Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic NeuropathyMore than 200,000 people in the US alone suffer from diabetic neuropathy. About half of all people with diabetes suffer from some form of nerve damage. It is more pronounced in those who have had diabetes for a number of years and can potentially lead to a number of problems. The good news is that if you keep your blood glucose levels on target you may be able to help prevent or delay neuropathy. Nevertheless, if your pain is too much to bear there are a couple of treatments that may help.

What is Diabetic Neuropathy?

Diabetes can harm your nerves and when it does it is considered diabetic neuropathy. This type of damage can be extremely painful. Unfortunately, neuropathy is a common complication associated with diabetes.

Diabetic neuropathy can happen in several ways, but they are all usually associated with blood sugar levels being too high for a long time. As we have mentioned, having a tight control over your blood sugar can help prevent or delay nerve damage.

While every patient experiences neuropathy differently, it usually ranges from pain and numbness in your extremities to other problems with your blood vessels, heart, urinary tract, and digestive system. For some, their symptoms may be mild, but for others it can be painful and debilitating.

There are four types of diabetic neuropathy: peripheral, autonomic, proximal, and focal.

Peripheral Neuropathy:

This form of neuropathy usually affects the legs and feet. However, while rare, it may also affect the back, abdomen, and arms.

Peripheral neuropathy symptoms may include:

  • Tingling
  • Numbness (which may become permanent)
  • Burning (especially in the evening)
  • Pain

Early symptoms usually get better when your blood sugar is under control.

Autonomic Neuropathy:

Autonomic neuropathy affects the digestive system, especially the stomach. Moreover, it can also affect the sex organs, blood vessels, and urinary system.

Symptoms for autonomic neuropathy may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

Radiculoplexus Neuropathy:

This type of neuropathy affects the nerves in the buttocks, hips, thighs, and legs. This condition is more common in people with type 2 diabetes and older patients.

While symptoms may be on both sides of the body, they typically affect one side of the body. This condition is often marked by the following:

  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Sudden, severe pain
  • Weak and atrophied thigh muscles

Mononeuropathy:

Mononeuropathy involves damage to a specific nerve. The nerve is usually in the leg, torso, or face. Furthermore, it is more common in older patients and comes on suddenly.

Mononeuropathy usually doesn’t cause long-term problems, but it can cause severe pain. The following are signs and symptoms of mononeuropathy:

  • Pain in the front of your thigh
  • Chest or abdomen pain
  • Pain in your shin or foot
  • Lower back or pelvis pain
  • Bell’s palsy – paralysis on one side of your face
  • Double vision or aching behind your eyes

Diabetic Neuropathy Treatments:

At Metropolitan Pain Consultants, we offer traditional spinal cord stimulation (SCS) and BurstDR stimulation for patients.

Doctors have used SCS, or neurostimulators, since 1967. They are primarily used to manage chronic pain in the back, neck, arms, and legs. This makes them particularly affective for nerve damage related pain. Even if you currently have an old model spinal cord stimulator, new advances in technology can really help relieve your ongoing pain.

St. Jude’s BurstDR stimulation is the latest technology in spinal cord stimulation. St. Jude’s doctors, by understanding how the brain copes with pain, “created a new therapy that works by mimicking natural patterns found in the brain.¹” This new form of therapy allows doctors to address both “physical pain and the way it affects you emotionally.” BurstDR is responsible for patients living pain free and giving them the ability to reclaim their life.

Finally, if you think this option is right for you, contact us at 201.729.0001. Our staff at Metropolitan Pain Consultants looks forward to hearing from you and discussing spinal cord stimulator options with you. We offer weekday and weekend appointments. Our conveniently located clinics can be found in West OrangeAberdeenClifton, and Lyndhurst.

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