Learn How Diabetes can Lead to Sciatica-Like Pain

Type 2 diabetes is an epidemic. Nearly 10% of Americans ― that’s more than 30 million people ― are diabetic, and many of that number are undiagnosed. There are many complications of diabetes, and among them is diabetic neuropathy, a type of nerve damage. Left unchecked, this neuropathy can create pain similar to that of sciatica.

If you’re dealing with pain from diabetic neuropathy, Christopher Clark, MD, and his team at Premier Spine and Sports Medicine in Hagerstown, Maryland can help. In this blog, Dr. Clark discusses the differences and similarities between diabetic neuropathy and sciatica and what can be done to treat them.

What is diabetic neuropathy?

Diabetic neuropathy, which occurs due to high blood sugar levels, can cause injury to nerves throughout the body. This nerve pain is most commonly felt in the legs and feet. 

The condition can result in pain or numbness in the affected areas as well as muscle weakness, tingling or burning sensations, and cramps. The condition can also lead to damage in the urinary tract or digestive system.

How can diabetic neuropathy mimic sciatic pain?

While sciatica is a form of nerve damage, it mainly stems from a different cause. Sciatica typically stems from lower spine problems, such as spinal stenosis, herniated discs, or bone spurs. Any of these can compress the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back, through the legs, and to the feet.

Since pain from diabetic neuropathy can often occur in the same areas associated with sciatica, people can confuse the two. The only way to tell the difference is with a thorough medical exam.

How can diabetic neuropathy be treated?

There is no cure for diabetic neuropathy. However, the symptoms can be treated. Treatment can alleviate symptoms, restore function, and slow progression of the damage. This is mainly done by closely monitoring your blood sugar and diet, and taking pain medications and exercising.

If you do have sciatica, treatment may include anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, steroids, physical therapy, and possibly surgery.

Knowing whether or not you’re dealing with diabetic neuropathy or sciatica is the key to getting the proper treatment. To get a thorough exam and start on the road to recovery, book an appointment online or over the phone with Premier Spine and Sports Medicine today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Are You at Risk for Sciatica?

If you’re dealing with pain anywhere between your lower back to your feet, you could be dealing with sciatica. But how do you know if you’re likely to have it? What issues put you at risk for this condition?

The Importance of a Strong Pelvic Floor

The pelvic floor is a part of the body that’s vital to your health but isn’t discussed near enough. Without a strong pelvic floor, you can find yourself dealing with a variety of problems. Read on to find out more.

The Stages of Post-Operative Rehabilitation

So, you’ve had an injury operated on and you’re looking to get back in shape. How long does it take? What are the steps to getting back to your regular activities? Read on to find out.

Living With Arthritis

Arthritis is a condition that affects millions of people in many age groups. It comes in different forms and can be mild or severe. But there are ways to cope with arthritis and even get relief. Read on to find out more.

Mistakes You're Making While Running That Cause You Pain

Though there is some truth to the motto “no pain, no gain” when it comes to running, not all pain is good pain. Wearing the wrong shoes and skipping your warm-up are some of the common mistakes runners make that cause pain. Click here to learn more.