From Agony to Relief: Overcoming Painful Diabetic Neuropathy

Understanding the Impact of Painful Diabetic Neuropathy

Most patients with diabetic neuropathy also suffer from severe painful diabetic neuropathy. Unfortunately, many doctors do not understand the significant impact this condition can have on a patient; therefore, it is often overlooked during neuropathy treatment. Painful diabetic neuropathy can drastically lower a patient’s quality of life, as it makes walking, standing, sitting, and sleeping more difficult and uncomfortable. 

Diabetic neuropathy is not necessarily painful in itself, however, it becomes painful when the neuronal system becomes damaged, resulting in false pain signals being sent to the brain. You may be wondering how diabetes could relate to neurological dysfunction, and the answer is that it all comes down to the effect of high blood sugar levels. Over time, high blood sugar levels can start to damage the small blood vessels. As a result, essential nutrients will stop reaching the nerves, ultimately causing the nerve fibers to become dysfunctional. Depending on the nerve that was affected, this can negatively affect the body in various ways. 

The unfortunate truth is that painful diabetic neuropathy is often overlooked, and many doctors do not offer sufficient pain management tools to help patients manage their discomfort. BEST Health System understands that painful diabetic neuropathy patients do not get the treatment they need and deserve. We are passionate about providing meaningful pain management solutions to patients who are suffering from extreme painful diabetic neuropathy.  

Exploring the Symptoms of Painful Diabetic Neuropathy

Painful diabetic neuropathy can manifest various symptoms, and many of them can become debilitating. Physically, painful diabetic neuropathy can cause reduced mobility, impaired balance, shooting or burning pain, and other symptoms. However, many people do not understand that diabetic neuropathy can negatively affect a patient’s mental health as well. Individuals with painful diabetic neuropathy are more likely to develop depression as a result of reduced quality of life. 

If you are suffering from painful diabetic neuropathy, it is very important to be vocal about your discomfort to your doctors. Many patients are hesitant to disclose certain symptoms, but this can prevent proper treatment. Painful diabetic neuropathy requires a different treatment approach than normal diabetic neuropathy. Therefore, if you believe you may have painful diabetic neuropathy, you must inform your doctor so they can alter your treatment plan. 

Treatment Options for Neuropathy Patients

Although you can not reverse neuropathy, there are ways to prevent the condition from worsening. After a neuropathy diagnosis, many patients take this as a sign to make subtle lifestyle changes to improve their overall health. This includes switching to a healthier diet, working out more, and drinking less alcohol. However, these therapies do not necessarily reduce neuropathy-related pain. 

Oftentimes, doctors can help patients manage their pain through different medications. Believe it or not, antidepressants are commonly prescribed as they can minimize the pain that patients experience as a result of neuropathy. Tricyclic antidepressants are a specific type of medication that has been proven to help patients suffering from relentless neuropathic pain. However, many patients are not able to find relief through pain medications and others opt to avoid medication as part of their neuropathy treatment program. In this case, individuals may consider a spinal cord stimulator. 

At BEST Health System, we offer spinal cord stimulators as a pain management option for patients who experience severe and debilitating nerve pain. A spinal cord stimulator is an implanted device that blocks pain signals from being sent to the brain. The exact nature of this technology is more complicated, and it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of how it works before considering this treatment path. 

The Benefits of Spinal Cord Stimulators and How They Work

Spinal cord stimulators consist of three main components: leads, an electrode array, and a power source. The leads are surgically implanted near the spinal cord and they send electrical signals that interrupt pain signals before they reach the brain. By stimulating the nerves through controlled electricity, an SCS can reduce pain perception and provide relief without requiring medication or invasive procedures. The power source can be external or can be surgically implanted. At BEST Health System, we offer a trial option so that patients can see if a spinal cord stimulator works for them before committing to it. 

Dr. Shall & Dr. Staggs – BEST Health System’s Pain Management Team

Dr. Jeffrey Shall and Dr. Donald Staggs are board-certified pain management doctors helping BEST patients find relief from chronic pain. Many neuropathy patients are turned away from receiving the care they need to live a happy and comfortable life, which is something everyone truly deserves. Do not allow pain to prevent you from the people and activities you love most. Contact BEST to connect with board-certified medical professionals who listen to you and put your comfort above all else.