Diabetes can cause long-term issues throughout your body, specifically if you don’t manage your blood glucose efficiently, and sugar levels stay high for several years. High blood glucose can cause diabetic neuropathy, which harms the nerves that send signals from your hands and feet.
Diabetic neuropathy can cause numbness or tingling in your fingers, toes, hands, and feet. Another symptom is a burning, sharp, or aching pain (diabetic nerve pain). The pain might be moderate in the beginning, but it can worsen with time and spread up your legs or arms. Walking can be painful as well as the softest touch can feel excruciating.
Ten to 20 percent of individuals with diabetes experience nerve pain. Nerve damage can affect your capability to sleep, decrease your lifestyle, and can likewise cause anxiety.
Treatments for Diabetic Nerve Pain
Damaged nerves cannot be changed. Nevertheless, there are ways that you can avoid further damage and ease your pain.
First, control your blood sugar so the damage doesn’t progress. Speak to your doctor about setting your blood glucose objective, and learn how to monitor it. You may be asked to lower your blood glucose before meals to 70 to 130 mg/dL and your blood sugar after meals to less than 180 mg/dL.
Use diets, exercise, and medications to decrease your blood sugar to a healthier range. Monitor other health dangers that can aggravate your diabetes, such as your weight and smoking cigarettes. Ask your doctor about effective methods to slim down or quit cigarette smoking, if needed.
Your doctor may recommend trying an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin, or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), which are readily available without a prescription but can cause side effects. Use a low dosage for a short time to control your symptoms.
Other choices exist for more powerful or longer term pain relief.
Antidepressants most typically treat depression. However, they can be recommended for diabetic nerve pain since they interfere with chemicals in your brain that cause you to feel pain. Your doctor may suggest tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline (Elavil), imipramine (Tofranil), and desipramine (Norpramin). These can cause unpleasant side effects like dry mouth, fatigue, and sweating. Your doctor might refrain from recommending tricyclic antidepressants if you have a history of heart problems.
Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) like venlafaxine (Effexor) and duloxetine (Cymbalta) are an option to tricyclics and have the tendency to have fewer side effects.
Opioid Pain Medicines
Effective drugs like oxycodone (Oxycontin) and the opioid-like medicine tramadol (Conzip, Ultram) can treat much stronger pain. However these have the tendency to be a last option for pain relief. You may use these medications if other treatments aren’t working. Nevertheless, these drugs are not suggested for long-term relief because of side effects and the potential for dependency. Work carefully with your doctor and use care when taking opioid medications.
Lidocaine patches deliver local anesthetic through a patch put on the skin, and can likewise cause minor skin inflammation.
Substance abuse to prevent epileptic seizures can likewise assist with nerve pain. These drugs include pregabalin (Lyrica), gabapentin (Gabarone, Neurontin), phenytoin (Dilantin), and carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol). Pregabalin can likewise enhance your sleep. Side effects consist of drowsiness, swelling, and lightheadedness.
A few alternative (although unproven) therapies have actually been studied for diabetic nerve pain, including:
- supplements like alpha lipoic acid and acetyl-L-carnitine
Alpha lipoic acid (or ALA) has been examined for blood glucose control, and it might likewise be thought about in diabetic neuropathy and kidney disease. Alpha lipoic acid is more effective when treatment is begun early prior to the diabetic neuropathy has advanced to a late stage. Ensure to speak with your doctor prior to starting any treatment by yourself. At this time, there are no herbal items that have actually been proven to be reliable versus diabetic neuropathy.
Some physical therapy treatments, such as swimming, can help treat diabetic neuropathy. Low-impact exercises are the most reliable, as high-impact exercises can quickly cause nerves to go numb.
Be sure to pick a trusted physical therapist who understands neuropathy, diabetic or otherwise, to help you overcome physical therapy methods in order to prevent further nerve damage. Appropriate focus on exercise by an expert can avoid any further problems from happening. Keep in mind, too, that physical therapy can soothe diabetic nerve pain, however not cure it.
Capsaicin cream (Arthricare, Zostrix) can obstruct pain signals utilizing a component discovered in hot peppers. Capsaicin products cause skin inflammation in some people. Capsaicin cream, which is also available as a lotion, jelly, or patch, can be applied to the skin where diabetic nerve pain is strong and briefly alleviate pain.
Speak to your doctor prior to utilizing treatments based upon capsaicin. It can cause allergic reactions, communicate with other drugs, or cause harmful side effects on open sores and inflamed or sensitive skin. You might likewise be more conscious the sun and other sources of heat. Prevent excessive exposure to sunlight or heat when using capsaicin creams or creams.
Taking care of Your Hands and Feet
Diabetic nerve damage causes pain and can likewise affect your ability to feel pain, so it’s essential to preserve your foot health.
To take much better care of your feet, inspect your feet every day for cuts, sores, swelling, and other issues, even if you don’t feel any issues. They can get infected, and neglected infections can result in serious complications, including amputation.
Wash your feet daily with warm water and dry them completely later. Then apply a lotion to keep them moisturized. Avoid getting cream in between your toes.
Use comfy, versatile shoes that give your feet space to move. Break in new shoes slowly so that they don’t injure your feet. Ask your doctor about customized shoes if routine shoes don’t fit well.
Constantly cover your feet with shoes, slippers, or thick socks to cushion them and prevent injuries.
Preventing Diabetic Nerve Pain
Keeping your blood sugar under control to prevent nerve damage is the best method to prevent nerve pain. Follow your doctor’s suggestions for diet, exercise, and treatments if you already experience diabetic nerve pain. Diabetic neuropathy does not have any known cures. However, numerous treatments can assist reduce the pain and pain triggered by diabetic nerve pain, and your doctor can help you in choosing one that works best for you.