Diabetes and Chronic Back Pain

It’s a Good Time to Raise Diabetes Awareness

If you are suffering from chronic back pain, it’s likely that your symptoms are a result of a degenerative spine condition such as a bone spur, bulging or herniated disc, or spinal stenosis, all of which can develop over time as part of the natural aging process. However, it’s important to be aware of other issues that may be the true culprits behind your pain.
One such illness is diabetes, and because we just recognized American Diabetes Month, it is a good time to examine this disease and its possible relationship to back and neck pain.
The American Diabetes Association is committed to raising awareness about diabetes and garnering support for finding a cure. Diabetes is a serious illness in which the body’s ability to produce and/or use insulin is defective. Produced by the pancreas, insulin is a hormone that helps the body use glucose (simple sugar) for energy. Since people with diabetes can’t produce and/or use insulin properly, glucose builds up in the blood, which can be very damaging to the entire body. Thankfully, there are several medications – as well as insulin injections – available to help people manage their diabetes.
Over 23 million people in the United States have either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes which can result in symptoms such as:
Type 1:
  • Fatigue and irritability
  • Unusual thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Frequent urination
Type 2:
  • Any of the above symptoms
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent infections (including recurring infections of the skin, gums, or bladder)
  • Slow-healing cuts or bruises
  • Tingling/numbness in the hands/feet
Another symptom of diabetes that you may not be aware of is back pain. Elevated blood sugar levels can cause damage to nerves, also known as “neuropathy.” This nerve damage can result in tingling, numbness, and pain in the lower back and throughout the legs – very similar to the symptoms of many common spine conditions.
If you’re interested in learning more about diabetes, be sure to speak with your doctor. You can also visit www.diabetes.org for more information. Do you or a loved one suffer from diabetes? Do you have any tips for dealing with back pain that might help another person, whether the pain is due to diabetes or a spine condition? If so, join the conversation on the Laser Spine Institute Facebook page and share your helpful tips with other users.


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