10 Treatment Options for Diabetic Nerve Pain

If you have diabetes, you’re probably familiar with diabetic neuropathy. It’s one of the best-known complications of diabetes and deserves the blame for diabetic amputations, vision problems, and diabetic nerve pain.

Over time, high blood sugar damages the body’s nerves, compromising the body’s ability to send reliable signals to the brain. Neuropathy pain takes many forms, but it often causes problems in the feet, legs, and arms such as tingling, burning, inability to sense temperature, cramps, weakness, and slow-healing wounds. Severity ranges from frustrating to debilitating—some people experience nerve pain so severely that they the weight of a sheet on their body causes searing pain.

There are strategies to prevent neuropathy, most importantly controlling blood sugar, but there is currently no definite cure. However, there are treatment options. If you are suffering, talk to your doctor about one of these 10 treatment options for diabetic nerve pain:

Photo: AdobeStock/khwaneigq
Photo: AdobeStock/khwaneigq

1. NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)

These drugs both numb pain and reduce inflammation. They block the creation of inflammation- and pain-causing chemicals. They are easy to find: Advil, Aleve, and Motrin are NSAIDs you can find at any drugstore. The drawback is that their effectiveness is limited. For less extreme neuropathy pain, NSAIDs may be a great option. The side effects include gastrointestinal distress and fatigue, and they should not be taken by those with renal dysfunction.

Photo: AdobeStock/cassis
Photo: AdobeStock/cassis

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2. Antidepressants

Antidepressants work by interrupting the chemical processes that cause you to feel pain; they are not only for treating depression.

Tricyclic antidepressants, such as Norpramin (desipramine), and Tofranil (imipramine), can provide mild to moderate relief, and the side effects can include dry mouth, sweating, weight gain, constipation, and dizziness.

Serotonic and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are antidepressants that generally have fewer side effects. Cymbalta is one example of a SNRI.

Photo: AdobeStock/diego cervo
Photo: AdobeStock/diego cervo

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