Is Spinal Cord Stimulation Suitable For People With Diabetic Neuropathy?

diabetic neuropathyA specific type of nerve damage caused by diabetes is known as diabetic neuropathy. The condition often presents symptoms of pain, tingling, and numbness for some people while others may experience no symptoms at all.

The condition is quite widespread with about 60 to 70 percent of diabetics having some sort of neuropathy. While the problem can arise at any given stage, the risk factor typically increases with age and the duration of diabetes.  Such neuropathy also presents itself more in individuals with difficulties controlling their blood glucose levels, those with higher levels of blood fat, blood pressure and those who are overweight are more susceptible.

The first line of treatment for such individuals in managing blood sugar levels includes the following recommendations:

  • Eat a high fiber diet
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Manage stress levels
  • Exercise regularly
  • Try a vitamin B complex
  • Over the counter pain relievers

Other options for treating diabetic neuropathy

However, when such basic practices do not suffice, individuals with diabetic neuropathy have other, more advanced options to explore. For instance, spinal cord stimulation is a type of regenerative treatment available to assist with seeking relief from diabetic neuropathy.

The process is considered a successful alternative to relieve chronic neuropathic pain including diabetic neuropathy. Neuromodulation began in the 1980s to manage chronic pain and has since then continued to evolve to treat a host of health conditions including diabetic neuropathy.

For diabetic patients, the procedure presents a decrease in severity of chronic pain, bringing it to manageable levels.

Some studies have shown the procedure to deliver a 50-70% reduction in overall pain. For diabetic patients, in particular, studies suggest that the procedure may be considered as a ‘last resort’ for effective pain management. The same studies also indicated that the procedure could present some possible complications including the risk of infection.

Regarding findings of the study, Dr. A. Gordon Smith, MD, director of the Peripheral Neuropathy Clinic and Cutaneous Innervation Laboratory at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, said “[Spinal-cord stimulation] is going to be reserved for patients with severe, refractory pain that has not responded to traditional pharmacologic therapy. In that setting, you have to have a frank discussion with the patient about the risks of the procedure….The risk of death is incredibly low, but the risk of an infection or other procedure-related risk is somewhat higher. Patients need to be made aware of that.”

Spinal cord stimulation is invasive, and patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy should only receive the treatment as a last resort and conducted by specialists, the researchers concluded.

To better manage neuropathy pain, patients in the Maryland region can get in touch with spinal cord stimulation experts at All Star Pain Management Maryland. The clinic treats a number of conditions using this procedure including diabetic neuropathy and may be able to help you seek long-term pain relief from your condition. It is a way to find quick relief from a condition that can otherwise present severely debilitating symptoms.