There are an estimated 20 million who suffer from peripheral neuropathy. Yet not all diabetics have symptoms of neuropathy. Treatment requires a partnership between patient and doctor to find individualized solutions.
1. Diabetic neuropathy can affect the function of the sensory, motor (strength) or autonomic (i.e. lungs, heart, kidney, stomach) nervous systems.
2. Shoes and socks made for diabetics help alleviate symptoms of diabetic neuropathy by cushioning the feet and allowing for greater blood flow.
3. A neuromuscular neurologist is the best source of help with the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.
4. Partnering with your doctor to discover what works best for you is a critical factor in reducing diabetic nerve pain.
5. Neuropathic pain comes from damaged sensory nerves, sending real but faulty signals to the brain. This type pain can be reduced for most patients using the anti-depressant or anti-seizure classes of drugs or a combination of such drugs.
6. Coping with the loss of feeling and strength in hands requires creative solutions. Examples are the use of thick pens that help in grasping or putting Velcro on items to increase sensation of grip. Patients are good sources for practical coping ideas!
7. Exercise type, intensity or duration is important for muscle retention, flexibility and strength. Forcing damaged nerves to work using the wrong exercise will increase the pain.
8. Good nutrition is very important for everyone, but it is especially important for neuropathy patients to help feed, protect and heal the nerves. Vitamin supplements help minimize symptoms.
9. Burning sensations in the feet are treated with Lidocaine patches or special compounded topical creams containing Lidocaine, Ketamine, Gabapentin, and Amitriptyline. Burning can be reduced by soaking the feet in cool (not freezing) water for 15 minutes before bedtime.
10. Natural chemicals called serotonins reduce pain and can be increased by positive mental thoughts visualization, calming music and Biofeedback.