Diabetic Pain – Neuropathy


Neuropathy

DIABETIC NERVE DAMAGE (neuropathy) affects approximately 60-70 percent of patients with diabetes. Once again, the longer the duration and severity of diabetes, the greater the risk of neuropathy.

There are many different types of diabetic nerve damage. Commonly, diabetic neuropathy affects the peripheral nerves, first in the feet, and then progressively in the hands and arms as well, in a characteristic stocking-and-glove distribution. Damage to different types of nerves will result in different symptoms, including

• tingling,
• numbness,
• burning, and
• pain.

The incessant pain of severe diabetic neuropathy is debilitating, and the symptoms are commonly worse at night. Even powerful painkillers such as narcotic medications are often ineffective. Instead of pain, patients may sometimes experience complete numbness. Careful physical examination reveals decreased sensations of touch, vibration, and temperature, and a loss of reflexes in the affected parts of the body.

While a loss of sensation may seem innocuous, it is anything but. Pain protects us against damaging trauma. When we stub our toes or lie in the wrong position, pain lets us know that we should quickly adjust ourselves in order to prevent further tissue damage. If we are unable to feel pain, we may continue to experience repeated episodes of trauma. Over the years, the damage becomes progressive and sometimes deformative. A typical example is the foot. Significant nerve damage can lead to the complete destruction of the joint-a condition called Charcot foot-and may progress to the point where patients are unable to walk, and may even require amputation.

Dr. Jason Fung, The Diabetic Code p.28

Diabetic neuropathy has led directly to my willingness to undergo a radical lifestyle change, including intermittent fasting, and major changes to my overall dietary behavior. In particular, major pain to my hands and feet has increased exponentially in the last couple of years.

This type of pain is almost invisible to the people around a diabetic. They often wonder, I’m sure, what the hell is wrong with me, as I stumble from step to step, at times looking for all the world like a drunk after one too many.

Despite my best efforts to appear normal, it is sometimes impossible for me to avoid an outburst from a sudden onset of sharp pain in my hands or feet, without any advance warning that my chronic pain will suddenly become extreme, even if only for a few moments.

Dr. Fung mentions that it is worse at night while a diabetic sleeps or rests. Well, there are many times when neither is really possible, and my partner lays across from me worrying as I toss and turn in pain. And neuropathic pain is only one of the causes of pain in my body at night. Others are arthritis, bursitis, and severe muscle cramps.

Combine these with fibromyalgia and I guess that I have won the sweepstakes of pain, so far without winning the big prizes, premature death or paralysis. Even without the immediate threat of dying, chronic intense pain is exhausting, often leaving me so tired that days go by without being able to accomplish even the smallest things. Even I tend to feel like a lazy sonofabitch because my progress in so many things is fractional or even non-existent.

I wish I were faking it, of which I have been accused at times. If I could make it go away, I would indeed. The best thing my doctor ever told me about neuropathy is while I can still feel the pain, it is still at least possible that my nerve damage may partially recover as I reduce my diabetes and stop making it worse. Once the nerves are deadened to the point where my feet are simply numb, there would be no hope of ever recovering any of the la\ost sensitivity in my feet or hands.

This is one of the reasons why I am so determined to take any measure that has even a promise of helping me eliminate or radically reduce the effects of diabetes in the future.

18 thoughts on “Diabetic Pain – Neuropathy

  1. I empathise with your very sobering account of the implications of diabetes. These issues are rarely mentioned by GP’s when diagnosing diabetes, they just give a patient the bad news and start a barrage of medication. Only with the knowledge and bravery to speak out from people such as Jason Fung, Tim Noakes, Gary Taubes and many more has there become some hope.
    Have you tried Benfothiamine? I started to get neuropathy two years ago and along with the fat soluble B1 and a low carb diet, it has improved greatly.

  2. I have lived with neuropathy for the past ten years, even though they say I don’t have diabetes. No one really understands what it’s like, so I’m glad I read your post, Donald…

  3. Pingback: Diabetic Pain – Neuropathy – Rain Coast Review – Guam Christian Blog

  4. Thank you for sharing, and I’m sorry you’re going through all of this! I’m currently dealing with Epstein Barr, Chronic Fatigue and Fibro. I wholeheartedly believe in taking an honest look at the foods, supplements and toxins in our environments. We watched a documentary on Netflix last night called “The Magic Pill” and it’s all about chronic illness and food. It was great encouragement! Keep up the good fight!!!!!! Lifestyle changes take time and dedication. Take it slow and be kind to yourself

  5. I really enjoyed reading your post, what’s more, I’m learning the difficulties a person with diabetes goes through and it’s both fascinating (to realize the similarities in Lyme and diabetes) and frustrating (to see how people such as yourself suffer). I wish you lots of health, a cure that to be discovered and keep at it, please, if only to inform people such as myself of the struggles (unbeknown to us) of diabetes. My mom has it and this helps me understand more of her struggles as well.

  6. Have you tried the herbal line Gaia? Supreme Pain Relief with turmeric and other traditional herbs and spices…it helped my partner, who had primary progressive MS, and it helps my back fractures, herniated discs and spinal stenosis. I wish you well!🐞

  7. I’m so sorry that you get neuropathy. It is very distressing. I believe cannabis helps…or ways to manage your pain is to do mental distraction, such as listing names in your head or doing maths in your head. These help me to tune out pain. I’ve also heard of people reversing diabetes through changing their diet. I do empathize.

  8. Hi, my human has done intermittent fasting and she agrees it’s great. She also is on the MS diet,(but not for MS) and the anti-inflammatory diet which basically is a miracle. Have you ever tried it? She would rather die than go off of them now, that’s how well they worked. But she had to be on them a solid six months, no cheating, very strict before they worked. But they really, really worked. Won’t mention it again, just had to share. Best of luck!!!!!!

      • I got a book on it, but there are probably websites. It’s basically no gluten, dairy, eggs or legumes. Then after 6 months try to add legumes or maybe eggs back to see if they make a difference. It’s strict, but it really worked for me. And the anti-infammatory is a lifesaver. I know most people would rather die than give up food so they say what you eat doesn’t make a difference, but in my experience, it so does. My neurological problems are caused by something different but it works for me. God bless.

  9. Donald, thank you so much for following my blog recently! I’ve been reading yours this morning, and I’m really moved by how much you have to struggle with, but moreso, with your determination not to let it defeat you. To take an image from the post which brought you to following me…you really are one of the Janice’s of this world. I hear your struggles and I also hear the times of grace when gratitude and hope walk side by side with them. I’m diabetic, too…15 years this December. I haven’t taken good care of myself but have somehow missed insulin and nephropathy – so far. Pure luck…or maybe good genes? At 78. though, I’ve finally admitted that I can’t get away with anything any more. So I’m working on better diet and exercise. I’ll be especially interested to follow how your new plan works out. May the future find some relief for you and even some times of joy.

  10. Hello, Donald. Thank you for following my blog. No two people are the same, but I do understand neuropathy nights as I live with both diabetes and cancer. Recently I was diagnosed with arthritis as well and nights are… difficult. I will continue to read your blog with interest since I didn’t realize diabetics could fast at all. Thank you for this.

    • IF may be the only “cure” for diabetes. I dont know what type of cancer you are fighting but the metabiloc disorder thst causes diabeted is also a cause of many cancers, particularly pancreatic and variius other dtomach and intestinal tumors. Read the Diabetic Code by Dr. Jason Fung for more info on this.

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