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Back And Neck Pain Linked to Diabetes? How is that?

Everyone knows that untreated diabetes causes serious health complications. Foot ulcers (resulting in amputation of the toes and in some cases, the whole foot), and retinopathy (damaged blood vessels in the back of the eye leading to blindness), are commonly associated with diabetes.

However, it is not common knowledge that uncontrolled diabetes plays a role in the development of spinal disorders and chronic back pain. Individuals with diabetes are up to 35% more likely to have lower back pain and/or neck pain than the general population.

Several studies have connected spinal degeneration to uncontrolled diabetes and its markers including:

  • Hyperglycemia (high levels of sugar in the blood)

  • Hyperinsulinemia (high levels of insulin in the blood)

  • Oxidative stress (high levels of free radicals)

For anyone with both diabetes and back/neck pain or related symptoms, a coordinated approach for managing both the diabetes and the pain may be advisable.

You can read more about Hyperglycemia , Hyperinsulinemia , Oxidative Stress in this peer reviewed article .

You can read more about free radicals and anti-oxidants here (Understanding free radicals and anti-oxidants).

You can read more about degenerative disc disease here (What Is Degenerative Disc Disease?)

Types of Back Problems Linked to Diabetes

Metabolic disorder caused by diabetes increase the risk of complications in multiple organs, such as the heart, kidneys, and eyes, as well as complications in multiple connective tissues, such as bone, cartilage, and nerves.

There is a variety of connective tissues in the spine that may be adversely impacted by diabetes.

Lumbar Disc Degeneration is characterized by back pain caused by the breakdown of one or more the spinal discs in the lower back.

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the bony openings (foramina) of the spine, which leaves less space for the exiting spinal nerves.

Vertebral osteomyelitis is usually caused by a bacterial infection which can start in the vertebral bone and spread to the spinal disc. Diabetes increases susceptibility to infection and vertebral osteomyelitis.

Spinal epidural is infection that can start in the area between the vertebral bones and the membrane of the spinal cord.

Because diabetes increases the risk of infection, it also raises the risk of epidural abscess.

A vertebral fracture, also known as a compression fracture, is a type of break in the vertebral bone—the bony building blocks of the spinal column. Diabetes alters the minerals in the bones, making the bones more fragile and increasing the risk of a fracture.

Neuropathy is a type of pain or weakness that originates in damaged nerves. Causes may include injury, trauma, infection, or related conditions such as diabetes.

You can read more about Types of Back Problems Linked to Diabetes in this peer reviewed article .

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