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October 31, 2008

Aches and Pains, Complications

Question from Rochester, New York, USA:

I have had type 1 diabetes for 24 years. I have been in terrible control over the past few years due to an eating disorder in which I often did not take my shots because I either wasn't eating or I wanted to "get rid" of the food I did eat. Both resulted in my blood sugars being consistently high. I went through intensive treatment over the past year and have been normalizing my blood sugars and am feeling better overall. Shortly after I began to get my blood sugars under control, I started to experience terrible pain. I have some pain in my feet, but the majority of the pain is in my back and shoulders and pretty much everywhere else on my body. It feels like my skin is crawling and burning. It often feels like I am being bitten or poked. My doctor currently has me on Lyrica and tramadol, which are helping some. I am just wondering if this were diabetic neuropathy? I have the shooting, burning pain, but it is not really in my feet or hands. Some people have told me that the pain is due to my nerves healing now that I am under control. Is there any truth to this? I have also noticed that the pain is worse when my blood sugar is high. Have you heard of this before?


Your symptoms may indeed be from neuropathy. Improving your blood sugar is still very important. If pain still continues, be sure to follow-up with your physician so that the medications can be adjusted for maximum symptomatic relief. These medications do not improve the overall function of the nerves, but they help with the nerve pain caused by the dysfunctional firing of the nerves. It should be noted that there are additional medications that can be used. If you have access to a pain clinic, you might also seek their care if you do not get relief from your current regimen.