Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Peripheral Neuropathy and Diabetes

Experts describe 10 ways to treat diabetic nerve pain at home.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid May Help Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

This potent antioxidant, also called thioctic acid, clears so-called free radicals from the body, potentially reducing nerve damage. In Germany it is used to treat nerve pain and damage from diabetes.

Alpha-lipoic acid given orally or intravenously (600-1,200 milligrams per day) seems to be effective at reducing nerve pain in people with diabetes. For some people, it may help reduce the symptoms of burning, numbness, and prickling in the feet.  

"Studies are mixed as to whether alpha-lipoic actually reverses any nerve damage," McLaughlin says.  

No major diabetes treatment group has yet endorsed alpha-lipoic acid.

The Most Effective Treatment for Nerve Pain: Keep at It

Unfortunately, there is not enough scientific evidence to provide solid guidance on some of the alternative treatments for diabetic neuropathy pain. But don't let that make you avoid self-care altogether.

"Most people with painful diabetic neuropathy need a combination of both medicines and self-care strategies," says Kinsella. Try low-risk, low-cost options for home care first. And if you're considering supplements, remember that all supplements can have side effects, so tell your doctor about any new treatment you want to try.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Reviewed on March 03, 2009

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 and you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Woman holding cake
Slideshow
feet
Slideshow
 
man organizing pills
Slideshow
Close up of eye
Slideshow
 

Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article
 

WebMD Special Sections