Diabetic nerve pain, or diabetic neuropathy, is a common side effect of diabetes. According to Diabetes.org, it is more prevalent in patients who have had diabetes for a long period of time. There are two main types of diabetic nerve pain sensorimotor neuropathy and autonomic neuropathy. Sensorimotor neuropathy refers to nerve pain that causes tingling or numbness in the hands or feet. Autonomic neuropathy affects nerves that manage bodily functions and can lead to vomiting, bladder control issues and other serious problems.
Avoid Further Nerve Damage
Diabetes.org suggests that managing diabetes effectively can be one of the best treatments for neuropathy because it can minimize the symptoms of nerve pain and prevent further nerve damage that would cause additional nerve pain. Diabetes.org recommends regularly checking your glucose levels and keeping your blood glucose levels within your target range.
To deal with specific conditions related to nerve pain, Diabetes.org recommends checking your hands and feet very carefully every day to check for signs of infection. You should use a mirror to look for problems on the bottoms of the feet and use your hands to feel for unusual spots on the feet. Diabetes.org recommends looking carefully for cuts, dry skin, bumps, warm or cold spots, sores and breaks in the skin. If any of these symptoms are present, you should consult with a doctor quickly. Nerve damage can result in amputation of the foot in serious cases, so it is best to catch and treat foot infections early.
Treating Nerve Pain
There are no cures for the pain, tingling, numbness and other symptoms associated with diabetic nerve pain. However, a number of different over-the-counter and prescription pain medications are used in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy. Health in Aging states that a regular dose of over-the-counter Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Medications, abbreviated NSAIDs, may be helpful. For more severe nerve pain, doctors can prescribe anticonvulsant drugs, antidepressant drugs, local anesthetics or Capsaicin creams.
While Diabetes.org cautions that some exercise programs can be dangerous for people with diabetes, especially those suffering from nerve pain, the Joslin Center for Diabetes states that exercise can help relieve nerve pain. The Joslin Center for diabetes quotes Dr. Hare, a Harvard affiliated physician, who states that some patients with nerve pain have experienced a significant improvement simply by beginning an exercise program.
While caution must be exercised, a physician who understands your medical history and who is experienced in diabetes care may be able to help you devise an exercise plan to minimize your nerve pain safely.