I came across a very interesting article today talking about using Vitamin C to help the nerve pain a.k.a neuropathic pain condition, postherpetic neuralgia.
Postherpetic neuralgia is also known as shingles. Shingles is caused by the herpes zoster virus affecting the nerves causing pain, usually in the intercostal (rib) nerves of the chest. What I found interesting was in the recent study by Chen et al. was that they helped to reduce the patients pain significantly using the anti-oxidant, Vitamin C (ascorbic acid).
My Diet Affects Shingles?
The researchers found that a sign of poor nutrition is by testing to see if you have low plasma levels of Vitamin C in your blood.
But why Vitamin C? Well I had a look further into the role of nutrition, particularly Vit C, in helping give you trapped nerve pain relief. But first you need to know what chemical can cause the neuropathic pain which is why we must look at reactive oxygen species (ROS).
Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS)
You are probably asking “What is Reactive Oxygen Species?”
Reactive oxygen species are free radicals produced in biological systems that are involved in various degenerative brain diseases ¹. So it has been found that these reactive oxygen species free radicals can cause problems in the nervous system. These free radicals are normally produced with no problems, but there are times that they might contribute to neuropathic pain.
Vitamin C Helps Neuropathic Pain
Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant. This means it lowers the amount of free radicals produced from oxidation, like the reactive oxygen species.
A recent study ² looked into the supposed help Vit C could have in lowering pain coming from nerves. The study looked at postherpetic neuralgia patients and normal healthy patients Vit C levels in the plasma of their blood.
What was found is that healthy individuals have a much higher level of plasma Vit C than the neuralgia patients. The researchers gave both healthy and neuralgia patients 3 separate saline intravenous drips with or without the anti-oxidant. What they found was interesting.
The neuropathic pain patients Vitamin C levels returned to normal and their perceived level of spontaneous pain improved. So the study concluded that vitamin C plasma levels play a role in PostHerpetic Neuralgia, & that intravenous vitamin C helps relieve spontaneous pain in these neuropathic pain patients.
Your Trapped Nerve Pain Relief Diet
This finding may in the future be of help to people suffering a trapped nerve.
Your diet affects your nutrition status. What you eat is important for your pain levels.
It would look like people suffering trapped nerve neuropathic pain may have poorer levels of the good vitamins and minerals in their bodies.
Earlier this year scientists also looked at omega-3 fish oils supplements.These case studies also found increasing omega-3 fish oils in your diet can help neuropathic pain and other musculoskeletal conditions.
Now it would seem something as simple as getting your Vit C levels in your blood right and back on track are another important for natural trapped nerve pain relief technique.
I guess what we can all learn again is that a healthy, balanced diet is important for your health. If you are suffering a neuropathic pain condition then not only should you look at the pharmaceutical drug solution, but make sure you are eating properly and taking supplements, if needed.
Have you found vitamin C helped your neuropathic pain levels, let me know with a comment below.
- Kim HK, Park SK, Zhou JL et al. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) play an important role in a rat model of neuropathic pain. Pain. 2004 Sep;111(1-2):116-24.
- Chen JY, Chang CY, Feng PH, et al. Plasma vitamin C is lower in postherpetic neuralgia patients and administration of vitamin C reduces spontaneous pain but not brush-evoked pain. Clin J Pain. 2009 Sep;25(7):562-9.