At the Michigan Center for Regenerative Medicine, we’re always looking for the latest advancements in treatment methods for our patients. One area where we’re seeing significant promise is using peripheral nerve stimulation for diabetic painful neuropathy (DPN). We’ve had a number of patients come into our Rochester regenerative medicine clinic looking for relief from pain and discomfort due to diabetic neuropathy. In this blog we’ll dig deeper into this condition and how peripheral nerve stimulation may finally be able to offer some relief for you or a loved one who is dealing with this type of pain.
What is Diabetic Painful Neuropathy?
Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can occur in individuals who suffer from diabetes. Diabetics experience high blood sugar, which can lead to injured nerves throughout the body. Individuals most often experience diabetic neuropathy in their feet and legs. The Mayo Clinic estimates that diabetic neuropathy affects as many as 50% of individuals with diabetes.
Common Symptoms of Diabetic Neuropathy
Below are some of the most common symptoms of diabetic neuropathy:
- Burning pain or feeling like you’re walking on rocks, pebbles or nails
- Pain that escalates and subsides
- Pain that may be worse at night or when you’re not doing any type of activity
- Pain that typically starts at the tips of the toes or fingers and moves towards the spine (often referred to as a sock and glove distribution of pain)
Common Treatment Options for Diabetic Painful Neuropathy
In the past there hasn’t been a whole lot of options when it comes to treatment options for diabetic neuropathy. A few treatment options doctors have tried with varying levels of success include:
- Diet control, especially as it relates to sugar levels
- Some medications have been used to help with diabetic neuropathy including seizure drugs, antidepressants and some creams such as Capsaicin.
- There are not very many procedures to improve diabetic neuropathy because the condition typically involves a large number of nerves.
- Peripheral nerve stimulation
Why is Peripheral Nerve Stimulation a Good Treatment Option for Diabetic Neuropathy?
Peripheral nerve stimulation is a unique treatment option for a variety of conditions including diabetic neuropathy. Peripheral nerve stimulation involves expertly placing small electrical leads close to the area where you are experiencing discomfort. Pulses are then sent to interrupt the transmission of pain signals. A small device is used to control the pulses. With every application a “trial period” is conducted before the electrical leads are permanently placed close to the painful nerve. Only if a positive outcome is obtained from the trial will our doctors permanently install the leads to be used with the peripheral nerve stimulator.
Below are several of the reasons why peripheral nerve stimulation may be a good option for those dealing with diabetic neuropathy:
- Trial period – With peripheral nerve stimulation we always perform a trial period where we temporarily attach electrical leads to the area that is causing you pain. Only after a successful trial do we permanently install the electrical leads close to the painful nerve.
- Minimally invasive – Peripheral nerve stimulation procedures are minimally invasive and all done in our state of the art regenerative medicine clinic in Rochester, MI.
- Ultrasound guidance – Our highly trained board certified physicians use ultrasound guidance to ensure we’re placing the electrical leads in the correct place to block pain. Our doctors have extensive training to ensure they’re able to skillfully place the electrode right next to the affected nerve.
- No addictive medications – Peripheral nerve stimulation involves no addictive opioid pain medications that can cause problems for many years to come. In addition to the potential for addiction, opioids and other medications used to treat diabetic neuropathy can have significant side effects.
- Covered by insurance – Peripheral nerve stimulation is often covered by insurance, including Medicare. Our team will work with you to ensure the correct consultations have taken place to give you the best chance of having the procedure covered by insurance.
Interested in Learning More About Peripheral Nerve Stimulation for Diabetic Neuropathy
If you’d like to learn more about the many benefits of peripheral nerve stimulation for diabetic neuropathy, feel free to reach out to our team at The Michigan Center for Regenerative Medicine today. We can be reached by phone at (248) 216-1008, or via email using our online contact form. Our office staff will be happy to setup a consultation with one of our doctors to discuss whether peripheral nerve stimulation may be a good option for your diabetic nerve pain.