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Discussion Starter #1
My lower legs and feet have been falling asleep. My doc said my bg isn't high enough to cause nerve damage, I think it might have to do with my spine pressing on nerves, so am seeing a chiropractor, having traction hoping to free the nerves. I just started the traction, so haven't seen any positive results yet.

My doc said if the chiropractor can't resolve it, I will need to see a nerve specialist to find out what is causeing the numbness. But he told me one of the tests is painful. If the traction doesn't work, I will definitely see the nerve doc, so that isn't an issue. I know some of you have been through the tests, so could you please give me a general description of what goes on and just how painful it is. I think the most scary thing about something like this is not knowing what to expect.
 

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None of the tests I had were actually painful except when the physician was performing a physical exam of my spine - and poked/prodded a few facets/joints that are always inflamed and painful on me.

The nerve tests aren't about painful stimuli - there about different types of sensitivity: vibration, sensation (hot/cold/sharp/dull), movement recognition (can you tell if a toe is being moved up vs. down without looking?) and things like that.

I must admit I was WORRIED when I saw him pull out a pin as part of the sensitivity testing (it was used to determine if I can differentiate between sharp and dull sensations without looking - which oddly enough I couldn't...) but the Dr. dulled it a bit first so it wasn't going to hurt as much, and then demonstrated gently on my hand how much pressure he'd be using. There was no blood, it wasn't a 'prick' but more a little 'poke'. Not painful at all.

Some Dr's will also use a PSSD (Pressure Specified Sensitivity Device) - but there are both positive and negative reviews on this new technology (it's painless) so Dr's that DO use it won't use/rely on it exclusively...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks a lot, beefy. You have set my mind at ease. This came from one of your previous posts:

Basically both the spinal and the diabetes complications are affecting it.

Either way you look at it, it's definite sensation loss/neuropathy, and I didn't even realize.
Did your doctor tell you anything that can be done to solve the problems with your spine pressing on nerves? Also, (besides keeping your bg under control) are there medicines or whatever that they can give to help keep diabetic neuropathy from progressing or to help heal the nerves or whatever?
 

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...Did your doctor tell you anything that can be done to solve the problems with your spine pressing on nerves? Also, (besides keeping your bg under control) are there medicines or whatever that they can give to help keep diabetic neuropathy from progressing or to help heal the nerves or whatever?
For my condition there is partial relief from surgery, but only somewhat... I have stenosis - a narrowing of the canals that both my spinal cord runs through, and those that my nerve roots exit out of.

For the stenosis that affects the nerve roots they can do spinal decompression surgery, but because my condition is degenerative it will provide only temporary relief. They are quite hesitant to do anything about the central-canal stenosis due to the affect it could have on the spinal cord.

As for medicines, I've been taking gabapentin for quite some time now - it's commonly prescribed for both diabetic neuropathy and the nerve pain I experience from my stenosis. And it does help somewhat at higher dosages.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I did some research on the web and from what I could find, when it comes to diabetic neuropathy, gabapentin is for pain, not for healing nerves. (But maybe it does heal nerves, and maybe I just didn't end up on the correct websites during my search.) I did a search at bloodsugar101 and it looks like alpha lipoic acid is used to heal diabetic neuropathy. It also says you can heal D neuropathy by keeping bg low. I have been trying to do that and was wondering why the numbness hasn't improved, and might even be worse, but bs101 says while the nerves are healing, the neuropathy can get worse, so that explains a lot. It says to heal, keep fasting bg under 100, 1 hour post-meal under 140 and 2 hour post-meal under 120. I have been doing that, but it is sometimes difficult to get fasting below 100.

A few years ago I injured a nerve in my arm which made part of my hand and small finger go numb. The doc said it could take a year or more to heal. It did take over a year, but finally healed and there was no numbness for a few months. Unfortunately it has come back to a lesser degree, but I believe that has to do with the spine pressing on nerves or D neuropathy, not the old injury. So it does give me some hope that if I can get and keep my bg down, the nerves will eventually heal.
 

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Hey, Gizmo, I want to thank you so much for your comment about your arm. I, too, tore the myelin sheath off a nerve in my arm in a skiing accident and by golly it did take more than a year before the feeling came back to my hand, so maybe my feet will wake up in time! I'd totally forgotten that experience!

Thanks ever so much for the mention...
 

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To my knowledge there is no medication that actually 'heals' diabetic (or any other) neuropathy.

Lowering blood sugars (when elevated) can help, and nerve damage can be stopped (and in some cases reversed - it depends on the extent of the damage). That's the only thing I know of for sure.

The gabapentin I take is to help with the pain I experience from my spinal condition - I've been since taking it long before I knew about the diabetes... What I can tell you is it has helped with pain in my back/buttocks/legs that I'm sure is from the nerve issues in my spine.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Beefy, have you tried a chiropractor to help align your spine? My chiro. did X-rays to start, then another set a month and a half in. I saw the X-rays and my spine isn't far from being straight now, and the pain in my back is gone. I know a nerve is pressing on at least one place on my spine because my back sometimes falls asleep in that spot. According to my chiro, once the spine is aligned, sometimes it stops pressing on nerves, but of course there is no guarantee. At least I'm hoping for the best. I have another 3 weeks of treatments at 2X per week, then 4 weeks at 1X per week, then I'm done.
 
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