Nerves are long and delicate with the potential for interruption at many points, one reason perhaps why neuropathic pain and numbness have often been regarded as difficult to treat. Pharmaceutical management may increase comfort but fail to regenerate nerve and restore function or address underlying circulatory problems which may cause or contribute to many neuropathies. Energy-based treatments, including lasers, light emitting diodes and bio-electromagnetic therapy have been documented to regenerate nerves and restore the microcirculation supporting them and even to reverse atherosclerosis in the larger blood vessels, improving function, normalizing sensation and alleviating pain.
Problems associated with microcirculation, common in diabetics, are a frequent cause or contributor to neuropathy and neuropathic pain. Neuropathies are often classified as “diabetic” or “idiopathic” meaning without known cause. Yet in either case, improvement in control of blood sugars and circulation of blood and qi may significantly help recovery of nerve function and increase overall health and wellbeing. Laser therapy, in particular, has been documented to improve blood sugars in diabetics, even when being given to address completely unrelated issues. See Laser Therapy in Diabetes.
All of the above methods – as well as electrotherapy and acupuncture – may help in neuropathies to increase circulation, restore and regenerate nerves and blood vessels and to normalize sensation and function. While there are no panaceas, magic bullets, and none of these therapies may work 100% of the time, when one does not get the job done, another one may. We believe that the treatment of neuropathy will become cost-effective – and far kinder – once energy-based therapies are adopted as first line strategies in health care.
The earlier neuropathy is recognized and addressed, the better results are likely to be. Numbness or nerve pain often first observed in the ball of the foot and/or toes may respond rapidly to energy-based treatments. In contrast, long-standing neuropathy extending above the knee may require much more time and treatment, if it does respond. Our experience suggests that early intervention may reverse most, if not all, neuropathies and prevent them from becoming chronic or progressive.
Following are some case studies and links to science supporting the treatment of neuropathy and nerve pain with energy-based therapies.
Neuropathy, Joint Pain
“Tom D” was a 56 year old male with poorly managed diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol whose chief complaint was “burning feet” in the balls of both feet x 4 months. He was treated for burning pain in the balls of both feet and also pain in the neck, low back and left elbow with laser therapy, and all pain scores declined progressively. He was discharged after his 8th visit and has reported normal sensation without any foot pain two years later.
Numb / Tingling Limbs
- GE was a 76 year old female whose chief complaints were legs and feet which were numb, cold and mottled purple from the knee down as well as right thumb pain.
- She was seen for 8 visits and treated with acupuncture, laser and bio-electromagnetic therapies.
- Her feet and legs became progressively warm and pinker, and sensation normalized. Thumb pain was mostly alleviated.
Neuropathy / Back Pain / Sciatica
“Dale J.” was a 77 year old male whose chief complaint was severe, right sided back and hip pain with sciatica radiating to the ankle. He was also experiencing progressive numbness in both legs beginning at the knee, worse on the right side. He noted that he could not feel the accelerator pedal while driving because his right foot was completely numb. Legs and feet were cold to touch.
As it was his primary complaint, he was treated first for his back pain with acupuncture, laser and bioelectromagnetic therapies. By the 8th visit, back, hip pain and sciatica had resolved, and we began to treat legs and feet. “I can feel my toes,” he said immediately following the first treatment to his legs and feet. After the next visit, he reported, ”I feel my toes, and my legs are warmer.” And they were. “I feel everything now. I feel better than I did when I was 70,” he reported after the 12th session.
Though most may consider it a condition which only affects peripheral sensory nerves, neuropathy actually affects all organs and systems. There are a number of syndromes based on the specific organs and tissues affected, but these are by no means exclusive, and neuropathy occurs in motor and as well as sensory nerves.
Good blood sugar control has significant health benefits, not the least of which is to protect and preserve nerves. Anyone with diabetes should understand how important good control of blood sugars is to his health and wellbeing and how to achieve it. To learn strategies to improve blood sugar control, click on A Natural Approach to Regulating Blood Sugar.
Copyright 2011 by David Rindge. All rights reserved.