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From Glasgow, Scotland, UK:

My brother (age 46) is a non-insulin dependent diabetic. For the last year or so, he has been suffering from acute pains in his back, which started as a sort of sore itch in a small spot near the base of the spine, and have now expanded to a "belt" round his middle. No firm diagnosis has ever been given, but the general consensus seems to be that it is a form of the neuropathy that diabetics have been known to suffer in their feet. However, no one up here has ever come across a case of it attacking the back before, and my brother has received no positive indications as to whether there is anything he can do either to improve his condition or alleviate the pain. Have you ever come across neuropathy affecting the back? Can you point me towards any group or person who might be able and prepared to offer serious advice?


Unusual forms of chronic pains in a specific area (such as the back) might be related to rarer forms of diabetic nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy), but it's extremely important to rule out other causes of the pain that would require specific therapy. In fact, diabetes is usually considered to be the "diagnosis of exclusion" (namely, one shouldn't blame the diabetes as the cause of the pain unless everything else has been excluded).

Testing should be done, both blood tests and X-rays or CT-scans or MRI's, to be sure the pain isn't due to something else. And your brother should be seen by a competent specialist who deals with this sort of pain routinely before attributing the pain to his diabetes. For back pain, this might be a neurologist or neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeron.


Original posting 7 Mar 97


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:54
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