Treating Painful Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
The toes burn and tingle and sharp pains shoot into your legs. The bed sheets feel uncomfortable on the feet as you toss and turn, trying to get some rest. Your feet felt numb throughout the day, but now feel like they are on fire. Nothing seems to help as you watch the hours on the clock pass by, hoping to fall asleep.
Burning, numbness, tingling, hot and cold sensations, shooting and electrical pain are common sensations felt at rest in painful peripheral neuropathy. Neuropathy is an abnormality of the nervous system. There are many different types of neuropathy, but the most common neuropathy effecting diabetics is peripheral neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy is described as a loss of sensation that starts in the tips of the toes and gradually works its way up the legs, and in severe case into the hands. It is sometimes referred to as a stocking glove neuropathy because it progresses as if one was pulling on a stocking.
Sixty percent of diabetics have some type of neuropathy in their feet. Five percent of diabetics will experience painful diabetic neuropathy and the incidence increases with age. Over 45% of individuals who have had diabetes for over 25 years will experience some symptoms of painful diabetic neuropathy.
The cause of diabetic neuropathy is not clearly understood. Many believe that the damage to the small vessels surrounding the nerves, from the diabetes, causes damage to the nerves. Others believe the increase in blood sugar causes damage to the nerves. Despite the different theories, studies have shown better blood sugar control helps prevent progression of the neuropathy.
There are currently no treatments to help reverse diabetic neuropathy. There are no treatments which help reduce the numbness. But, there are many treatments to help decrease the pain associated with the neuropathy.
Your doctor may prescribe medications to help with the pain. There are many options, but until recently none were FDA approved for the treatment of painful neuropathy. Cymbalta