Stop the Pain of Diabetic Neuropathy
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Pain from Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
An estimated 60-70 percent of people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy, making it one of the most common complications of diabetes. The symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) are most often felt in the toes, feet, and hands of people who have this nerve disorder, which can affect almost every system in the body.
Common descriptions of the feelings or sensations for DPN are:
- Electrical vibrations
- Shooting pain
- Searing pain
Every person with DPN experiences it in different ways. For example, a person with diabetic neuropathy can lose feeling without pain or have pain without numbness. And there are people with peripheral neuropathy who have no pain at all. The most common symptom, however, is experiencing both burning and numbness, which can be key to diagnosing this nerve disorder.
"It's usually a loss of feeling, and then a burning sensation where that feeling's been lost," says Robert Gerwin, M.D., pain management specialist and practitioner and associate professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. "It's not the dull, sore muscle and joint aches and pains that you may feel from aging," he says. And when these symptoms aren't given the attention they deserve, they're likely to progress.
As you click through this slideshow, you'll see why pain occurs, along with descriptions of commonly prescribed medications; topical analgesics such as capsaicin and lidocaine; and complementary pain treatments such as acupuncture and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).
Talk with your doctor about the following options and decide together what methods of pain relief will ensure you have a more comfortable tomorrow.