What Is Diabetic Neuropathy?Diabetic neuropathy is defined as damage that occurs in the peripheral nerves of patients with diabetes. Peripheral nerves are located in the arms and legs, and are responsible for providing sensation throughout the body and controlling one’s muscles to move and walk safely. Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy include: • Pain • Swelling • Weakness • Numbness and tingling • Diminished blood circulation • Loss of balance • Fatigue or lack of energy • Uncontrolled blood sugar levels • Weight gain When a person develops neuropathy, it means that something is causing damage to the nerves. In the case of diabetic neuropathy, excess blood sugar is the causing factor. Because of this damage, nerves lose the ability to function well. As a result, the individual will have difficulty performing his or her favorite activities as usual.
What May Cause Diabetic Neuropathy?• Smoking • High blood pressure • An advanced stage of diabetes • Poor control of blood sugar levels • Heavy alcohol intake • Obesity Unfortunately, diabetic neuropathy is a progressive disease, which causes more damage over time if we do nothing about it. For that reason, it is important to be familiar with the warning signs. • Muscle weakness • Dry skin on feet or legs • Neuropathic pain in hands, legs, or feet • Tingling, pins and needles or burning sensations in feet • Loss of balance that may present as frequent tripping or foot drop • Numbness in hands and/or feet – like stocking glove distribution • Risk of developing ulcers and infections, and consequently, amputations
How Do Acupuncture and Physical Therapy Help Manage Diabetic Neuropathy?There are many ways that you can manage your diabetic neuropathy, which is one of many conditions treated at Family Integrative Medicine. You should start by modifying your lifestyle. That includes doing physical exercises on a regular basis, adjusting diet, and taking care of your non-healthy habits, among others. Next consider the help of proven modalities such as acupuncture, physical therapy, or a combination of both – based on your referring physician’s recommendation. At Family Integrative Medicine, we use a team-based approach that combines the expertise of medical professionals from multiple fields, all working on your behalf for the betterment of your health condition. Our doctors will assess you and develop the best integrative treatment plan based on an individual patient’s unique health needs and symptoms. An acupuncture physician can help you manage diabetic neuropathy using multiple strategies and different modalities with positive long-term results. Doctors use manual acupuncture, electric acupuncture, laser acupuncture, injections, herbal medicines, and supplements, among other treatment options. Research has proven that patients who received weekly acupuncture treatment for 10 weeks found the treatment highly effective to the improvement of their neuropathic symptoms. A Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) can help diabetic neuropathy by designing an exercise program based on your needs. This will include aerobics, flexibility, strengthening and balance exercises to reduce pain and improve muscle function, in order to improve quality of life. In addition, a physical therapist can use other kinds of modalities to enhance results.
Can the Same Exercises Used to Treat Diabetic Neuropathy be Beneficial for Treating Sports Injuries in Athletes?
Can the same exercises used to treat diabetic neuropathy be beneficial for treating sports injuries in athletes? While the exercises designed to combat diabetic neuropathy may help in improving nerve function and circulation, they may not be specifically catered to treating sports injuries effectively. Athletes require exercises that focus on targeted muscle groups and promote healing, which may differ from the needs of those with diabetic neuropathy.