This November is American Diabetes Awareness month. Though diabetes is a rather well-known disease, many people are not aware of all the side effects that come with the disease, including chronic pain.
What is chronic pain?
Chronic pain is categorized as pain that persists for more than 3 months. It can last for months at a time or even years. Chronic pain can occur in any part of the body. Many people with chronic pain have depression and anxiety due to its effects on daily life. Depending on the severity, it can impact sleep, exercise, work, and other activities that are a part of your day-to-day life.
How does diabetes correlate with chronic pain?
While anyone can develop chronic pain, diabetics have a higher risk of developing chronic issues. Here are some ways chronic pain impacts diabetics:
- According to BMC’s 2015 article, young diabetic patients had a higher number of consultations with physicians compared to their nondiabetic counterparts. They also had a higher ten-year cumulative incidence of chronic pain.
- 50% of people with diabetes report experiencing neuropathy(Nerve damage that causes weakness, numbness, and pain.)
- In an article by Dorota Lebiedz-Odrobina, MD, and Jonathan Kay, MD, diabetes patients experience more rheumatic issues (mobility problems, stiffness in joints, carpal tunnel syndrome, and more).
- People with type 2 diabetes are more at risk for osteoarthritis.
- Degeneration of connective tissue is a common issue. People with diabetes often have altered blood circulation, they often experience this. Some problems that are associated with this are:
How can people with diabetes manage chronic pain?
People with diabetes can manage chronic pain through a number of different treatments:
- Applying heat
- Applying cold packs
- Resting when necessary
- Exercises that strengthen your muscles
- Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin
- Anti-seizure medications
- Electrical stimulation
- Meditation and relaxation
- Steroid injections
- Physical therapy
Diabetes is a challenging disease to live with and chronic pain is debilitating at times. This month it is important to raise awareness of the realities of living with diabetes and showing compassion to your peers who have the disease.
If you or a loved one suffers from chronic pain caused by diabetes, contact Nextgen Wellness Group. Our pain management specialists can help curate a unique treatment plan to help get your pain under control. Contact us today.
Pai, L.-W., Hung, C.-T., Li, S.-F., Chen, L.-L., Chung, Y.- C., & Liu, H.-L. (2015, November 20). Musculoskeletal pain in people with and without type 2 diabetes in Taiwan: A population-based, retrospective cohort study – BMC musculoskeletal disorders. BioMed Central. Retrieved November 2, 2022, from https://bmcmusculoskeletdisord.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12891-015-0819-4
Lebiedz-Odrobina, D., & Kay, J. (2010, November 1). Rheumatic manifestations of diabetes mellitus. Rheumatic Disease Clinics. Retrieved November 2, 2022, from https://www.rheumatic.theclinics.com/article/S0889-857X(10)00079-7/fulltext