Several medications are used to treat chemotherapy-induced neuropathy, states the American Cancer Society. Not all drugs work equally well for all patients, so experimentation is often necessary. Physical treatments for nerve pain include electrical nerve stimulation, acupuncture, biofeedback, guided imagery and occupational, physical or relaxation therapy.
Steroids control neuropathy for short periods, but they are not a long-term solution, advises ACS. Numbing patches or creams placed on the affected area help mask pain. Lidocaine patches and capsaicin cream are examples of anesthetizing agents. Anti-convulsant medicines or small doses of antidepressant drugs sometimes bring relief. In certain cases, relentless pain calls for opioids or narcotics.
Patients are able to take some steps to help control their nerve pain. Medications are most effective if taken when the pain is still mild or moderate, ACS states. Temperature extremes accentuate pain, as does restrictive clothing. Gloves help protect affected hands during indoor and outdoor manual work. Patients with neuropathy in their feet should sit whenever possible.
Alcohol should be avoided because it sometimes leads to nerve damage, warns ACS. Diabetes must be kept under control because it also injures nerves. If neuropathy affects movement and balance, hand rails, canes or walkers offer support. Numbness increases risk of burns or frostbite, so patients need to consciously avoid harmful situations, Riverside Health System recommends.