Neuropathy worse before it gets better?

Hi everyone. First time on the T2 board! I have a son who is T1 and have gotten to know some folks over there.
My story is that I pretty much got sedentary and overweight after my second child, and grew depressed, etc. Was diagnosed in the ER (had a panic attack) with diabetes and I believe my A1c was 8 at that point (I thought it was higher but my doc records directly after that said 8, so…) but I believe I had pre diabetes for quite some time. Both pregnancies normal, but during my second I developed a wicked case of sciatica and remnants of it still remain. I also started having burning, tingly feet, but didn’t think much of it.
Fast forward to now, almost 4 months since diagnosis, no meds or insulin, I’m down 45 pounds, active, bg in non diabetic range, looking forward to my official A1c update next month!
Lately, however, I’ve been noticing more irritating tingling and just achiness or heat when I stand or move a lot, walk, workout. Is this just NOW progressing? Or is it actually getting better?
I cannot afford to go to a specialist or doc (no insurance and don’t qualify for help, bahh), so what should I do to possibly heal or reverse symptoms? Anyone have issues with this? Thanks!

Keeping your bg in range might help.

I have found that as my blood sugar moves up and down my neuropathy gets worse. Low Blood Sugar tability is important in my fight.

Sometimes with neuropathy you don’t feel it when it happens since it reduces feeling. But when you start to heal your feeling returns and that can result in pain. As others have said, getting your blood sugar under control is the main thing you can do, but if it bothers you too much you can also talk with your doctor. Dr. Bernstein believes that you can heal your neuropathy with normalized blood sugars. There are some medications that can help manage the pain.

Do some searches here, there are some recommendations for supplements that help. And keep reminding yourself that with normalized blood sugars and time neuropathy can heal.

I agree with the above, with the caveat that not all neuropathy may completely heal with better BG control, healthier diet, and exercise. But better D-management can only help. I just wanted to make this clarification because I hate the thought of someone gaining better control of their D through diet, exercise (and/or more effective use of meds and/or insulin) only to experience residual neuropathy, then blame themselves for “failing”, or worse yet, throw in the towel and discontinue their healthier lifestyle.

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I understand that certain neuropathies whose source of damage is not reprieved would not be healed by blood sugar control. But my understanding is that all diabetes neuropathies may heal from normalized control. Do you know about certain types that don’t heal?

The operative word here is “may” (as opposed to “will”.) It has little to do with the type/cause of the neuropathy per se, as opposed to the severity and/or the duration of the neuropathy. Not all damage, especially damage to the nervous system can, unfortunately be “undone”. Whether one will achieve complete symptomatic reversal of diabetic neuropathy is, to a certain extent, a YDMV sort of thing. All anyone can do is their very best.

I think it is prudent to give a reasonable perspective on healing. My understand is now that most people can reasonably expect to heal from diabetic neuropathies over time. This is in stark contrast to the medical view years ago that you never heal from these neuropathies.

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Brian, I’m not sure I’m being clear because to me, it seems like we are in agreement on the topic, but I am reading your replies as, I don’t know, slightly challenging…

I’m unclear as to why presenting information that is medically correct (i.e., that not everyone who establishes and maintains good BG control will experience a reversal of all of their symptoms of diabetic neuropathy) is somehow not “prudent” or somehow does not “give a reasonable perspective on healing.” I completely agree with what you are saying: “most people can reasonably expect to heal from diabetic neuropathies over time.” By definition, this means that not all people can expect to heal from diabetic neuropathies over time. I believe in being hopeful, but I also believe in being realistic. And I’m wondering just how long ago it was that “This is in stark contrast to the medical view years ago that you never heal from these neuropathies” because I graduated from medical school over 20 years ago in 1992, and we were definitely not taught that people never heal from diabetic neuropathy.

It may be an urban myth, but I’ve been told repeatedly that peripheral nerve damage is more likely to be repairable than central.

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My personal experience is that my diabetic neuropathy did indeed get worse before it got better. For the first 6 months or so after I got my blood sugar under control I experienced an increase of the burning pain many describe. But with continued good control of my blood sugar this pain gradually decreased and then entirely disappeared.

However the numbness in my feet never entirely went away. Recently I have switched to insulin from Victoza. This has resulted in the elimination of my morning dawn phenomena spike. My A1C has improved (5.5 from 5.9) and the numbness in my feet seems to be improving. This is 7 years after diagnosis. So in my case at least, it seems even long term neuropathy can improve with better blood sugar control.

@d_suffern I hope you have continued success keeping your blood sugar under control and that you too will experience and improvement in your neuropathy symptoms.

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@d_suffern - Is it possible this might be related to the sciatica? I’m a Type 2, but I also have some spinal stuff going on; I’m told that the nerve issues in my back could be causing the neuropathy as much as the diabetes.


I have read Bernsteins book, but not memorized it I do not remember that Bernstein stated that neuropathy could be "healed"or cured by a reduction of BG. Cured is a sinomym for healed.
If you could identify a quote or location of the quote from Bernsteins book I would appreciate it. Thanks

In Part 2, section 24 on IMPROVEMENT IN DIABETIC NEUROPATHIES he says:

Diabetic neuropathies seem to improve in two phases—a rapid partial improvement that may occur within weeks, followed by sustained very slow improvement that goes on for years if blood sugars continue to remain normal. This is most apparent with numbness or pain in the toes. Some people will even comment, “I know right away if my blood sugar is high, because my toes feel numb again.” On the other hand, several patients with total numbness of their feet have complained of severe pain after several months of near-normal blood sugars. This continues for a number of months and eventually resolves as sensation returns. It is as if nerves generate pain signals while they heal or “sprout.” The experience may be very frightening and distressing if you haven’t been warned that it might occur.

I saw that section, he does not say lower BG cures neuropathy, sorry.
He is explaining what can happen when there is an improvement
He does not say there is a cure for all neuropathy is good blood sugar control.

You are correct, he never says that normalized blood sugars are absolutely 100% guaranteed to cure neuropathy. But he does describe the process and that the majority of people should see long-term healing if not outright cures with normalized blood sugars.

He also mentions, somewhere in the Introduction, that that is exactly what happened to him when he got his BG under control.

Just challenging Brian’s statement that dr Berstein says lower BG cures nuropathy .

In my opinion many on this site (not singling out Brian) take solid information and take it one step further.
Example: “Joslin says all type 2’s should be on insulin”. I have heard that many times on this site. At least until recently when some one responded with the correction. Joslin says " newly diagnosed T2’s with A1c’s over 10 should be started on insulin to prevent further damage" a far cry from all T2’s should be on insulin. Or all t2’s will eventually be on insulin so it should be started now.

I would prefer to keep posts here based on facts.

Brian never used the word “cure”, and neither does Bernstein. Sticking to facts also means not misquoting.

David read my post by definition heal is a sininym for cure.
So quote me please