Peripheral neuropathy is a frustrating, life-impairing condition. Many have been told they just have to medicate and live with it. Fortunately, with recent advances in treatment technologies to rehabilitate damaged nerves, relief and healing is available for many neuropathy sufferers!
If you suffer with peripheral neuropathy, your day-to-day experience probably includes numbness, tingling, burning, coldness, or the sensation that your “socks are rolled up under your feet”. Because of those symptoms, you may have problems standing, walking, or sleeping, let alone engaging in normal activities like hiking or golfing.
Signs of Peripheral Neuropathy
- Pain – sharp or dull
- Difficulty walking
- Burning or freezing sensations
- Prickling or tingling sensations
- Shooting/electric sensations
- Impaired balance
These symptoms have one thing in common: They rob neuropathy sufferers of their quality of life.
What makes it worse is that you may have been told there’s no way to find relief outside of taking drugs to just mask the pain. I want you to know that’s not always the case: and masking the pain with drugs does NOT prevent the progression of nerve damage.
In this report, I will cover several aspects of neuropathy, including:
- The symptoms and causes of peripheral neuropathy
- Common medical treatment for this complicated condition
- And of course, the comprehensive treatments we use to rehabilitate our patients’ damaged nerves and help them regain their quality of life.
If you or someone you know is suffering from neuropathy, I hope you find this report helpful to better understand the condition, and your treatment options.
What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Neuropathy simply means that the nerves are not working properly, they’re actually damaged. The National Institutes of Health estimates 20 million people in the United States have some form of peripheral neuropathy. More than 100 types have been identified, each with its own symptoms and prognosis, but there are some tell-tale signs that nerve damage has occurred. The actual symptoms can generally be grouped into two basic classifications: Negative and Positive Symptoms.
Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy
Some patients describe what are classified as “negative” symptoms. These include early signs associated with nerve damage, such as decreased sensitivity, numbness, weakness, or feeling like their feet or hands are dead or asleep.
Other patients experience what, strangely enough, are categorized as “positive” symptoms. Positive symptoms are present only after the nerves have been sick and damaged for some time. They include sensations like shooting, stabbing or aching pain, burning, tingling, itching, twitching, electrical sensations, pressure or squeezing, throbbing, freezing, or feeling like their socks are balled up underneath their toes. Some patients suffer from both “negative” and “positive” symptoms simultaneously, which is just as unbearable as it sounds!
Some will experience signs indicating impairment of their autonomic nervous system, such as discoloration and temperature changes in their feet or hands. They may have a red, swollen appearance, and feel hot to touch. Others take on a cyanotic blue or purple hue, and are cold due to lack of circulation.
Each patient will experience a different combination of these symptoms. As the condition progresses, symptoms become more severe and have a growing impact on the patient’s quality of life, and on that of his or her family. Standing and walking can become limited and laborious. Balance can become impaired. If the condition is allowed to progress, reduced sensation can become dangerous because of increased risk for falls and resultant injuries. Independent mobility may be threatened.
Some neuropathy sufferers are forced to rely on walking aids, progressing from a cane to a walker, eventually ending up in a wheelchair. Ultimately, loss of independence and reliance on 24/7 aide care or in a nursing home becomes the reality of many. It’s important to begin treating neuropathy as soon as possible to assure nerve damage does not progress to the point that rehabilitation is no longer possible.
Thankfully, due to advances in neuroscience and technological breakthroughs, many neuropathy sufferers can now slow or stop the progression of their condition, and experience relief of pain and restoration of sensation, balance, strength, and mobility.
Now we’re able to help many neuropathy patients regain their lost quality of life.
Types and Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy
In general, peripheral neuropathies are classified by their location and the type of nerves involved.
- Mononeuropathy: affecting a single nerve
- Mononeuritis multiplex: affecting multiple nerves asymmetrically
- Polyneuropathy: affecting multiple nerves symmetrically
- Distal Symmetric Polyneuropathy: affecting multiple nerves symmetrically, starting in the feet and hands
The most common cause of distal symmetric polyneuropathy in western countries is Type 2 Diabetes. Many patients come to us suffering from classic Diabetic Nerve Pain. Some neuropathy is considered “idiopathic,” meaning the cause is unknown. This can be extremely frustrating for patients and doctors alike. Other causes of Peripheral Neuropathy include:
- Systemic disease
- Vitamin/mineral deficiency or overdose
- Viruses & infections
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Prescription drug side effects
- Physical/Mechanical compression, i.e. sciatica due to disc herniation
Standard Treatment for Neuropathy
Most neuropathy sufferers come to us because they haven’t been helped with standard medical treatment. Many have been told “there is nothing that can be done to fix your condition, and you must learn to live with it.” Some have been given prescriptions for medications that lead to worse side effects than the neuropathy.
Medications frequently prescribed for neuropathy include:
- Anti-Seizure Drugs
- Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
These medications come with a laundry list of potential side effects, including: physical weakness, clumsiness or unsteadiness, difficulty speaking, blurred vision, dry mouth, constipation, impaired cognitive abilities, and addiction. Potential serious side effects include life-threatening allergic reaction, changes in mood or anxiety, and thoughts of suicide.
This is Critical…
Critical to understanding this condition is realizing that there is No drug that can restore lost sensation or improve impaired balance due to peripheral neuropathy. Taking medication is NOT going to rehabilitate your nerves as numbness and tingling progressively worsens, position-sense and stability deteriorate, with the inevitable consequence of increased risk of a fall. It’s no wonder neuropathy is so frustrating for patients and physicians.
The medication treatment approach is flawed...
And it’s the same reason patients who qualify for our non-surgical, FDA-cleared, drug-free treatments are so thankful they found us – it’s because they’re effective! Why is this?
Give the Nerve what it needs – Fuel, Oxygen, Activation – It can Rebuild
At Beth EL Wellness & Chiropractic, we use a combination of treatments to do just that… Give your nerves what they need so they can rebuild.
Treatment is specifically designed to reestablish nerve communication and nutrient pathways, bringing the necessary building blocks for repair. Growth of new blood vessels (angiogenesis), improved oxygenation, nutrition, and appropriate activation all contribute to rehabilitation of neuro communication patterns, and to healing your damaged nerves!
Best of all, for patients that qualify, it’s highly effective.
My name is Dr. JAMES SAELI. I have been a Chiropractic and wellness doctor since 1992, helping patients find relief and healing from chronic pain and nerve related conditions, without drugs or surgery.
Who is a Candidate for Neuropathy Treatment?
The process we use to determine if a patient is a candidate for our treatment is simple. The first step is to schedule a consultation. We provide consultations free of charge. You will have a conversation with the Doctor (NOT an assistant) to discuss details about the condition you are in. He will screen for signs of medical conditions that would rule out treatment. If medical management is necessary, we want to quickly get you to the correct provider.
Next, if warranted, we’ll move on to a series of tests to determine the extent of your nerve damage. The results of these tests will tell us if you are a candidate for treatment. Even with our comprehensive treatment approach, if the neuropathy has progressed too far, this treatment may no longer be an option. The test results are assessed to determine how much improvement the patient is likely to receive.
Each patient’s condition is unique to them, as is their treatment. The underlying cause, extent of nerve damage, and overall health all contribute to how well and how quickly someone will respond to our treatment. Providing realistic expectations is a top priority.
Next, patients who are candidates for care are presented with a treatment plan that outlines the type of rehabilitation methods that are recommended to treat their neuropathy. They learn about the time requirements in the clinic and at home, as well as the cost involved.
How Long Does It Take and How Much Does It Cost?
Treatment time and frequency
The comprehensive treatments used in our clinic typically take from 45 to 60 minutes. The frequency of treatment sessions most often starts at two to three times per week, then as the patient improves, sessions are tapered off. Again, this is variable, as the treatment for each patient is customized to their individual needs. And alternative treatment options exist for those who live or work far from our office.
Home care-effort and energy
Participation in the treatment process is a necessity for long-term success dealing with peripheral neuropathy. In the initial stage of treatment, it is optimal for patients to perform their home care procedures two times per day. Each session typically takes between 20 to 30 minutes to complete.
Treatment cost and insurance
Although the treatment procedures we use (like optimized signal neuro stim and MIRE Therapy) are FDA cleared, most insurance companies do not cover them.
Insurance is helpful for drugs, surgery, and emergency medicine. Most of our patients come to us to rehabilitate their nerves (not just mask their symptoms) and are willing to incur personal expense to get effective treatment. I know that doesn’t answer the question, “How much does it cost?”. To give you meaningful answers regarding the cost of treatment, we need to know the nature of your condition, and how much treatment it will require. That is why we provide your initial consultation free of charge. The neurologic exam fee is nominal. We want to determine whether we can help you, and if so, let you know how much treatment you will likely need. That’s the way we run our practice - we want to answer as many of your questions as possible up front.
The Real Cost
May I shoot straight? The real cost is living a limited life because you can’t (or won’t) do things you love because of neuropathy… and allowing the nerve disease to progress to a point of no return. THIS is how much it really costs.
We do everything possible to change that, so it is truly an investment to see if you can get the help you’ve been looking for.
An Explanation of Our Comprehensive Therapies
Neuropathy rehabilitation plans are customized to each patient’s treatment needs. Not all of our therapies are appropriate or necessary for every patient. Treatment may include:
- Infrared (MIRE) therapy
- Optimized signal neuro (repair) stimulation
- Concentrated Oxygen therapy
- Vibration Therapy
- Therapeutic Nutrients (specific to healing neuropathy)
- Lifestyle Recommendations (like sleep, diet, exercise, stress management)
- Manual Therapy: extremity joint mobilization/adjustment
- Non-surgical Spinal Adjustment
- Balance Therapy
“Fuel and activation” is the mantra in functional neurology. Nerves need food, oxygen, and activation to be healthy. Our comprehensive treatments are designed to feed and stimulate the nerves. Studies have shown that infrared light is beneficial for increasing circulation and improving nerve function. Infrared light therapy directly increases circulation to the nerves and other local tissues. This reduces inflammation, and increases delivery of nutrients, glucose, and oxygen. Typically, an infrared “boot” is used for the foot, and pads cover the side of the leg. Hands and arms can be treated in a similar fashion.
Optimized Signal Neurostim
This is NOT a TENS unit, nor the electric muscle stimulation typically used in the professional or home setting. Using a specific, optimized waveform, our neurostim repolarizes and reeducates damaged nerves to follow correct paths. It enables nerve impulses to jump synaptic junctions, reconnecting injured nerves and delivering minerals and nutrients that help to revitalize nerves. These treatments promote new nerve growth and also restores blood circulation. Feeling to the extremities returns and a notable reduction of neuropathic pain occurs (or it completely disappears). Often neurostim reverses neuropathy and chronic pain symptoms and restores nerves to their normal state allowing them to fully function on their own.
Region specific vibration therapy may be used in our treatment of neuropathy. Vibration therapy has been used for the treatment of pain, rehabilitation, and to enhance athletic performance. Studies have demonstrated benefits such as:
Increased muscle strength and endurance. Muscle fibers can be activated up to 20-50 times per second.
Increased blood and lymph circulation. Rapid contraction of the muscles produces a pumping action that increases circulation. This enhances the removal of cellular waste products, and improves the delivery of nutrients and fuel.
Increased activity of nerves. Vibrations activate receptors in the skin, which improves neuron function and viability.
Increased bone mineral density. Vibration has also been shown to increase the activity of osteoblast cells that make new bone, and to decrease the activity of osteoclast cells that reabsorb bone.
Specific supplements have been found beneficial for nerve repair. Most neuropathy sufferers can benefit from some general supplement recommendations: however, targeted supplementation based on the cause of neuropathy and specifics of the individual patient’s tests can be much more beneficial. Supplements we recommend are used to help heal damaged nerves by:
- Providing antioxidants to protect cells from free radical damage
- Increase Oxygenation to the healing tissues
- Promote nerve and blood vessel repair
- Reduce inflammation
- Stabilize blood sugar levels
- Support biotransformation-clearance of waste products
- Increase cellular energy production
For neuropathy sufferers, lifestyle factors play an important role in recovery. Where diet is concerned, for example, if blood sugar level is too high or too low, nerves malfunction and can die. Regarding smoking, appropriate healing will be extremely difficult for an individual who smokes tobacco products.
Concerning exercise, you have probably heard the saying “if you don’t use it you lose it.” Nerves are no exception to this rule. The single greatest source of activation of our nervous system comes from receptors in our muscles, called muscle spindles. Every time a muscle is stretched, the muscle spindle fires a signal activating nerves. This activation is essential for nerve health and longevity. The take-away from this is the importance of reviewing a neuropathy patient’s habits and lifestyle for significant contributing factors. The appropriate recommendations, support, or referral can greatly influence the individual patient’s outcome.
As we just reviewed, every time a muscle is stretched, the muscle spindle fibers send a nerve impulse. If joints are restricted or fixated, muscle spindle fiber activity is reduced. Studies have shown that reduced input to our brain can cause deterioration of brain function. This can further compound the suffering, resulting in reduced sensation, numbness, or loss of dexterity, and strength in hands or feet. Joint mobilization and adjustments can restore lost mobility, improve muscle function, and increase the activation of nerves.
Compression to nerves can be a cause of peripheral neuropathy. Many potential patients come to us with both distal symmetric polyneuropathy AND nerve compression. Clues to this combination of conditions are symptoms that start on one side only, or are noticeably more severe on one side than the other. More obvious clues are having back or neck pain that accompanies symptoms of neuropathy in the hands or feet.
Patients with nerve compression may require spinal adjustment in addition to peripheral neuropathy treatment. When conservative measures have failed, the standard medical treatment for spinal nerve compression is decompression surgery. Most medical experts agree that back surgery should be a last resort.
According to Arnold Weil, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation medicine at Emory University School of Medicine, “probably less than 5% of all back pain requires surgery.”
Unsteadiness, staggering when walking, a dizzy/lightheaded feeling, tripping, and falling are all signs of balance problems. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly MORE THAN ONE THIRD OF ADULTS, AGE 65 YEARS AND OLDER, FALL EACH YEAR. Unfortunately, the fear of losing their ability to live independently can prompt seniors to withhold information about impaired balance from family and physicians. Preserving independence in activities of daily living and mobility is a chief concern for our neuropathy patients. Balance therapies tailored to each patient are part of our comprehensive treatment plan for every peripheral neuropathy patient. Many of our patients say that the greatest benefit they received from treatment is regained confidence in their ability to walk, and the ability to return to a vibrant and active lifestyle.
Home Care Procedures
In addition to the in-office treatments for peripheral neuropathy, each patient is trained how to perform home therapies. These home treatments become the foundation for maintenance therapy. Patients are assigned simple at-home exercises such as:
- Thermal contrast
- Mechanical nerve stimulation
- Sensory motor coordination
- Balance exercises
- Optional - Nerve e-stim
- Optional - MIRE therapy
Testimonials From Patients
Hear Jeff's Story
Hear Kims's Story
Kim R.'s Story
Kim R, a 60 y.o. woman, presented on 4/16/20 with concerns about a "pins and needles" feeling in both feet and all her toes. The symptoms had begun approximately 2 1/2 years ago and was diagnosed as progressive diabetic neuropathy. Her condition was worsening, and included occasional burning in her feet, so bad that some nights her "burning feet" would wake her up. She reported that sometimes while walking she'd feel a sharp pain in her foot as if she'd stepped on a thumbtack. She was taking Gabapentin as prescribed by her doctor, but Kim was aware that this was an attempt to try and ease her symptoms, but was told "nothing could stop or reverse her neuropathy." Until now.
We began with the TCSS 5-point sensory assessment, which revealed Kim's neuropathy had stolen 51% of her normal nerve function!
Beginning our nerve restoration protocols, giving the nerves what they need to heal, we re-assessed her condition on 07/23. 14 weeks into the protocol, Kim's nerves had healed (reconnected/restored) by 32 percentage points!! Instead of operating at a mere 49% of normal, her nerves were now working at 81%!! On 09/15, Kim further described her progress, saying her remaining symptoms were now a feeling of some tingling in the 2nd toe of her right foot just a couple times per week.
M.G, a 39 y.o woman presented on 05/11 with symptoms of neuropathy. She reported "often tripping over her own feet" and bad balance because:
- she couldn't feel her left leg below her knee,
- cramping and pain in both of her feet, and
- lack of normal sensation that "tells your brain where your feet are."
She reported a feeling like walking on a rock. And when walking downstairs, she would step down, then lower her other foot to that step, and repeat like this all the way down. M had been very active and an athlete for 18 years when younger, but now she said she had to look at her feet to see what position they were in prior to lifting or doing anything off balance to ensure they were in a stable position, because she could no longer rely on what used to be normal sensory information. One of her goals was to be able to go hiking again, as she'd become afraid to do so due to her unstable footing.
Her initial exam on 05/11 included the TCSS sensory assessment, and revealed M had experienced a 32% loss of normal nerve function. Quite significant for such a young woman! She began treatment here with the goal of nerve restoration. Ignoring or medicating her symptoms was not helping her, so we had to provide what her nerves needed to reconnect and to heal. Approx 2 months later, on 07/13, a re-assessment was performed. M's 32% nerve deficit was cut to 11%! In other words, her nerve function, or "connectivity" had been restored 21 percentage points! Six weeks later in early September, M reported to the office all smiles. “Yesterday, I went for a long hike, by myself, on very rough and uneven terrain with "lots of tree roots and hills", and made it to the base of a fire tower. I hesitated for a moment, then I climbed to the top of the fire tower!” We are so excited for the progress MG has made, and she continues to heal.
R.W., a 55 yo male, presented with complaints of diabetic neuropathy of 2-3 years duration. He described the condition as progressively worsening. He used to be able to relieve his symptoms by getting off his feet, but now even at night while lying down he experienced shooting pain to his knees and feet. R experienced pain, numbness and tingling symptoms in both shins/calves and feet to his toes. The neuropathy had gotten so bad that he couldn't even feel an infection in his right big toe, and it progressed to where he had to have that toe amputated!
This is neuropathy! A complex set of symptoms ranging from extreme numbness to extreme burning pain, often at the same time. R's job involved a lot of standing, and by the end of his workday he would be in agony. He said it also felt like a rubber ball or a club was stuck under his feet when he walked. The Gabapentin he had been prescribed was helping with his symptoms (which he described as a 10 out of 10 when he didn't take the pills) but his condition was worsening nonetheless. He reported it was now even interfering with his marriage. The pain and limitation of his feet would interfere with plans, outings, and other relations. R just wanted to be able to work and walk without pain, and wanted his "normal" life back.
On his initial assessment, 03/25/20, the TCSS 5 point sensory exam showed he had lost 71% of his normal nerve capability! R legs and feet were functioning at a mere 29% of normal. No wonder he was so miserable! Care protocols to heal and restore his peripheral nerves was begun to see if his was not a hopeless situation. Just a few weeks later, R stated, "something good is happening"... he said he was already noticing much less pain, and that some of his feeling was coming back. Notably, as he walked across the floor of our treatment room one day, he commented, "I can feel the carpet again!". Amazing the things most of us take for granted!
Approximately 7 weeks into his care, we reassessed his condition with the TCSS, and this revealed still a 53% deficit, but an improvement of 18 percentage points... clear evidence R's condition had not progressed too far to begin to revive his nerves!! What this jump in 18% of nerve function felt like for R? He reported at that time that his pain was no longer constant, and that he felt approximately 50% better overall!
Thank you for taking time to learn about peripheral neuropathy and your treatment options. There are three things I really want you to take away from this report.
- Don’t put off getting evaluated. We can help most neuropathy sufferers if they start treatment before it has progressed too far.
- Medications only mask your symptoms. They can’t prevent progression of your condition, improve your balance, nor heal your neuropathy.
- We help patients with neuropathy. Don’t accept that you have to live with it without being evaluated first. Our comprehensive treatments can help rehabilitate damaged nerves, reduce symptoms, improve balance, and help you regain lost quality of life.
If you’re suffering from any of the symptoms of neuropathy: tingling/numbness in your feet or hands, stabbing, shooting, burning pain or impaired balance, etc, call the number below and schedule a free consultation. We will evaluate your condition and let you know whether or not you are a candidate for our non-surgical, drug, and pain-free therapies. Your consultation is free of charge, and could completely change the quality of your life. I look forward to seeing you at our office. Thanks again for taking time to learn about your treatment options.