Chiropractic Care May Help Control Neuropathic Pain in Diabetics

Lisa Gladman blog

While many see chiropractic care as just spine-focused, chiropractic care can actually help with many kinds of conditions, including complications with diabetes.

Neuropathic pain, also known as neuropathy, is caused when high blood sugar levels damage nerves in the body, especially in the legs. According to the American Diabetes Association, 50% of diabetics suffer from painful neuropathy. Of that percentage, being able to achieve pain relief is often difficult for sufferers of the condition.

Chiropractic care is one of the most important neuropathic pain treatment options, and one of the least invasive.

Types of diabetic neuropathic pain

There are 4 types of neuropathic pain diabetics can suffer from peripheral neuropathy, mononeuropathy, radiculoplexus neuropathy, and autonomic neuropathy.

Peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy affects the legs, hands, feet, or arms. Some of the symptoms include a burning sensation, numbness or weakness, tingling (“pins and needles”), or severe pain.

The symptoms tend to worsen at night and can impact walking and balance.

One of the most common side effects of peripheral neuropathy is the development of blisters and sores as a result of the diabetic not being able to feel areas of pressure or injury on their feet. Swelling of the feet is also a common side effect.

Mononeuropathy

Mononeuropathy, also called focal neuropathy, occurs when there is damage to a single nerve rather than a cluster or area of nerves. This usually occurs in the hand, leg, or torso area.

These are often the result of entrapments or compression of the nerves in narrowed bone or tissue pathways. While mononeuropathy can happen in patients without diabetes, it is most commonly seen in diabetics.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is one common kind of entrapment. Another type is cranial neuropathy, which can affect vision or even cause paralysis to one side of the face.

Radiculoplexus neuropathy

Radiculoplexus neuropathy, also called proximal neuropathy, is nerve damage in the hip, buttock, or thigh area.  It can mimic many of the signs of sciatica, but in diabetics, the damage to the nerve is caused by high levels of glucose in the bloodstream.

Patients may experience weakness in the leg, pain in the buttock or thigh, numbness, inability to walk, or muscular atrophy.

Autonomic neuropathy

Autonomic neuropathy is damage to the nerves running to the internal organs. The heart, digestive system, bladder, eyes, sweat glands, and sex organs are all potentially impacted by autonomic neuropathy. Sometimes it can lead to an inability to be aware of symptoms of  low glucose levels, including confusion, irritability, or extreme dizziness.

Heart complications can include high blood pressure and increased heart rate, and numbness around the heart (which may become problematic in the case of a heart attack).

The digestive system can experience constipation, bloating, diarrhea, vomiting, incontinence, and issues with swallowing. One of the more serious complications of autonomic neuropathy in the digestive tract is gastroparesis which can prevent food from moving or being properly absorbed between the stomach and small intestine. This can lead to poor absorption of nutrients and glucose, and cause more complications within a diabetic’s system.

Autonomic neuropathy in the bladder can lead to incontinence and bladder infections, while occurrence in the sex organs can lead to various types of sexual dysfunction.

In the eyes, neuropathy can lead to night blindness.

In the sweat glands, it can lead to a failure of the glands to work at all, which can lead to excessive sweating or an inability of the body to maintain its proper temperature.

Treatment

Most treatments recommended by doctors for these conditions include medication, surgery, or physical therapy. However, chiropractic care is an excellent treatment option for sufferers of diabetic neuropathy. Through gentle manipulations and adjustments of the spine, legs, and arms to increase circulation to damaged blood vessels and nerves. It can also be a useful tool to help with entrapments, frozen shoulder, carpal tunnel syndrome, numbness and weakness in the limbs, and pain management.

Massage and electrostimulation are two other excellent neuropathic pain treatment options in Garden City, MI. These increase circulation and blood flow to targeted nerves and muscle groups, allowing for blood to restore and repair the tissue in the affected areas.

Final thoughts

While no treatment may completely remove the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy, chiropractic care is the best way to manage the symptoms without reliance on pain drugs or other invasive techniques such as surgery.

Lisa is a professional writer who enjoys spending time outdoors with her family. She has degrees in English and Secondary Education and has been writing professionally in the medical niche for the last three years, including pieces on dentistry, health, and fitness. Her interest in the medical field began with her mother’s job as a dental nurse, and she has continued to nurture her interest in learning extensively about the diagnosis and treatment of a range of conditions.