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Is Diabetic Neuropathy Linked to Back Pain?

January 30, 2019

If you have diabetic neuropathy and experience back pain, you might wonder if the two are linked.

In fact, it's possible the two symptoms have common causes. While back pain can point to a number of different conditions, neuropathy could be one of them.

Neuropathy is caused by damage to your nerves. Since your spine is a major center of the nervous system, spinal nerve damage might be a cause for your back pain.

So, what causes nerve damage? Actually, there are more than 100 potential causes of neuropathy, diabetes being just one of them. Other causes include autoimmune disease, substance abuse, and injury.

Click here for more information about the relationship between neuropathy and back pain.

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If you're interested in reading more, check out Diabetes Health: Why Do My Feet Feel Numb?

 

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The 411 on Diabetic Foot Pain

October 3, 2017

Pain in your feet is one of the first signs or symptoms that you may be experiencing a complication of diabetes. You've probably heard of many common foot problems like corns and bunions. But, have you heard of neuropathy? This type of nerve damage may be the reason behind your foot pain.

Today, we're going to go over the basics of why your feet may hurt, and talk about some treatment options and solutions.

Why do my feet hurt?

One of the reasons your feet may hurt is because of neuropathy. Neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that may cause feelings of pain or numbness in your feet.

It is a common problem, with up to 80% of people with diabetes having the disease. It happens for a number of reasons including blood sugar levels, genetics, and lifestyle.

How can I find out the cause of my foot pain?

The best thing you can do is talk to your primary care doctor or see a podiatrist with experience in diabetic foot pain.

Your doctor may conduct a series of tests to see whether or not you have neuropathy. There may be other reasons for your pain, so it's important to tell your doctor any symptoms you are having.

What can I do about foot pain?

There are a number of things you can do for your foot pain. Before trying something, talk with your doctor. Some things you can do include:

  • Keep your blood glucose levels under control
  • Manage your health with your care team
  • Discuss pain medications both over-the-counter and prescription
  • Try acupuncture to relieve pain
  • Use a TENS unit
  • Try pain cream or gel
  • Use lidocaine
  • Try capsaicin ointments or salves

The best thing you can do is treat your pain and prevent the problem from getting worse. Talk to your doctor about your risks for neuropathy and other foot problems that may cause pain

Is neuropathy a serious problem?

The important thing to know is that while neuropathy can cause pain, it can also lessen your ability to feel pain. Typically, painful neuropathy usually happens first and then this leads to leads to painless neuropathy. So over time, you may be unable to feel pain, heat or cold in your feet.

Both cases are very dangerous because your pain signals are off. Because of this, you might miss an injury, and these small injuries can become infected, gangrene and turn into an ulcer.

Neuropathy is one of the main causes of diabetic foot ulcers. So, it's important to find out if you have it so you can take steps to prevent further problems.

Using Temperature Monitoring to Prevent Foot Ulcers and Amputations

Temperature monitoring is clinically proven to prevent foot ulcers and amputations by upwards of 87% when compared to standard diabetic foot care. This is critical for people with neuropathy because when you cannot feel a foot injury or don't realize that your shoes are too tight it can develop into a serious problem.

Siren Diabetic Socks use temperature monitoring to continuously monitor the temperature of your feet. By doing this the socks are able to catch the very first sign of injury - inflammation. When your foot becomes injured, the body's first response is inflammation. Inflammation is marked by a rise in temperature of the injured area. Siren Diabetic Socks pick up this increase in temperature to help you prevent more serious injuries like foot ulcers and amputations. To learn more about temperature monitoring read this blog, and for more information on Siren Diabetic Socks visit our homepage.

More information on foot pain and nerve damage:

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Diabetes Questions: How do blood sugar levels affect your feet?

August 18, 2017

When it comes to managing your blood glucose, keep in mind the whole-body effects of high blood glucose levels. For individuals with diabetes, continued exposure to high blood glucose can result in serious complications, including foot problems. When the body is exposed to these high levels, over time the nerves in the body can become damaged.

When the nerves in the body become damaged, this can result in neuropathy or specifically diabetic peripheral neuropathy. In fact, about 60% to 70% of all people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy, but today we're going to focus on diabetic neuropathy because it is the most common type and it impacts your feet.

What is diabetic peripheral neuropathy?

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is a type of nerve disorder that impacts a person's legs, feet, toes, hands, and arms. Over time, a variety of factors can cause nerve damage in the body, resulting in sensations of numbness and pain in parts of the body. You may experience pain, tingling, or total loss of feeling in your extremities.

What parts of the body does peripheral neuropathy affect?

Peripheral neuropathy impacts a person's toes, feet, legs, hands, and arms. Diabetic neuropathy affects the longest nerves first, that's why the extremities of the body are affected, usually starting with the toes and feet. Keep in mind, this is a person-specific condition, and everyone will experience symptoms differently.

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What are the long term complications of diabetic peripheral neuropathy?

Like all things pertaining to health, nerve damage has different symptoms and complications for different people.  However, when you have diabetic peripheral neuropathy, you have an increased risk of foot ulcers and amputation. This typically happens, because when you lose sensation in your feet or toes it's more difficult to know if you damage your feet. Often people living with diabetes also have PAD, or decreased circulation, making it harder for them to heal from injuries. If you cannot feel, then you cannot heal. So, the key is to catch injuries and/or ulcers as soon as possible.  Each day an injury and/or ulcer is caught early = decreased cost and increased the quality of life.

For example, you could get a blister or a cut and you wouldn't know it because you don't feel pain. If you then have an injury and don't feel pain, then it can quickly turn into something worse.

Foot ulcers can respond to treatment well if you catch them early, but more serious complications can develop without proper care.

Did you know that approximately 15% of people with diabetes will get a foot ulcer, and of those with a foot ulcer up to 24% will require an amputation? Research has shown, however, that with proper attention and care this is preventable.

Preventing the Complications of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

When it comes to preventing complications, the most important things to consider are proper foot care and diabetes management. First, work with your doctor and/or CDE to manage and control your blood glucose levels. By effectively maintaining your levels, you can prevent further nerve damage. However, elevated blood glucose is only one of the many causes of peripheral neuropathy so it's important to discuss your other risk factors with your doctor.

Second, take proper care of your feet. We recommend examining your feet and legs daily, along with temperature monitoring, and wearing proper footwear to prevent foot ulcers and amputations.

Why should I monitor my foot temperature?

When it comes to preventing foot ulcers, temperature monitoring is a preventive measure you can take with minimal effort. Simply wear Siren Diabetic Socks every day, and we'll alert you to any sustained increase in temperature on your feet. Why does this matter? An increase in foot temperature is the sign of inflammation. When your feet become inflamed, that is the precursor to an injury or a foot ulcer. Our socks work to detect the first signs of foot ulcers, so you can catch them early.

To learn more about temperature monitoring read this study by Dr. Armstrong, and check out our website to learn more about how Siren Diabetic Socks Socks work.

Additional Resources on Sugar Levels and Foot Problems for People with Diabetes

While we don't entirely know or understand all of the mechanisms that result in neuropathy, we do know that high blood sugar levels are one factor for individuals with diabetics having neuropathy. It's important to talk to your doctor and CDE about managing your blood sugar, conducting visual foot checks, and better understanding how to care for your feet. For more information on diabetic peripheral neuropathy and proper foot care check out these resources below:

 

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