Research has revealed that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may help those suffering from nerve damage (neuropathy).

What is cognitive behavioral therapy?

Essentially, cognitive behavioral therapy, a psychological treatment program, teaches people to think healthy. In other words, CBT helps you learn how to stop those discouraging, irrational, or other negative thoughts that might dominate your mind. And you can apply CBT to how your mind influences your body.

The concept is that if you shift your thinking away from any pain you might be experiencing and focus on more positive thoughts, you can eventually change the way your body responds to pain. Ideally, this practice can provide an avenue for pain relief outside of prescribed medications.

How does CBT work for neuropathy?

At the University of Boston and the VA Boston Healthcare System, researchers examined the effects of CBT on two groups of U.S. veterans—one that was receiving CBT and another that was receiving standard treatment. All participants had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and had been suffering from neuropathic pain for more than three months.

The CBT group attended 11 one-hour sessions that focused on relaxation techniques, as well as how to identify and challenge thoughts that add to pain.

> After four months, the CBT participants indicated that they were experiencing less pain and that any pain they were feeling did not interfere as much in their daily lives.

Researchers concluded that CBT represents a viable means for helping not only lessen neuropathic pain but improving quality of life.

Is CBT a good option for you?

Talk with your doctor about the benefits of CBT to determine whether this treatment might suit your individual condition. And remember that it may take several sessions before you notice meaningful results.