Some individuals with diabetes suffer from an ailment called peripheral neuropathy, also known as diabetic neuropathy. It’s an uncomfortable condition that causes tingling, numbness, and pain in the hands and feet. This discomfort can greatly impact sleep, mood, and quality of life in general. Many individuals suffering from diabetic neuropathy have a difficult time finding a viable treatment option.
Here at Freedom Health Centers we are familiar with the treatment of diabetic neuropathy and help patients each and every day. Our goal is to help you live the best life possible. We do this by offering a variety of treatment options. We focus on finding a solution that works for you.
There are several treatment options available for neuropathy. Different things tend to work best for different individuals. It’s all about finding the treatment combination that helps you manage your pain the best.
For many, prescription medications can help ease the pain and discomfort. Unfortunately, medication for this condition is limited. In general it only eases the pain by thirty to fifty percent. Thankfully, using alternate treatment options in addition to or in lieu of medication can help you manage your pain and discomfort effectively.
The first step in managing your diabetic neuropathy is the careful management of your diabetes. If you don’t manage your diabetes then your blood glucose levels will rise. The excess sugar in your blood can actually cause damage to your peripheral nerves and lead to diabetic neuropathy.
The peripheral nerves are the information highway leading from your brain and spinal cord to the rest of your body and back again. When these nerves are damaged then numbness, tingling, and pain can result.
This is why it’s so important to keep your blood sugar in a healthy range. Managing diabetes alone reduces the risk of nerve damage by around sixty percent. Even if you’re already afflicted with the condition, maintaining a healthy blood sugar level can slow the neuropathy’s progress. It can also ease the discomfort you’re already experiencing.
You can manage your blood sugar by working together with your medical doctor. Begin by eating a diet high in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. It’s also a good idea to work in a fair amount of nuts, poultry, fish, and beans. It’s recommended that you try to eat very little red meat.
Another part of managing your blood sugar is maintaining a healthy body weight. If you’re following your nutritional requirements and exercising for a minimum of thirty minutes per day and at least five days per week then this step is much easier. Managing your stress levels also helps you control your blood sugar.
It’s also extremely important that you take any medications prescribed to you by your medical doctor. This medication can help you manage your diabetes and ease the pain and discomfort caused by any nerve damage. Make sure that you’re telling your doctor about all of the medications you use so they can minimize the risks of adverse reactions.
Certain vitamins can also help in your battle against diabetic neuropathy. According to WebMD:
When researchers from Britain’s University of Sheffield studied people with diabetic neuropathy, they found that those who had lower levels of Vitamin D also had more pain.
It’s hard to get the recommended 600 to 800 IU of vitamin D from food alone. You may need to take a supplement. In fact, one study found that people with diabetic neuropathy who took a supplement once a week had fewer symptoms after two months.
In addition to getting more Vitamin D, many patients do well with a B Vitamin Complex.
These play an important role in your nerve health. Not getting enough vitamin B12 can lead to nerve damage. Vitamin B6 is important because it helps the brain produce certain chemicals that send information through our bodies. Low levels of these chemicals can worsen pain.
It’s generally not difficult to get enough B vitamins via food. However, it never hurts to ask your doctor if you should consider taking a supplement. In fact, there are some studies that show some supplements can actually help reduce pain. One of these is an Alpha-Lipoic Acid Supplement.
Your body naturally produces small amounts of this antioxidant. When taken in larger doses, it may help regulate blood sugar levels and ease nerve pain. One study found that people who took 600 milligrams daily had a 19% improvement in their diabetic neuropathy symptoms after 5 weeks.
Long term use of alpha-lipoic acid supplements may even protect from further nerve damage.
There are a number of other things that have been shown to help minimize or even eliminate the pain and discomfort from diabetic neuropathy. If you’re a smoker then it’s a good idea to quit. Sure, you probably hear this all the time. But the truth is that smoking actually causes your blood vessels to constrict. This impairs your circulation and results in your peripheral nerves receiving less nutrient-rich blood. The lack of nutrients to the nerves can result in increased levels of pain.
Exercise is another way to combat the pain in your hands and feet. Not only will it help you maintain a healthy body weight and contribute to the management of your diabetes but it also increases blood flow to the arms and legs. More nutrient rich blood to your peripheral nerves means less pain. Exercise also helps improve mood and reduce stress. WebMD continues:
One study from the University of Kansas Medical Center found that people with diabetic neuropathy who exercised regularly found that their pain didn’t get in the way of daily activities such as work, sleep, and relationships.
Another way to increase blood flow to your extremities and reduce pain is to ensure that your spine is properly aligned. Malalignment can negatively impact both your nerves due to pinching and blood flow to the nerves elsewhere in your body. A chiropractor can often work wonders for those experiencing pain in their hands and feet as well as their back. Massage therapy also helps many individuals suffering from neuropathy. Here at Freedom Health Centers we offer both of these services and much more.
Make an appointment with our team for an evaluation. Together we’ll discuss and evaluate your pain to come up with a game plan that gets you back to being the best you possible.