Back pain, while not commonly associated with diabetes, can certainly be compounded by some of the affects the condition can have on the body, including an increased instance of inflammation. Type 2 diabetes, or adult-onset diabetes, is often associated with a lack of exercise and excess weight, factors that can also affect the spine and supporting joints and muscles.
Approximately half of all people who have diabetes also have arthritis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so a connection between back pain and diabetes may not be much of a stretch. Diabetes is characterized by changes in certain hormones, namely insulin, and blood sugar levels, which can contribute to pain from arthritis.
Diabetes can affect joints, including those supporting the spine. Diabetic arthropathy is a condition where diabetes causes damage to joints. As is the case with diabetes itself, the joint damage occurs over time. Charcot’s joint, a diabetes-related condition where joints are worn down over time by nerve damage, may also contribute to back pain, according to Los Angeles spine surgery experts.
Osteoarthritis of the spine is a type of arthritis often compounded by the same factors that affect diabetes, including obesity and high blood sugar. Making an effort to lose weight, getting more exercise, and making dietary changes usually help control OA, which, in turn, may reduce back pain.
Characterized by widespread joint damage, rheumatoid arthritis may cause back pain for type 1 diabetics. RA and diabetes are both classified as autoimmune diseases, explaining the possible link between the two conditions. The pain and swelling associated with RA can be difficult to control, although certain medications may help.
It’s hard to conclusively consider back pain alone as a sign of diabetes. Realistically, most people who are diabetic will present several symptoms, such as numbness or tingling in the feet, swelling in the legs, and dry mouth, that lead to a positive diagnosis. The good news is that with proper management diabetes can often be kept under control, which is also true of back pain.
Learn more about managing or treating chronic back pain by reaching out to The Spine Institute Center in Los Angeles. Our team of professional spine specialists can review conservative treatment options as well as fusion and motion-preserving spine surgeries. Call (310) 828-7757 today and schedule an in-person consultation.