What is diabetic nerve pain?
If you are a diabetic and if any of these seem familiar -shooting pain, needle like pain in hand or the feet, burning sensation, then you might be suffering from diabetic neuropathy also known as diabetic nerve pain.
This is a common complication among diabetics. And is mainly caused due to improper management of blood sugar. This kind of pain can take over years to develop. Initially you may not feel any sensation as such or symptoms or pain but over time you will start feeling the tingle and numbness of your feet. Eventually this may lead to pain and may often worsen at night.
This kind of nerve damage cannot be reversed, but managing sugar levels can help.
How is diabetic nerve pain different from muscle pain?
Both the pain types are your body’s way of telling something is wrong.
Muscle pain is more of a protective form of pain caused by something specific like injury or inflammation. The injured muscle nerve send signals to the brain that the injury has occurred and your activity is causing it harm. If you limit your activity this can get better over time.
Nerve pain is a more non protective form of pain and usually occurs when the nerves get damaged by diseases such as diabetes. This kind of pain is a sign that the nerves on your feet or hands have been damaged. This type of pain cannot be improved with limiting or alternating your activities but the pain can be managed.
The 4 types of diabetic neuropathy:
- Peripheral Neuropathy: This type usually affects the hand and feet
Symptoms include: Tingling sensation, Numbness, Burning sensation around the evening and pain.
What to do : Check feet regularly, Use lotion if feet are dry, take care of toenails and wear shoes that fit well.
- Autonomic Neuropathy: This type usually affects the digestive system especially stomach.
Symptoms include: Bloating, Diarrhea, Nausea, Heartburn and feeling full after small meal portions.
What to do: Eat smaller meals and take help from medication.
- Proximal Neuropathy: This is usually pain in the thighs or hips. It can even lead to weakness of legs.
What to do: Most people need medical support in such cases and therapy for weakness.
- Focal Neuropathy: This type can affect suddenly and hit specific nerves like in the head or torso or leg.
Symptoms include: Doubled vision, Paralysis on one side of the face, chest pain or lower back, Belly pain which sometimes can be mistaken for appendicitis.
What to do: Discuss this with your doctor as this tends to improve by itself over months and does not cause any long term damage.
If any of these seem familiar it is advisable to visit and consult your doctor immediately also invest in a glucometer to make sure you have a check on your blood sugar levels.