There are many medical conditions that can cause nerve pain in the legs and feet, including chronic ones like multiple sclerosis (MS). Pain, unfortunately, is par for the course with MS. But with the right treatments — both natural and prescription — you will likely be able to find some relief.
Why MS Causes Pain
The nerve pain that people with MS experience can be caused directly by the disease or by related illnesses, such as fibromyalgia and arthritis.
When it’s a direct result of MS, the mechanism is through nerve damage. MS attacks the myelin sheath, which is the natural protective covering of your brain, spinal cord, and entire nervous system. Coupled with the development of lesions and plaques in the nervous system, this can lead to pain in the legs and throughout the body.
MS also makes movement and gait difficult. As nerve damage worsens, people with MS are likely to experience stiffness and aching.
MS pain can vary from dull and sporadic to stabbing, severe, and constant. In severe cases, small triggers like a cold breeze or even the sensation of bed sheets can cause pain in those with MS.
Managing pain usually involves a combination of multiple techniques, including pharmaceuticals and home remedies. Some of the following treatments may aid in pain relief:
1. Warm Compress or Warm Bath
According to nutrition consultant and MS patient Barbara Rodgers, too much heat can exacerbate symptoms, so a hot bath or hot compress may make matters worse. However, warm compresses can provide comfort and relief.
A massage can serve several purposes, stimulating blood flow in the body and gently relieving muscle pain and tension while promoting relaxation and a sense of well-being. For MS patients, this relaxation is important and often difficult to come by.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, stress, depression, and anxiety can make MS patients more likely to report pain. Managing these stressors and psychological conditions can reduce the pain they once aggravated. Support groups and working with a therapist are just a few methods to lessen these psychological factors.
4. Nutritional Supplements
Nerve pain can be caused and exacerbated by certain deficiencies. Your doctor can help you determine if you may be deficient in vitamins B-12, B-1, B-6, D, E, or zinc, and whether a supplement would be right for you. Rodgers also suggests Wobenzym, a supplement that is intended to help stiffness and soreness.
5. Dietary Changes
Frequently, pain and illness are related to an unhealthy diet. Rodgers says that people suffering with MS should take a critical look at what they’re eating and consider eliminating common culprits when it comes to nerve pain. These might include corn, dairy, gluten, soy, and sugar.
Living with a condition like MS is difficult. The pain isn’t just hard to cope with mentally, but it can impact your qualify of life. Speak with your doctor about the best multipronged approach for you.