Diabetic neuropathy is often reported as a tingling or "pins and needles" type of feeling in the hands or feet, or sometimes an itching or burning sensation. Some diabetics find that any type of material touching these damaged nerves will cause pain. For example, simply wearing gloves or socks may result in a feeling of pain in the hands or feet. Over time, the feeling of pain can become very intense and impact the person's ability to follow exercise and diet plans, as well as taking medications or insulin as prescribed.
Always keep your blood sugar carefully controlled. Doing so will help to prevent or delay complications such as diabetic neuropathy, and can also help to lessen the symptoms if the condition is already present. Other things you can do to help include:
Pain from diabetic neuropathy can be difficult to treat. Several medications are available, but people respond to them differently and not everyone finds them effective. Another issue with medications is that they often have side effects that can add another layer of complications for people with diabetes. For example, some drugs have an added risk of heart or kidney problems -- already a higher risk for diabetics.cream or gel might be sufficient to provide relief. Topical creams can be applied directly to the spot that's causing you pain. Examples are Penetrex; Lidocaine, which numbs the area where it's applied; or Capsaicin, which disrupts the transmission of pain signals. Always talk to your doctor prior to using any type of pain relief.
Another class of drugs is NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Examples are Aspirin and Advil, although there are stronger prescription NSAIDs as well. NSAIDs relieve pain but also have many side effects, some of which are serious.
Many more classes and types of medications are available to treat nerve pain, including anti-depressants (which can help regardless of whether you are depressed or not). Talk to your doctor for advice on what type of pain medication is best for your individual situation. Make sure to bring a list of all your medications to every doctor or specialist visit so that they can check for possible interactions with any new drugs. Record any side effects you experience (along with additional notes on when it occurred, or anything else you think might be helpful). You may need to try several medications before you find one that's effective for you.
There are other options too, if medication doesn't work for you. A pain specialist may be able to assist you with alternatives such as fitting you with a foot brace to help you walk more naturally and relieve some of the pain. Alternative therapies like acupuncture and meditation may offer some relief as well. For severe, chronic pain, surgery could be a possibility, depending on your individual situation.
Many options are available for diabetes pain treatment, however it may take some time before you find the treatment that works best for you. Be patient, work with your doctor, and in the meantime continue to practice good diabetes self-care.