Diabetic neuralgia is nerve pain that is caused by diabetes. It is often described as an intense burning or stabbing pain, which is often brief but sever. In diabetes most neuralgia occurs in the feet or legs. According to Neuropathy-Treatment.org, about 70% of diabetics will experience some form of diabetic neuralgia sometime in their lives. Diabetic neuralgia is more common among the elderly, but it can occur at any age.

Diabetes can damage the nerves in many different ways, but the underlying cause of every type of diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage) is having high blood sugar levels for a long period of time. Neuropathies in diabetes may be acute and resolve slowly after blood sugar levels are back under control. Chronic neuropathies normally begin subtly and progress slowly. Sometimes symptoms get better in chronic neuropathy and then the patient relapses, and sometimes the symptoms will stay the same for months or years. For the most part, however, symptoms get worse with time.


Treating Diabetic Neuralgia


Diabetic neuralgia is usually described as prickling or tingling feelings, burning sensations, sharp pains, stabbing pains, or shooting pains in the affected areas. Sometimes in diabetic neuralgia the pain is the neurological, which means that it has everything to do with the nerves and nothing to do with what is actually causing it. For example, just the lightest touch from a sock or a bed sheet can feel extremely painful. This is because the damaged nerves become confused about what is and isn’t painful, so mistakenly send the wrong signals to the brain.

There are several types of medications used to treat diabetic neuralgia. Interestingly, because much of the pain is neurological it has been found that antidepressants are helpful because they interfere with the chemical processes of the brain. According to the Mayo Clinic, antidepressants that may be used in the treatment of diabetic neuralgia are Pamelor, Norpramin, and Tofranil. New antidepressants which are called serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) may also be used. Cymbalta is a good example of these. Other types of medication that may be used include:

  • Anti-Seizure medications such as Neurontin, Lyrica, and Tegretol
  • Lidocain patches which contain the topical anesthetic lidocaine
  • Opoids such as tramadol (Ultram) and oxycodone (OxyCotin)
  • Capsicum cream is a topical cream that works well in treating nerve damage in the feet