Non-pharmacological Approach to Diabetics

What Diabetes really is 

It is a disorder of the metabolism causing excessive thirst and the production of large amounts of urine.Diabetes Mellitus or simply diabetes, is a group of metabolic disorders characterized by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in Insulin production or it’s action or both. These effective exercise ensure both musculoskeletal and cardio-respiratory fitness.

Diabetes epidemic is increasing in size and complexity day by day, which increases the realization that physicians alone are unable to provide the care required by the people affected with diabetes. Only a multi-disciplinary team approach can prevent, control and treat diabetes and other complications caused by it. Physiotherapists can assess, diagnose, treat and manage musculoskeletal manifestations and other complications associated to diabetes.

 How Physiotherapy works in Diabetes

Lifestyle modification and Exercises 

Lifestyle modification includes intensive exercise, is more effective in case of preventing diabetes than pharmacological approach. Many diabetics are overweight and have joint or cardiovascular problems. Physiotherapists are able to help people to plan an individual and optimized exercise programe in order to maintain normal blood glucose level and to achieve optimal weight.

Neurological impairment 

Diabetic amyotrophy is a type of neuropathy that involves muscle wasting and weakening specially at the thighs. Diabetic neuropathy, Carpal tunnel syndrome and sciatica are other neurological conditions that are common in diabetic patients. Physiotherapy has a major role in management of these conditions too.

Diabetic amyotrophy

Pain management 

Most people with diabetes suffer from musculoskeletal conditions like frozen shoulder, back pain or osteoarthritis. Sometime diabetes - induced obesity also leads to knee pain, ankle pain etc. Physiotherapy offers various effective non-pharmacological approaches for pain relief. Diabetics often have pain from several conditions including nerve impairment, musculoskeletal conditions, etc which can be controlled and eliminate by sensory desensitization, T.E.N.S, I.F.T, U.S.T, Wax bath, Cryotherapy, Whirlpool bath and specialized exercise protocols. 

T.E.N.S in back pain
I.F.T in shoulder

Skin care

Diabetics are more prone to develop skin wounds like cuts, blisters, ulcers, pressure sore. Counseling of the patient on skin care, wound care, pressure point avoidance and spotting trouble signs in important. In case of existing wound, wound debridement and management for ulceration is necessary.   

Diabetic Foot and Foot care

A physiotherapist plays an important role in preventing and managing foot problems. It starts with selecting proper footwear, modification of shoe, use of crutches or splints to walking, re-training, teaching proper gait and posture along with proper off-loading for early healing. Unfortunate people who have undergone an amputation, the physiotherapist helps with post-operative pain relief, rehabilitation, limitation of disability and the optimum use of prostheses.

Diabetic shoe

Another approach towards diabetes is supporting diabetics and encouraging healthy eating habits, avoid high sugar contained foods or drinks, stop smoking and alcohol intake. Plan them an exercise program and encourage them to do it every day or alternatively.  


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