An Epidemic of Pain

According to a Veterans Affairs study, up to 60% of people with Type 2 diabetes report having chronic pain. This can be compared to rates of about 20% that have been found in the general population. This is an astonishing difference. Is diabetes really that painful? Or is something else going on? What do we know about chronic pain, and how can we reduce its crippling effects?


If there is a way to address chronic pain, we should do it. In a study published in Diabetes Care, people said pain had disrupted their daily life for an average of 18 out of the last 28 days. Self-care suffered with chronic pain. Participants with chronic pain had more trouble exercising and following their recommended meal plans.

Chronic pain in diabetes takes several forms. Neuropathy in the legs and pain in the back are the two most frequent complaints, but many other sites of pain are common. In the Diabetes Care study cited above, people with diabetes who had chronic pain tended to be younger, heavier, female, and insulin users.

Chronic vs. Acute Pain
Chronic pain is very hard to deal with, and one reason is that people confuse it with acute pain. Acute pain is what you get from an injury—a burn or catching your fingers in a car door, say. It’s your body’s natural reaction to injury. It tells you “Stop what you’re doing! Rest the part that hurts!”

Acute pain is a lifesaver. There are a few children who are born without pain sensations. They need to be watched all the time to keep from injuring or killing themselves accidentally.

Chronic pain is different. It may have started with an injury, but it doesn’t reflect any injury going on at the moment. It is felt on completely different nerve pathways and in different parts of the brain. In an article about chronic pain published in February 2008, author Christine Sullivan explains, “chronic pain is almost never merely a physical thing. We can see from brain mapping that chronic pain uses very different nerve paths from acute pain. In fact the brain maps of chronic pain look just like the brain maps of anger, or sadness, or fear.”

This doesn’t mean that chronic pain is “all in your head.” But it’s not all in your feet or all in your back, either. Chronic pain is a whole body/mind experience. It always has a physical component, and it always has an emotional component, and there may be other factors as well.

What this means is that you can’t treat chronic pain well with narcotics. Because different parts of the brain are involved, you’d have to pretty much knock yourself out before you got much pain relief from narcotics. You really need a whole body/mind approach.

Why Do People With Diabetes Have So Much Pain?
In my book Diabetes: Sugar-coated Crisis, I make the case that Type 2 diabetes, depression, and pain often come from similar causes. Simply put, that cause is not having enough power over your life. Obviously, power is not the whole cause, but it is a significant piece.

Think about it. Chronic pain is felt on the same nerve pathways that feel anger, grief, and sadness. It’s really another form of depression, which is strongly linked to Type 2 diabetes. By the way, people with Type 1 diabetes do not seem to have higher than usual levels of chronic pain.

How to Relieve Chronic Pain
I’ve been researching chronic pain and interviewing pain specialists for my work on the New Health Partnerships Web site. I’m planning a couple more blog entries about treating and managing chronic pain.

Help me out here. What have been your experiences with chronic pain? Are you dealing with it now? What have you tried, and how has it worked? Please let us know by commenting here.

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  • CalgaryDiabetic

    Dear David. I have been plagued with back pain and leg muscle pain since the last 5 years. I am a type II ? for the last 11 years. The leg and back pain may be due to a BMI of at least 30 and the BMI is quite stable and resistant to being lowered.

    I have cured the back pain completely since starting weight lifting exercises on the horizontal and inclined bench presses for the last 1 1/2 years starting with 50 lb and building to 150 lb now. No sure why this was 100% effective when situps were not. The benches are good since they provide complete back support.

    The leg pain has been more of a challenge but streatching exercises, bicycling instead of walking and keeping the muscles warm at all times ( i.e. long underware all year around) makes the situation tolerable. I am a tight muscle person so this may be the primary cause and the obesity the secondary cause.

    And of course keeping the back warm at all times is a must.

  • kittent

    I have fibromyalgia, which was undiagnosed for years. (I’m 53 and the triggering event happened when I was 17) I am diabetic as well. Most of the time I only notice pain when it (briefly) goes away. Mostly I just live with it, taking ibuprofin, cymbalta and welbutrin.

  • BigBillW


  • suzanne

    i have pain everyday in my life im diabetic but not yet on medication, my doctor just offers me pain medication, my legs get heavy and hard to walk sometimes( he says its my back ) my nerves tighten up and i cant stand long what is your opinion please help.

  • CalgaryDiabetic

    Dear David. Just another thought there is a programme called : Row you own boat that was originated by I think maybe Harvard. They teach a variety of techniques to break the positive feedback systems that cause humans so much grief.(these are also called: vicious circles). The positive is mathematical meaning that you add to a situation and usually means bad not good. Typical positive feedbacks are govt deficits, a crashing economy, and droping house prices also feeds on themselves.

    So can pain. Although having tried to become an instructor in the techniques I am still not that competant. But exercise was shown to be a way to break the vicious circle, using imaging techniques with audio tapes I personally found of some use and there was many more.

    This programme should be offered in many health jurisdictions where ther leadership is somewhat interested in prevention and self management instead of the 99% focus on cure you usually find in Canadian and American medecine.

  • hauto

    I have neurophy in both my feet . I feel that I have cronic pain in my feet all the time , I taketwo lyrica every day one in the morning and one at bedtime. I also take cymbalta once a day, I do not feel any relieve any more. My feet feel like blocks of wood that get cramps in the toes[not really]. I can’t stand anything to touch the top of my feet especially around the toes. My Dr. says there is not much anyone can do about the pain, so I ask what are we to doo about it?

  • millie

    I am concerned that the medical community does not take chronic illness seriously. Of course I am thankful that I do not have cancer or another terminal illness. All I do know is that having a benign brain tumor that affects my emotions and judgment, that having insulin dependent diabetes because of the steroids to treat the tumor inflammation, arthritis to the point that I had a hand joint removed, back surgery, and further multiple disc herniations, as well as depression, somehow does not qualify me for aggressive pain control. I exercise at curves 6 days a week and have progressed in range of motion and weight resistance. I have to take pain meds before I exercise and even though I stretch, i am so stiff I can usually do nothing else afterwards. My A1c ‘s for the past year have be 5 or 6. and that is a huge effort. It seems that just being a robot about it is the only way to go. I guess taking one day at a time is the only way to do this, but it sure is tough. Chronic illness sufferers deserve lots of compassion.

  • carolivy

    I am 44 and also have had Fibromyalgia for over 20 years. I am Pre-Diabetic. I have Chronic Pain and have had for years! I have the added bonuse of having developed allergies to all of the pain medicaions on the market now, except Tylenol and Motrin. My Fibromyalgia also triggers Atypical Migraines which do not respond well to normal migraine medication (in fact this medication makes the headaches worse!) Since my diagnosis of Pre-Diabetes, I have gone on a very strict carb controlled diet (no more than 3 carb choices per meal/1 per snack) and have increased my walking from 1/4 mile to 1 1/4 miles. Some days I still hurt so bad I can hardly move, but I just do it slowly and I seem to be getting able to do more, even though the pain is still there. I may be slow, but I am gaining control over this!

  • Karen3787

    I have chronic pain and have like most people have tried a number of things. Osteoarthritis, Degenerative Disk disease and Fibromyalgia are the major contributors to my daily pain. What has worked best for me is a combination of things. Get a good nights sleep is vital. C-Pap and a little Lunesta help. I treat night time pain with Ultram and Flexoril. This is a great combination. I walk at least 4 times a week as exercise is very benificial. Even if I can’t walk, I use some 3# weights and do bicycle type upper body exercise for aerobic fitness. I also get a massage when finances allow and see a chiropractor who also provides some physical therapy at least weekly. Also important is my state of mind. As a Christian, I have found many scriptures that support positive thinking and stress reduction. Phillipians 4 is a great stress management chapter. Another thing that helps is to focus on others. If I sit at home and dwell on pain, I will feel worse. Keeping my mind and body busy I believe have given me a great deal of relief.

    Thank you for asking

    Karen from Tennessee

  • Beth

    I have type 2 diabetes, arthritis, sleep disorders, and fibromyalgia. I have daily pain.

    Since I got a CPAP machine and had my restless legs syndrome treated, I am sleeping more deeply and for longer times. This has reduced my pain a lot. It’s still there, but at a much lower level.

    We know that fibromyalgia is often preceeded by sleep disorders. And we know that type 2 diabetes and sleep disorders often occur together. I wonder how much of the chronic pain in type 2 diabetes is due to sleeplessness?

  • whatnext

    Chronic pain hit me all of a sudden about 15 years ago after I experienced what seemed to be a sort of stomach flu. I was later diagnosed with Fibromyalgia by a rheumatologist. I have a lot of autoimmune disease throughout my family, ans I am of the opnion that that predisposes one to whatever Fibromyalgia is. In short order I discovered that the pain medication that was available to me (like Advil, Tylenol, etc.) did very little good, even at maximum dosages, and I was unwilling to experiment on myself with prescription pain medication. I did discover after an out-patient gynecological procedure that Fentanyl completely erased my pain for several days. But Fentanyl, of course, is out of the question for many reasons. So, I basically am unmedicated. My pain is always there, but I discovered that, over the years I had been inventing and using techniques myself that actually have a name: Cognitive Therapy. Basically: if you can’t do anything ABOUT the pain, what you can do is change the way you RHINK about it. In my case, I have decided NOT to think about it, as much as possible. (I realized, for example, that when you’re doing something like reading an interesting book, or walking and talking with a friend, you were not consciously feeling pain. Your mind was elsewhere.)Chronic pain will demand as much of your attention as you care to give to it. I’ve decided to give it very little. There are Coginitive Therapists who can help with this. I was able to do it on my own, but it is sometimes not an easy thing to do. Help is available, and, for those who suffer with chronic pain, changing how one THINKS of the pain may be the most healthful, positive and proactive approach one can take.

  • margaret

    I really am glad I decided to read the e-mail. I have been suffering with so much pain. Pain in weird places in my body. I would have never thought the pain would be caused by my type two diabetes. Now I wonder why type two diabetes causes such horrific pain. I’m convinced that my doctor doesn’t know about it. Taking too many pain meds can cause kidney and liver problems. I wonder if there is something else that can be used to alleviate pain.

  • Cindy

    I am 44 and have only been dealing with chronic pain for about three years. My main problem started when I fell (while holding and protecting a puppy) and I dislocated a bone in my foot and cracked a rib. The rib I figured out right off, but my foot took many months of getting worse, then going to a podiatrist, and then being put into a boot for three months. He sent me to a physical therapist who in one session figured out it was a dislocated bone, popped it back in and we started therepy on it. Though it is much better, I still suffer with it because of nerve damage from being dislocated for so long. So, I deal with my left foot constantly, even if it is up on the couch there is pain to some degree. I also have lower back and hip problems due to that silly boot. When I sleep, there is no comfortable position due to one or more body parts in pain. As most of the other blogs I’ve read here, I “just deal with it”. I try to take Advil or Tylenol twice a day (1000mg each time). I’ve tried Aleve, but that raises my blood sugar. Two months ago I had a cortizone shot in my foot (AHH what pain that was!!!) and it only seemed to help for a couple of weeks. I’m not sure it would be worth doing again. Walking is painful, standing is painful, exercising is very painful. Any suggestions?

  • Ephrenia

    I was diagnosed with Osteoarthritis at the age of 8. (How an 8 year old can have overuse of joints enough to cause an “old person’s” disease I don’t know). At the same time, we determined I have a tilted pelvis, making one lef seem shorter than the other. This causes difficulty walking and standing. I’ve had chronic pain all my life, but its gotten MUCH worse in recent years.

    As a teenager, I added Depression. As an adult, I’ve added allergies, asthma, T2 diabetes, tachycardia, neuropathy, carpal tunnel, ulnar restriction (like carpal tunnel, but in the elbow region and affecting the other half of the hand), some major “charleyhorses” in legs, ribcage, back and abdomen, and migraines.

    What do I do? As little as possible. I live with it. I take hot baths when feasible. I stretch when possible. I take Cymbalta, Celebrex and Gabapentin daily. I take traditional pain meds when I absolutely HAVE to. (OTC meds do nothing for pain)

  • marli


  • Jeanne

    I am 61, was diagnosed type 2 13 years ago, A1C has always been below 7. I started going to the Dr and chiropractor for numbness and pain in my left foot before I was diagnosed a diabetic, but because of that, the Dr then decided I had diabetic neuropathy. My PN has progressed so rapidly that both of my feet are totally numb on the surface and up the outside of my legs to my calves. I have intense skin sensitivity and pain from my toes to just below my knees on both legs, but my left leg is always ‘ahead’ of the other one in it’s progression. In the last 3 years my fingers started getting numb, and then this year the back of my fingers and hands are sensitive to touch and painful. I take 3600 mg neurontin every day to control the stabbing and shocking pain. I haven’t found anything except a morphine patch that relieved the burning pain that I live with 24 hours a day, and worse at night. I can’t wear shoes, socks, or have pants touch my skin below my knees. I can’t sleep with a sheet touching my feet and legs. I used to sleep with my feet hanging off the end of the bed until that hurt my ankles, now I have made a very soft pillow that cushions my legs.
    My problem is that I don’t have insurance, and I am waiting for a disability hearing, so I go to a clinic for medical care. Dr’s rotate, and they change my medications. There was only one Dr in Reno who was willing to give me morphine because it worked for me. Now I live in OR and I am on and off narcotics so indiscriminately, that I have decided not to use narcotics at all anymore, and that is why this article caught my attention. It is the PITTS to be messed with all the time. I deserve to have someone care about my quality of life.
    I keep my mind busy with genealogy during the day, I play sudoku and crosswords at night until I can fall asleep. I agree with others that you have to learn to distract your mind. So sleep is the hardest thing for me. Some sleep aids help, once I can get to sleep, it’s just getting past the pain so that I can fall asleep. I know how to relax and block the signals, but they break through, and my stomach gets sick.
    I also use Arnica gel as a topical ointment, and sometimes if my feet aren’t real irritated already a Lidoderm patch will sooth the tops of my feet.
    Sorry this was so long. I hope some of it was useful to someone else.

  • 2 bells

    I have had chronic pain most of my life. I have a condition that means I have extremely elastic ligaments. I am very flexible because of it. This also means that most of my joints have had many episodes of slipping out of place, creating damage each time. I also have a hereditary hemolytic blood disease that also creates weird pains. I have been a diabetic since the mid 90’s. I was started on to insulin right away. I have lost 70 pounds and I am now just on oral medicines. I was in a high speed head on car accident back in 1989 and thought that I was fortunate by being able to walk away from it. I did not know it then but I had damaged my neck, lower back, and both hands. In 2002 I had to give up working. The next summer I spent on my back with bursitis, back spasms and sciatica. I could not walk or stand for even 5 minutes! Since then I have had steroid injections in my lower back and my neck. I have also had nerves burned by radio frequency. Exercise does help as long as I do not over do it. At the beginning I had to take Flexril an hour prior to exercising (stretches and walking in the house)and Hydrocodone afterwards. I can now walk a mile fairly readily most days but I still am on the pain killers of Celebex, Neurontin, Flexeril and the Hydrocodone daily. I also take Wellbutrin for depression.
    I am still losing weight- I have about 30 to go- and I am grateful to be able to be mobile even with pain. It is better than not being able to walk at all.

  • jacksmak

    i have pain in both shoulders that i thought may be due to overdoing it weightlifting about a yesr ago.
    it hurts when i extend my arms or reach for something quickly. the pain extends to my arms and maybe even hands at times. the worst pain feels like i’m being shocked.
    i also believe i’ve heard a snapping sound in the shoulder area a few times.
    got a cortizone shot.didn’t help.
    x-rays are expensive and i don’t have health care.
    i’m screwed!
    diabetic for over ten years. will turn 50 next month.

  • alwaysfoggy

    I am a 54 year old woman with diabetes.
    I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in Oct. 2003. I also have fibromyalgia and probably have had since I was in a bad car wreck in 1971. I have had lower back pain since I was 19 with no identifiable cause. My weight has been heavy, then normal, heavy then normal most of my life. I also have in the past year been diagnosed with MS.

    Currently I am heavy due to the amout of medication I am on and can not get the weight off.
    When I was diagnosed with MS I was told that most people that have it, have more than one auto- immune disorder besides the one.

    Is there any research currently being done to study how the two are linked? These illnesses for me have cost me my job, almost my marriage and my self esteem. I am currently on Social Security Disability because I can’t hold even a part time job due to the pain. My mind is also very , very foggy all of the time. The doctors have put me on 10MG Aricept which has helped.

  • rose

    Hi, Whenever I sit for a while or in the morning after ive been sleeping I can barley stand on my feet. But after about 10 minutes or so the pain and weakness disapate. The longer i move around the better i am. Ive been tested and cleared for arthriis any suggestions.

  • Bob

    As a person dealing with constant pain I am most interested in your findings. I have Type 2 diabetes and it helps to know that it is a factor–I mean who knew what I eat contributes to my pain?? My spine formed abnormally and failed after about 60 years of use. Subsequent surgeries were helpful and with a pain management program including exercise, psycological counselling and body awareness I became pain free until a golf swing somehow aggravated the situation. Since that time I have been in the chronic pain mode and currently use methadone. I sense that it is no longer working as it once did even so it is very affordable–so far.

    Thank you for your work. At over 75 years of age I have found that it is very important to keep moving and exercising–mentally as well as physically. I find that coping is a constant battle which leads to frustration and subliminal and recognized emotional issues since energy levels are problematical given the blood glucose battle as well. It therefore is ever more important that the doctors treat the whole person simply becase we are whole people rather than fragments of humanity, or of ananatomy. Therefore I believe that one should choose a doctor that can speak to and administer to a whole person to have any success in the battle. Further, I tend to believe that a pain management organization encompassing all the related issues is essential to success. Someday we will have a societal and medical society acceptance of emotional issues as real problems to be treated with more than “good luck, take another pill.”

  • estherlyn

    im diabetic for 4 years and this year started my finger to numb and tickling,,,im worried so much becouse when i wwake up in the morning i feel so tight my fingers,,, and i feel using glucovance500,,pritor plus40,,,,pls help me to handle my type 2 diabeties

  • David Spero RN

    Hi Estherlyn,
    Thanks for writing. Your hand symptoms sound like neuropathy – high sugars and inflammation are irritating the nerves. It would be great to get your sugars down, and I think you might want an anti-inflammatory medicine like ibuprofen or aspirin.
    As far as controlling sugars, or “handling your type 2 diabetes,” I believe physical activity is the most important thing. If you look through all the comments to this blog, you’ll see a lot of people have improved with exercise.
    Good luck and let us know how it goes.

  • gwen wykle

    i have very bad pain in my feet. they look red on the bottom. nothing i do helps them except to take 3 wall mart tylenol. this helps me sleep and forget the pain for a while.i dont have to do anything to make them hurt. ijust wish it would stop. sincerely gwen wykle

  • John Coleman

    Started to leave a comment but realized nobody really cares about all of us with chronic pain anyway.

    We (in the U.S.) live with a (police state) government that is more interested in justifying their (DEA) jobs than responding to human citizens with chronic pain problems.

    If we try to talk about our pain, we are dismissed as “complainers” that are just seeking “drugs”. They destroy our credibility and then simply paint over their responsibility by calling us names. We are tired of the responsible parties shifting the blame for their inaction to the patient, or attempting to prosecute the few doctors who really try to treat us.

    I suffer incredible leg & foot pain 24/7. I don’t medicate because of fear of addiction. I also hope those “police-state” supporters get to feel this type of “imaginary” pain the rest of their miserable lives. Hope they get the wonderful, considerate treatment (sarcasm) they are making sure we get also – none.

    Good luck to all my fellow sufferers, you will need it with our American attitude towards us.

    • Mike

      I could not have said that any better. The next doctor that that responds to me in the “condescending” manner that most do, I think I’ll give them a little pain of their own!!

  • patti

    all I do is take advil or tylonal lay down and
    rest and hope I feel better I get neuropathy
    so bad especially at night. loose alot of sleep
    plus recovering from shoulder surgery, doesnt

  • Jason H.

    For nearly 20 years I have suffered with type 2 diabetes and chronic back and leg pain. Severe depression, suicidal thoughts all the time, narcotics, pain clinics, epidurals, facet injections, therapy, traction, lumbar laminectomy at L4 and L5, radio frequency ablasion, mental therapy. Nothing has worked, my pain is always with me. i’m out of options and out of patients

  • David Spero RN

    Hey Jason,

    Have you tried seizure medicines like neurontin, or anti-depressants? It sounds like you may have, but you didn’t mention them on your list. Consider those, as well as the suggestions that other readers posted in the comments section.

    David Spero RN

  • Stan Shaffer

    Hi David,
    I’m so beside myself with unbearable pain through-out the day. I believe that it is akin to a death sentence. As a type-1 diabetic for over 40 years, I suffer from an advanced case of neuropathy, vascular disease, compressed vertebrae, and debilitating arthritis. For you to say that narcotics isn’t the answer is unrealistic, unfair and demeaning. Unfortunately, most doctors are like you, and that’s a crying shame, how dare you! Several years ago i was under the care of a wonderful doctor that was willing to try anything to make life tolerable. Much to my chagrin, the federalies yanked her license. A day doesn’t go by that I wonder how much more of this I can take.

  • Dorathy

    I have type 2 and when I am sleeping at night my knees ache so very bad, feels like someone is taking a baseball bat and hitting them… I have to get up in the middle of the night either take a bath, or walk and it just subsides the pain, my nights of sleeping are interrupted every night.

  • Eric

    Hello I have type 2 diabetes and for the past two weeks, have this lower left side back pain. I keep telling myself that it is a muscle in my back. It’s right above my left buttocks shooting a pain down my leg making it hard for me to get up. But once I’m up and walking it subsides then I dread to sit down because once I do the pain shoot down my leg making it hard to get back up again. I hope this has nothing to do with my kidney. What do I do? I wonder if smoking contribute to this too smh.

  • David Spero RN

    Hi Eric,

    I can’t diagnose your pain, but it certainly doesn’t sound like your kidney. That wouldn’t be affected by position. It sounds like nerve pain, such as sciatica. But to be sure, you would have to see a doctor, if it doesn’t go away by itself.

  • ………scott

    I’ve got type 2. My legs are in horrific pain. I’ve tried vicotin, topamax, percoset. Nothing much helps. I can’t think straight anymore. I’m depressed. I’d like to kill myself….but can’t find the courage. Suicide scars those that are left behind. Someone help me.

    • Shannon

      I too suffer from type 2 with chronic pain syndrome also bipolar. I had been prescribed gGabapentin for nerve damage as my knock and back were previously fractured.
      I never really took the Gabapetin until recently I told all Drs I wanted the cleanest form of medications and that’s it!!!!
      GGabapentin was prescribed by my mental health dr. Wooooow… A lot of my pain is easier to deal with and it also is used as a mood stabilizer. Thank God!!!! It’s working!!!!

  • David Spero RN

    Hi Scott,

    There are many other drugs you can try. See my article on them here There are also nondrug approaches you might consider. Read this article.

    The very best thing you could do is join a chronic pain group. They will have lots of ideas and give you support. And be aware that even the worst neuropathy pain usually improves over time, though it might be replaced by numbness.

  • Dug

    Hi,,,I am type 1 Diabetic and only in my 3rd year,,,I was undiagnosed for 12 months or so,,,and was so ill that i nearly died,,,,,,,I was 49 at the time i was diagnosed,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I have had chronic pain in my legs and feet for 2 years and sometimes i cant walk for the pain,,,,As for drugs i have been on Tramadol for 2 months but its not that good for the pain,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  • Frank

    I am writing because despite extensive and long experience as a type 1, I am losing ground medically and with respect to getting positive returns from being alive. I am looking for responses that might suggest things I could do to get more reliable control; I should mention that I’ve had type 1 for over forty years, I am 64, and that I was a experimental group participant in the DCCTstudy (1400 type 1 subjects), and that I still participate in the EDIC study, sequel to the DCCT study.
    So I’ve had a lot of experience and expert advice and treatment. I understand the basic disease, and the current best versions of therapy. I’m far from a perfect patient, but I monitor my eating, roughing the carbs and using a sliding scale. I exercise daily, walking a couple of miles, and I lead a fairly active life. I play guitar, compose music, write poetry and fiction. I’ve had skilled endocrinologists treat me for over thirty years. After a syncope in 2011, and some hard to understand b.g. events, I saw a bunch of specialists including gastroenterologists, neurologists, cardiologists, and even psychiatrists. All were dedicated and capable, but in general I got no useful diagnostic or treatment suggestions. (The cardiologist was amazingly comprehensive in her knowledge, and did lead me to recognize an excess of blood pressure medication, which may have caused the syncope).
    I currently use a CPAP, a CGM, and I finger stick 2 – 6 times a day. I have modified the sliding scale for my novolog boluses, and have tried a number of ways to line up my Lantus with my results. None of it has established any consistent and reliable response from my body. I occasionally am thrilled to appear to have a reasonable day or days, a dozen or twenty-four hours of b.g.’s between 70 and 200, but it never lasts, and the reasons my “good runs” end are never clear. Patterns just simply do not emerge. I have noticed a couple of things: once I’ve gone high or very low, a dramatic up and down cycle usually in initiated. The insulin seems unable to bring highs down, and carbs have difficulty raising b.g. My A1c has remained around 7 – never higher than 7.3 -for over thirty years. However, as I have aged, I have noticed a much reduced ability to get through events, especially hypos. I have had several seizures, and I have been unconscious several times. I believe that only my wife’s quick response with glucagon saved me. I do like to eat, but I weigh the same that I did thirty years ago; I’m not fat. I have a hard time during leisure when I read or watch movies keeping away from food. I’m grateful to everyone in the wake of Banting and Best, and I’m regularly given needed warnings by my honking G4 CGM. But I retired ( a little early, due to medical reasons), and I had hoped to enjoy my retirement more fully – jam sessions, performances, small-scale adventures. Currently, a lot of that is not possible because of my diabetes. I should mention that I’m not thrilled by having to devote even more time to the disease; the more time it takes from me, the more it wins. But I will do, within reason, anything that will restore me. I thank you for your time and interest, and if anyone out there has had similar battles with brittle diabetes (the term is very real to me, now) I’d appreciate your insights.

  • Seti

    It would be nice to believe you were actually trying to help us poor diabetic bastards. But you’re not, there’s not one living soul out there who is. Like the rest,you’re trying find a new angle to profit from our misery.

    Here’s a unique idea – How about working on a g’damn cure?

    But it’s our ” pain ” you want to know about. You come to the right place. Allow me to indulge you, kind Sir…

    Before diabetes systematically destroyed my life, I was very active physically. Sports of all types. Some extreme sports such as motocross, free style mountain climbing, etc. With these activities come the risk of injury and a great deal of pain. As horrific as some of the pain I endured as a result of that lifestyle was, it left me poorly prepared for what diabetes can dish out.

    In the summer of 2006 I was brought out of a diabetic seizure by EMT’s who had been summoned to my house ( bed actually ) by my wife ( ex-wife ). She became aware there was an issue when she heard ” night terror screaming ” from the bedroom. I was brought back to consciousness long enough for that insane level of pain to hit me, then I passed back out ( mercifully ).

    What had been my level 10 pain experience on the 1 – 10 pain scale, remember I’ve had large bones sticking out of my body at odd angles, was now reduced to about a 3 on my personal pain experience.

    Best why to describe it – The Torture Rack

    Where every muscle, tendon, and nerve is stretched to its absolute limit, then and held there before the cu de gra

    Took nearly a week before I would wipe my own butt and even attempt to walk again. Oh the joys…

  • Dale Carter

    I have been disable for the last 3 weeks with extreme pain in my right thigh my muscle is very tense. Am I going to loose my leg is there something I can do to cure the problem. The hospital just tells me to take motrin for pain

  • Robert

    My wife has just found out she has type 1 diebitez. She has so much pain in her back come someone tell me what she could do to relieve the pain she can’t sleep much .

  • David Spero RN

    Robert, perhaps she can see a pain specialist or try some of the ideas in this article Managing Chronic Pain
    Audi, I”m not sure if your pain is from your diabetes or not. If you’re still “prediabetic,” it might be something else. You might benefit from reading this article also.

  • Shannon

    I’ve had type 2 diabetes for 5 yrs. just started Novolog and have been on Lantus for a long time. Since starting Novolog I have been unable to go to gym. Seems arms, shoulders, kneck and excruciating headaches have decided to become an intricate part of my life now.
    I find Gabapentin is the only way I can get any relief.
    I need help!!!!!

  • Will Carmichael

    lantus is known for feet pain, so i switched off of it. i am still trying to find an an insulin i don’t react to. i tried the new Tuojeo…which is a variant of Lantus (three times the concentration) and lost bladder control totally. had to go off that. when i go off of insulins, i feel great, but my BS’s climb. Victoza gave me pancreatitis. my endocrinologist thinks these issues are not related to the insulin but when i try going back on the insulins, same results. i am fine for first three weeks, then by week four i am crippled with pain. not sure how to get through to the endocrinologist…i have tried two now and they seem to be reading from the same playbook..and not listening to me or my other doctors who referred me. anyone know of allergic response to insulins??

  • Dawn

    Dear author, everything you said is questionable! Why is it then that narcotics help my pain? Why did I get neuropathy (all forms including autonomic) prior to getting diabetes and the pain was unfathomable! Gee, seems to me it had nothing to do with losing control or my diagnosis being that my diagnosis of TYPE 1 would not come for another 6 years at age 42! Do you see how I just blew all your theories out of the water?

  • Joe McDaniels

    Sir, I experience chronic SEVERE pain every day of my life after having Type I Diabetes for nearly forty years and developing severe peripheral as well as autonomic neuropathy. Not only can I no longer grasp small items, nor take a single step that does not feel like I’m walking on broken glass, but I frequently go days without eating because I cannot stop purging my stomach. Speaking for many other Type I’s with neural diseases, how DARE you tell that we do not experience increased pain levels! Speak of what you know, Sir, not what some scientist found with far too small a sample to do anything but speculate. You really have no right making such a statement without several other respectable and larger studies to verify it, which they could not. Same on you.