People with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes have several options for treating nerve pain

Many people who suffer from type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes experience nerve pain in their hands and feet. Now, the American Academy of Neurology has released new guidelines for treating this type of discomfort, according to a recent review published in the journal Neurology.

The researchers explained that individuals who have abnormal blood sugar levels may sustain nerve damage, which can cause sleep problems, low mood or poor quality of life. Nerve pain is characterized by sensations of tingling, numbness or burning. Although some people with diabetes do not experience these symptoms, the risk of nerve pain increases significantly after individuals have had diabetes for 25 years or more, according to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse.

"It is estimated that diabetic nerve pain affects 16 percent of the more than 25 million people living with diabetes in the United States and is often unreported and more often untreated, with an estimated two out of five cases not receiving care," said lead guideline author Vera Bril.

The article recommends several seizure drugs and antidepressants to help reduce nerve pain, although the scientists noted that physicians should prescribe these medications based on individual cases. Some popular therapies include pregabalin, venlafaxine, duloxetine and amitriptyline, as well as opioid painkillers.

Moreover, people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes who want to avoid extensive drug regimens may consider using transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. According to the American Cancer Society, this method involves a small portable device, which transmits low charges of electricity to an area of the body that is affected by pain through electrodes placed on the skin. The organization notes that this method of treatment may help stimulate the body's natural production of endorphins that have been shown to relieve pain.

Percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation provides similar results, although impulses are delivered through acupuncture needles, as opposed to electrodes.