6 pain relief questions every diabetic should ask

October 9, 2015

Finding relief from diabetic neuropathy can be difficult. But with these few questions, you could discover some ways to reduce your pain and help you feel better.

6 pain relief questions every diabetic should ask

1. What causes diabetic neuropathy?

  • One theory for the cause of diabetic neuropathy is that it begins when nerve cells swell.
  • The reason for the swelling appears to be that glucose bonds with an enzyme to draw water into cells and not let it out.

2. How does alpha-lipoic acid work?

  • This powerful antioxidant is thought to block the enzyme that leads to swelling in diabetic neuropathy.
  • Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) also protects cells against damaging effects of free radicals, destructive molecules thought to play a role in nerve damage.

3. Can ALA help people with nerve damage feel better?

  • Researchers have looked into ALA more rigorously than they have most other alternative therapies. Many believe it can help.
  • While results are not conclusive, they have been encouraging.
  • One trial involved 328 people with type 2 diabetes. Those who received ALA injections every day for three weeks felt significantly less pain from neuropathy than those who didn't get the treatment.
  • However, an even larger follow-up trial failed to find much of an effect from ALA.
  • Researchers recently reviewed four different, well-controlled studies. They found that, on average, people's neuropathy symptoms improved steadily while taking ALA.

4. How can I try ALA?

  • The body makes small amounts of ALA, and you get more from foods such as spinach, but these sources don't provide enough. For that, you need a supplement.
  • The best studies have used injected ALA, but there's evidence that pills can help control neuropathy, with doses ranging from 100 to 600 milligrams.
  • Aside from rare allergic reactions, such as skin rashes, few serious safety issues have cropped up with ALA.
  • It's been shown to be toxic in animals with a thiamin deficiency, so consider taking ALA in conjunction with a thiamin supplement or multivitamin.

5. Can magnets relieve pain?

  • Magnetic fields factor into plenty of processes in the body, from cell division to transmitting signals through the nervous system.
  • One of the most intriguing studies on magnet therapy involved people with chronic neuropathic foot pain.
  • In the study, when 19 people wore magnetic insoles in their shoes for four months, 75 percent of them reported feeling significant relief.
  • Repeating the experiment with a much larger group of 375 people, magnets improved a wide range of symptoms, including burning, tingling, numbness and pain.
  • Researchers concluded that magnets affect the firing of pain receptors in the skin.
  • It's been suggested that magnets are attracted to blood iron, drawing blood into areas that need more oxygen and helping blood vessel walls relax.

6. Are magnets harmful?

The benefits of magnets are still far from proven, but using them appears to be harmless — with a few caveats:

  • Don't use magnets if you have a pacemaker.
  • Avoid using strong magnets on your head or in the area of cancer tumours or infections.
  • Look for therapeutic magnets at a health supply store or search online under "magnetic health products."
  • No supplement or therapy is going to cure you of neuropathy, but they can help with pain, irritation, pain and tingling.

People who suffer from diabetic neuropathy can often feel like their pain will never end. But there are options available that could ease discomfort and irritation. Be sure to consult with your physician before trying anything new.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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