Gluten Free Does Not Help Neuropathic Pain!

by O'Hara
(Great Falls)

I went gluten free after reading a book called "Wheat Belly" and it has made a big difference in my health but it has not helped my pain. My blood sugar is better, my blood pressure is down, and I have lost 40 lbs. But my pain in my hands and feet is still horrible and I need to take pain medicine. My neurologist says I have diabetic neuropathy that will never go away. Do you think my pain will ever get better if I stay gluten free?

Hi O'Hara,
I am sorry to hear that your pain did not improve with your gluten free diet. It does sound like you are seeing some other significant changes that will eventually have a big impact on how you feel. Unfortunately, it may never have very much effect on your neuropathy pain.

Avoiding gluten eliminates many pro-inflammatory foods from your diet. It seems that this can help people with pain that is caused by inflammation, such as arthritis or fibromyalgia. But, neuropathic pain does not involve any significant inflammation so you would not expect your new diet to have much impact on your diabetic neuropathy.


After saying all of that, nobody has a crystal ball and no one can see into the future. It is very difficult to predict what impact healthy lifestyle changes may have on your body. The human body is a miracle of nature with many different ways of healing and repairing itself. If you maintain a healthy weight, control your blood sugar and blood pressure, and make other improvements in your lifestyle the nerves in your feet and hands that are causing your pain may begin to heal themselves.

I do understand that in the meantime you need to find ways to live with your pain. You did mention pain medication but not what medication you are using. Neuropathic pain medications such as Gabapentin or Pregabalin can sometimes be helpful and are definitely worth a trial if you have not tried those.

Narcotics may help slightly but...

Narcotic pain medications may help slightly with neuropathic pain, but they are really not the right type of medicine and don't do very much without going to higher doses. Higher doses of narcotic medications always increase your risk of adverse side effects.

Topical treatments for neuropathic pain include capsaicin cream and lidocaine ointment. Capsaicin cream may cause a stinging or burning sensation but it is generally mild and does block the pain. A stronger more concentrated form is available. This is distributed in the form of patches that are applied to the painful area. These treatments are very strong and they are applied in your doctor's office by your doctor or a specially trained nurse.

Well O'Hara, that is all I can think of for now. Be strong and keep up your good work with the gluten free diet. If you haven't tried those treatments I mentioned discuss them with your neurologist and they might help you.

Keep in touch and let us know how you are doing.
Good luck and God Bless

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