Diabetes and Back Pain

 Diabetes is a disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin that is produced. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels (glucose). It is also the brain’s main source of fuel. Although it is primarily known for its effects on glucose levels, diabetes is a disease that affects numerous body systems, including your muscles, connective tissue and bones. 

Get treatment for your diabetes-rated back pain by booking an appointment with The Back Clinic.

What is the connection between diabetes and back problems? 

People with diabetes are 19%-35% more likely to have lower back pain and 24%-34% more likely to have neck pain than the general population. Some reasons for this are: 

  • Neuropathy – Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage that occurs when persistently high blood glucose levels damage the nerves, leading to symptoms such as pain, tingling or numbness. This problem can affect up to 50 percent of people with diabetes and can lead to chronic back pain. 
  • Bone Health – High glucose levels may damage the collagen that makes up bone. This can cause a greater risk of vertebral fractures, among other types and locations of fracture, in people with diabetes. Additionally, the increased fracture risk in people with diabetes is compounded by impaired fracture healing. 
  • Obesity – Obesity is the double-edged sword of diabetes. It is both a contributing factor to the development of type 2 diabetes and a complication resulting from poorly controlled blood glucose levels. Regardless of which came first, obesity is a major contributor to back pain due to the added stress on the spine over time. 

Treatment for diabetes-related back pain 

Manage your Diabetes – Treatment for diabetes-related back pain must start with treating the underlying cause – your diabetes.

  • Diagnosis: If you do not have a diagnosis but suspect you have diabetes you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
  • Tests: Check your blood glucose levels daily or as recommended by your doctor.
  • Eat right: Know how foods affect your blood sugar levels and eat as you should.
  • Regular physical activity: This helps your body use insulin more efficiently.
  • Medication: Insulin and other diabetes medications are designed to lower your blood sugar levels when diet and exercise alone are not enough to control diabetes. Follow your doctor’s orders carefully. 

Lifestyle changes – These changes will assist with managing your diabetes as well as reducing your back pain.

  • Stress relief: Diabetes already stresses numerous systems of the body, including some that contribute to back pain. Additional stress will only make the problem worse. There are some things you can try to relax and reduce the stress in your life, such as breathing exercises, yoga and massage therapy.
  • Exercise: Exercising is great because it kills two birds with one stone. It can help improve diabetes and relieve back pain. It improves bone health, strengthens muscles, helps with weight loss, improves circulation, and releases endorphins, which are pain-relieving chemicals released by the brain.
  • Stop smoking: Smokers are almost three times more likely to suffer from back pain than non-smokers. The nicotine in cigarettes may relieve your pain in the short term, but over time it makes the nerves more sensitive and can increase the pain.
  • Limit alcohol: Alcohol may help numb the pain while you consume it, but it can also cause muscle spasms and dehydration that ultimately worsen the pain and discomfort. It can also lead to complications if you are taking pain medication.

Physiotherapy – Physiotherapists play an important role in the prevention, treatment, and management of diabetes and its associated complications. Book your appointment. Benefits include:

  • Regular aerobic exercise and strength training can help control blood glucose levels and insulin production, and increase muscle strength and fitness.
  • Increases glucose uptake by muscles and improves its utilisation.
  • Overcome disabilities by preventing, treating and rehabilitating neuromuscular complications such as neuropathies, skin breakdown, foot ulcers, arthritis, other joint pain, frozen shoulder, back pain and osteoarthritis associated with diabetes.
  • Improve the efficiency of breathing to improve blood flow and oxygen supply to vital organs and muscles, and promote faster healing.

 Get the help you need to get your diabetes-related back pain under control. Contact The Back Clinic by requesting a call below.


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