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Diabetic Neuropathy Treatment: How Can You Treat Nerve Pain?

Expertly reviewed by Dexter Macalintal, MD · Internal or General Medicine

Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated Jun 03, 2022

    Diabetic Neuropathy Treatment: How Can You Treat Nerve Pain?

    Many people with diabetes may also have other complications due to high levels of blood sugar. What are the possible diabetic neuropathy treatments that you can do to lessen the nerve pain? Find out here.

    What Is Diabetic Neuropathy?

    Diabetes can cause diabetic neuropathy, which is a type of nerve damage that affects up to half of all diabetics. High blood sugar levels have the tendency to bring harm the nerves throughout the body. However, it primarily affects the nerves in your legs and feet.

    Some symptoms may involve pain and numbness in the legs and feet. Oftentimes, it may also lead to other problems in the following areas:

    Other parts may also get involved depending on the affected nerves. Likewise, signs and symptoms may vary depending on the type of diabetic neuropathy.

    Some of the common types include:

    • Peripheral neuropathy
    • Autonomic neuropathy
    • Proximal neuropathy
    • Focal neuropathy

    While it may be mild and tolerable for some, others may find it extremely painful and disabling when it occurs. But consistent management of blood sugar levels and a healthy lifestyle are some of the effective diabetic neuropathy treatments available. It can prevent or slow down the progression of this diabetic complication. 

    How to Diagnose Diabetic Neuropathy

    Similar to any other condition, early diagnosis can provide patients with an effective diabetic neuropathy treatment and management plan.

    The doctor will diagnose the condition through a physical examination and a thorough review of your symptoms and medical history. Your doctor will examine you for the following:

    • Overall muscle strength and tone
    • Tendon reflexes
    • Touch, vibration, and temperature sensitivity

    Aside from the comprehensive evaluation, your doctor may also run a series of tests. Some of these include:

    • Filament test
    • Sensory testing 
    • Nerve conduction testing
    • Muscle response testing
    • Autonomic testing

    Additional tests that may take place upon request are as follows:

    • Ultrasound to assess how well the parts of the urinary tract are functioning. 
    • Electromyography to check how muscles react to electrical impulses.
    • Skin biopsies to assess cutaneous nerve integration. 
    • Histopathological evaluation of nerve and muscle biopsies.

    These may assist the doctor in ruling out other causes and identifying the root problem.

    What Are Some Diabetic Neuropathy Treatments? 

    Unfortunately, there is still no known cure for diabetic neuropathy to date. The best way to manage this complication is by controlling the levels of blood sugar, blood pressure, as well as cholesterol. 

    Good blood sugar control may even alleviate a few of your presenting symptoms. Your doctor will determine the best target range for you depending on criteria such as:

    • Age
    • Onset of diabetes
    • Overall health

    The American Diabetes Association suggests the following target blood sugar levels for most diabetics:

    • Before meals, it should be between 80 and 130 mg/dL, or 4.4 and 7.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L).
    • Two hours after meals, it should be less than 180 mg/dL (10.0 mmol/L).

    Moreover, there are numerous prescription medications available for diabetic nerve pain, but they may not work for everyone. It is best to consult your doctor about the benefits and potential side effects of any medication. Prescription pain relievers may include anti-seizure drugs and anti-depressants. Topical creams may help with foot problems relating to diabetes. 

    Additionally, some also find the following therapies and treatments helpful:

    • Transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy
    • Hypnosis
    • Relaxation training
    • Biofeedback training
    • Acupuncture

    Aside from those mentioned, you may also consider taking the following to prevent and/or manage diabetic neuropathy:

    • Get regular physical activity
    • Avoid drinking alcohol
    • Quit smoking
    • Take doctor-prescribed medicines
    • Follow a healthy diabetes meal plan

    Key Takeaways

    The goal of diabetic neuropathy treatment is to relieve pain and slow down the progression of the disease. Aside from those, it can also help in managing complications to be able to restore functions of the affected parts.

    The treatment and management you may receive would depend on the symptoms and severity of the nerve damage.

    Learn more about Diabetic Complications here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Expertly reviewed by

    Dexter Macalintal, MD

    Internal or General Medicine

    Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated Jun 03, 2022

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