Understanding Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy and Your Treatment Options

Understanding Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy and Your Treatment Options

Jun 12, 2023
Up to 70% of people with diabetes develop diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Then they often develop intense pain that seldom improves with conventional medications. But don’t give up. You can get pain relief with our advanced treatment options.

Everyone with diabetes is at risk of developing peripheral neuropathy, and your chances increase with each passing year. Ultimately, 60-70% of people with diabetes will be diagnosed with nerve damage.

The diabetic pain caused by neuropathy is notoriously hard to manage with typical medical care, but don’t give up. You can get relief from your symptoms with the advanced therapies provided by our skilled team at Alliance Spine and Pain Centers.

We specialize in advanced interventional and regenerative therapies that work when standard treatments fail because they target the source of your pain. Here, you’ll learn about diabetic peripheral neuropathy and how our treatments work.

About diabetic peripheral neuropathy

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is a chronic condition that occurs when high blood sugar damages the nerves and blood vessels in your feet, lower legs, and hands.

Your body works hard to keep your blood sugar (glucose) in a specific range. When glucose levels get too high (or too low) serious problems develop.

High blood sugar can directly damage the peripheral nerves or injure them indirectly by affecting their blood supply. Excessive blood glucose injures blood vessels, cutting off the blood supply nerves need to survive.

Peripheral neuropathy symptoms

Peripheral neuropathy symptoms begin in your feet. The symptoms may progress up your legs or appear in your hands if your blood sugar isn’t controlled.

Nerve damage causes tingling, burning, and pain in one or both feet. The pain often becomes severe as neuropathy causes hypersensitive nerves.

Ongoing nerve damage leads to numbness and may cause muscle weakness. Weak muscles affect your legs and feet, making you feel unsteady when walking or standing.

Losing sensation in your feet (numbness) is especially dangerous. When you can’t feel a small sore on your foot, and damaged blood vessels prevent it from healing, the tiny injury quickly turns into an open wound called an ulcer.

Diabetic foot ulcers don’t heal on their own. Without intensive wound care, they keep enlarging, putting you at risk for bone and skin infections and gangrene. As a result, diabetic foot ulcers are the top cause of amputations.

Treatments for diabetic peripheral neuropathy

Controlling your blood sugar is essential for slowing or stopping progressive nerve damage. Keeping your glucose in the normal range requires a combination of dietary changes (moderating your carbohydrates), exercise (activity lowers blood sugar), and medications to lower blood glucose.

Many patients find that their health care providers prescribe medications for diabetic pain. However, traditional medical care seldom provides adequate pain relief, and medications come with serious side effects.

Our team specializes in highly effective interventional and regenerative medicine treatments. Interventional medicine provides significant pain relief by targeting the nerves responsible for your pain. Regenerative therapies like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC) ease diabetic pain by promoting healing.

These are just five examples of the treatments you may receive:

Nerve block

A nerve block is an injection containing a local anesthetic. We use real-time imaging to inject the anesthetic at the nerve sending pain signals to your brain. The anesthetic blocks the signals, giving you quick pain relief.

Radiofrequency ablation

When performing radiofrequency ablation, we use a needle-like device to deliver radiofrequency energy to the nerve. The energy creates a wound that stops pain signals from traveling through the nerve. This procedure relieves your pain for nine months and sometimes years, depending on whether or not the nerve regenerates.

Spinal cord stimulation

This interventional treatment blocks pain signals as they travel through your spinal cord. We implant a device that sends gentle electrical stimulation to specific nerves in your spine, and the stimulation masks pain signals. A spinal cord stimulator can stay in place indefinitely.

PRP injections

PRP contains platelets and plasma obtained from a sample of your blood. After we inject PRP, the platelets release proteins called growth factors, which activate and accelerate healing, reduce inflammation, and support new tissue growth.

BMAC therapy

We use a hollow needle to remove a bone marrow sample from your hip and process the marrow to separate your body’s natural healing cells (mesenchymal stem cells). Then we inject the cells, and they do their natural job of regenerating new cells to repair and rebuild tissues.

Don’t spend your days struggling with the pain of diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Contact our caring team at Alliance Spine and Pain Centers today or book online to learn more about safe and effective treatment options.