 30 to 100 mg a day
    Decrease alcohol consumption
    Deficiencies of the B-complex vitamins can result in neuralgia involving numerous nerves throughout the body, a condition known as polyneuralgia or polyneuropathy
    This condition often occurs in alcoholics, whose diets are generally poor

    Beyond the Diet

    Medicate to ease pain
    Various medications can be used to control the pain associated with neuralgia
    Investigate other treatments
    Other treatments may include physical therapy, nerve ablation, or local injections of pain-relieving medications