Diabetic Neuropathic Pain
Podiatric acupuncture can be used in the treatment of patients with diabetic neuropathic pain. It uses traditional Chinese and western acupuncture techniques to help reduce the symptoms associated with this diabetic complication.
What is diabetic neuropathic pain?
Diabetic neuropathic pain (DNP) is a complication of diabetes which is the result of elevated blood glucose levels over a prolonged period of time. Patients with diabetic neuropathy pain often experience symptoms such as burning, tingling and stabbing sensations in the feet and toes. DNP is often found to be worse during periods of rest and is unrelated to increased activity.
What does acupuncture treatment for diabetic neuropathic pain involve?
Following an initial assessment of the patient the patient will be asked to lie comfortably before the sterile acupuncture needles are gently tapped into specific areas of the foot. The needles are usually left in the foot for between 20 and 40 minutes before being removed. The sensation experienced when the fine needles are inserted into the skin varies between patients, there may be momentary feeling of discomfort however in most cases patients experience little sensitivity.
How can acupuncture help patients with diabetic neuropathic pain?
Acupuncture in general works by stimulating the bodys nervous system causing neurochemical messenger molecules to be released. As a result of this biochemical changes occur within the body, influencing the area of the body that is responsible for the regulation of a constant, stable internal environment. In relation to the treatment of diabetic neuropathic pain acupuncture is believed to work in the following ways:
- Reducing a patients sensitivity to stress and pain by working on the areas of the brain which are responsible for the regulation of these feelings.
- Stimulating an increase in the release of the chemical adenosine which works to reduce an individuals sensitivity to painful stimuli
- Decreasing inflammation by stimulating the release of factors affecting the vascular and immune system
- Reducing muscles stiffness and improving joint mobility by increasing localised circulation which works to disperse any swelling
- Signals the release of neurotropic factors which are responsible for the development of neurones in terms of growth and survival as well as the conservation of mature neurones. This process in particular is important for patients with neuropathic pain.
What are the benefits of acupuncture for diabetic neuropathic pain?
The benefits associated with the use of acupuncture in the treatment of patients with diabetic neuropathic pain include the following:
- A decrease in the level of pain and discomfort the patient experiences in the feet
- Improved sleep
- Improves a patients quality of life
- Has fewer side effects then pharmaceutical methods of treatment
- Can be carried out in clinic
- Similar treatments/services that could help
Other services that we provide for patients suffering from diabetic neuropathic include:
- Performing regular diabetic foot screenings to prevent complications developing
- Providing information and advice to patients regarding their condition
- Treating diabetic ulcerations
- Reviewing footwear and providing footwear advice and education
- Padding and taping techniques as a form of protection for increased pressure points