Skip to content

    Pain Management Health Center

    Select An Article

    Diabetes-Related Nerve Problems

    Font Size

    Neuropathy, a common complication of diabetes, is damage to the nerves that allow you to feel sensations such as pain. There are a number of ways that diabetes damages the nerves, and they are all linked to blood glucose (sugar) being too high for a long period of time.

    Diabetes-related nerve damage can be painful, but it isn't severe in most cases. There are two major types of diabetic neuropathy: peripheral and autonomic.

    Recommended Related to Pain Management

    Sickle Cell Crisis

    If you have sickle cell disease, you've probably had pain in your bones or other parts of your body. These are called sickle cell crises, and they can happen anywhere from several times a year to every few years. You might hear your doctor call sickle crisis by its formal name -- vaso-occlusive crisis. It's called that because the crisis is caused by blocked, or occluded, blood vessels. The outbreaks of pain are one of the symptoms of sickle cell disease, a group of blood disorders. If you have...

    Read the Sickle Cell Crisis article > >

    Peripheral Neuropathy

    The areas of the body most commonly affected by peripheral neuropathy are the feet and legs. Nerve damage in the feet can result in a loss of foot sensation, increasing your risk of foot problems like ulcers. Therefore, proper skin and foot care should be practiced. Rarely, the arms, abdomen, and back may be affected.

    Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may include:

    • Tingling
    • Numbness (severe or long-term numbness can become permanent)
    • Burning
    • Pain

    In many cases, symptoms will improve when blood glucose is controlled.

    To help prevent peripheral neuropathy:

    • Check your feet and legs daily -- look for blisters, calluses, and cuts.
    • Apply lotion if your feet are dry, but avoid getting lotion in between your toes; this area should be kept dry.
    • Care for your nails regularly (go to a podiatrist if necessary).
    • Wear properly fitting footwear. Some people with bony abnormalities may require custom shoes to redistribute pressure.
    • People with claudication may require a referral to a doctor or surgeon who specializes in poor circulation.
    • Control blood sugar, cholesterol and high blood pressure.
    • If you smoke, quit.

    Autonomic Neuropathy

    Autonomic neuropathy most often affects the digestive system, especially the stomach, blood vessels, urinary system, and sex organs. To prevent autonomic neuropathy, you need to continuously keep your blood glucose levels well controlled.

    Symptoms of neuropathy of the digestive system may include:

    Treatments may include:

    • Eating smaller meals
    • Medicines

    Symptoms of neuropathy of the blood vessels may include:

    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    pain in brain and nerves
    Top causes and how to find relief.
    knee exercise
    8 exercises for less knee pain.
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    How it helps arthritis, migraines, and dental pain.
    chronic pain
    Get personalized tips to reduce discomfort.
    illustration of nerves in hand
    lumbar spine
    Woman opening window
    Man holding handful of pills
    Woman shopping for vegetables
    Sore feet with high heel shoes
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    man with a migraine