Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that occurs in people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Diabetic neuropathy can affect many organ systems, but this article refers to patients who have tingling, numbness, and pain in the feet and hands. Their symptoms are typically worse in the feet and have been described by some as intense burning, severe pins and needles, feet covered in ants, or walking on barbed wire. Some will complain of numbness and loss of balance.
Patients tend to ignore these symptoms for long periods of time. Only when their condition is severely affecting their quality of life do they seek out medical attention.
There are many different medications that have been tried to treat these painful symptoms, and some will be successful. However, research over the past 10 years performed and confirmed by several different teams in several countries has demonstrated that many patients diagnosed with diabetic peripheral neuropathy and treated only with medications also have nerve compressions in the feet and hands. This nerve compression may be the chief cause of their painful symptoms as well as the numbness that occurs.
We know that decompressing a nerve that is pinched is the best way to treat a compressed nerve. Therefore, one solution for relief for patients suffering from symptoms of diabetic neuropathy might be adding nerve decompression treatment to the other standard treatment measures. However, finding the right physician is vital. You need to work with an experienced peripheral nerve surgeon to create an effective treatment plan to manage your condition and improve your quality of life.
Tips for Finding the Best Doctor for Diabetic Neuropathy
Take the following suggestions into account. Then, you can rest assured that you have the information you need to research professionals capable of providing quality care tailored to your needs.
Ask Your Primary Care Physician for a Referral
After assessing your condition, your primary care physician can refer you to a specialist with experience in treating diabetic neuropathy pain. This should include a referral to a peripheral nerve surgeon for evaluation. You may have to ask specifically for this referral as the published research on surgical management is still not widely circulated in the primary care fields, despite 15 years of pioneering research and publications of physicians like Dr. A. Lee Dellon, MD Ph.D.
Talk to Friends and Family
If you know someone who suffers from pain due to diabetic neuropathy, ask them for a referral, along with what treatment methods were used and the type of results they achieved.
Do Thorough Research
You can search online for doctors in your area who specialize in treating diabetic neuropathy. You can look for peripheral nerve surgeons in your area. Look for physicians who have experience with this condition and positive patient reviews and testimonials. You may even consider watching videos on the doctor’s website to learn how nerve decompression helped other patients manage their neuropathy pain.
Look for Education and Experience
While some physicians might generally treat diabetes for daily management, others provide solutions that require more experience. Dr. Williams is a board-certified plastic surgeon with additional fellowship training in peripheral nerve surgery. He specializes in nerve compression surgery in diabetic patients as well as non-diabetic patients.
What to Ask Potential Doctors
Once you narrow down the options, schedule in-person appointments with doctors who specialize in treating diabetic neuropathy. At your consultation, here are some key questions to ask:
- What specific qualifications do you have to treat diabetic neuropathy pain?
- How long have you been treating patients like me?
- What makes your practice unique and different from others in the area?
- What tests will be done to diagnose my diabetic neuropathy?
- What are the different treatment options for diabetic neuropathy, and which do you recommend for me?
- Who’s an ideal candidate for nerve decompression surgery?
- How successful have treatments such as nerve decompression been for other patients with diabetic neuropathy pain?
- What lifestyle changes can I make to manage my diabetic neuropathy symptoms?
- What are the potential complications of diabetic neuropathy, and how can I prevent them?
- How often should I schedule follow-up appointments to monitor my condition?
The answers each doctor provides and the level of comfort you experience help determine if they’re a good match for you. Remember, to ensure you receive the best possible care, arrive prepared for each appointment with your concerns and ask for specific treatment solutions. Dr. Williams will take the time necessary to address all issues and, after evaluating your individual symptoms and needs, determine the proper course of treatment.
Don’t Deal With Chronic Pain Any Longer
If you’re looking for a doctor to treat diabetic neuropathy, contact Dr. Eric H. Williams today. He’s a peripheral nerve expert who specializes in pain relief and reconstructive surgery, and will thoroughly assess your condition to determine if nerve decompression or another service can provide the relief you need. Find out more by calling our Baltimore office at (410) 709-3868 or by filling out our convenient online contact form.