Diabetes can result in a range of complications. Leg pain and cramps typically occur as a result of nerve damage called diabetic neuropathy. If diabetes damages nerves in your arms or legs, it’s called diabetic peripheral neuropathy. This condition can be a direct result of long-lasting high blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia) in those who have diabetes.
Leg Pain and Cramps Treatment
Pain, burning, tingling, and numbness prevail symptoms. Peripheral neuropathy can also lead to serious foot and leg conditions. Capturing nerve damage early is necessary in avoiding symptoms. This can assist prevent lower leg amputations.
You have alternatives for easing leg pain and cramps due to diabetic neuropathy. Managing leg pain and cramps might also help prevent the condition from progressing and enhance your quality of life.
Pain management through medication
Diabetic neuropathy is most typical in the legs and feet. Without treatment and management, it can become devastating. The most essential thing you can do to decrease your risk of all complications, consisting of diabetic neuropathy, is to keep your blood glucose level within the target variety.
If you have neuropathy, managing blood sugar level is still crucial. But there are some other steps you can take to help manage this condition.
Among the first courses of action is pain management through medication. Over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, might help alleviate mild to moderate pain. Two medications are currently authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for dealing with diabetic peripheral neuropathy:
- duloxetine (Cymbalta)
- pregabalin (Lyrica)
Other medications and treatment choices consist of making use of opioid medications, such as tramadol and tapentadol, and topical remedies and sprays.
Exploring dietary supplements
Specific dietary supplements may also assist ease pain, including leg pain associated with diabetes. Some nutrients can possibly play a role in fixing nerve tissues as well as secure from future damage. Scientists are studying the following supplements for diabetic neuropathy treatment:
- alpha-lipoic acid (ALA)
- vitamin B-12
- vitamin D
ALA is an anti-oxidant that has garnered a great deal of attention in natural home remedy for diabetes. While discovered in some foods like broccoli and carrots, ALA is also readily available as an oral supplement. Individuals with diabetes take ALA to help ease pain and potentially avoid additional nerve damage. Some, but not all, research studies support making use of oral ALA.
Acetyl-L-carnitine imitates natural chemicals found in the body. It’s thought to help produce healthy nerve cells. This supplement has a risk of side effects, such as vomiting, and can engage with blood thinning medications. One study did find acetyl-L-carnitine useful in decreasing pain in those with diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
Vitamin B-12 is present in meats and fish and helps support red blood cells. This vitamin may also possibly promote healthy nerve function to prevent damage. Metformin is a common medication used with type 2 diabetes. It’s known to reduce the body’s vitamin B-12 level. Talk to your doctor about making sure you are not deficient. A B-12 deficiency can cause neurological damage and simulate diabetic neuropathy. Vitamin D can also help support healthy nerve functions and reduce swelling that can lead to pain.
In diabetes, a healthy diet is crucial for overall health and leg pain relief. Dietary supplements do not cure leg pain, and they are still being studied for safety and effectiveness. Likewise, not all patients need these supplements because they get appropriate nutrients from the foods they eat.
It’s essential to go over supplements with your doctor before taking them for diabetic leg pain — particularly if you take any medications.
Managing diabetes leg pain and cramps might require more than taking medications or supplements. While these methods might reduce swelling and pain, they can take time to work. Furthermore, it might threaten to take particular medications, such as opioids, for extended amount of times.
With physical therapy, you might find out exercises that target and ease leg discomfort. Other potential treatments consist of electrical nerve stimulation and light therapy that may be used during physical therapy. Acupuncture is another prospective treatment being studied in diabetes medical trials.
You can likewise act to relieve your leg pain that include:
- opting for brief, frequent strolls
- utilizing a stationary bicycle to increase blood circulation
- soaking your legs in a warm bath
- using a bed cradle in the evening to protect your legs from pain brought on by bedding
Keeping track of leg pain
It’s essential to address any type of leg pain with your doctor, even if the symptoms do not interfere with everyday activities. Frequent cramps or shooting pain can indicate intensifying diabetic neuropathy. Report frequent symptoms to your doctor immediately.
Even moderate leg pain and cramps must be discussed with your healthcare group. Even if you do not have neuropathy, these can be symptoms of peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
Diabetes puts you at a higher risk for PAD. This is a severe condition defined by obstructed blood vessels in the legs. PAD also increases your risk for cardiac arrest and stroke. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute estimates that 1 in 3 adults with diabetes who are over age 50 has PAD. The majority of people don’t realize they have PAD since its symptoms are subtle.
As a basic guideline, call your doctor if something simply does not seem right — it might potentially conserve your life.