Chiropractor Chandler AZ
Diabetic neuropathy symptoms can be exceptionally painful and limiting. Some people describe severe pain, burning, or tingling in their feet that prevents them from walking. Others describe fluctuations of hot or cold sensations, or altered sensations like having a sock on or cloth wrapped around their foot. Diabetic neuropathy can be constant in some people, while others have symptoms that fluctuate throughout the day based on their activity.
Diabetic neuropathy in the feet is a result of damage to the small blood vessels around the nerves. Because these vessels are not providing adequate nutrients to the neurons, the nerves are unable to repair or heal themselves. Over time nerve function declines, it operates at a sub-optimal level. Let's pretend that nerves operate at 60% normal function, meaning it is able to send some signals from their scepters in the toes up to the spine. But that signal is compromised in its speed and the nerve sends occasional bad signals to the spine.
Over time that neuron is not able to repair so it continues to decline in function. As more and more neurons function at sub-optimal levels the intensity, frequency, and duration of painful diabetic symptoms increase. In order for that nerve to heal it is going to require increased amounts of blood flow and nutrients, along with the healing processes need to be properly activated.
Peripheral nerves are slow to repair in the body because of their limited cellular mechanisms, poor blood supply, and limited amounts of of energy production. Unfortunately diabetes damages the blood vessels which severely limits nutrients to the nerve, and results in a state of chronic suboptimal performance.
Some patients report improvement with prescription medication and lifestyle changes. However many people continue to suffer from their diabetic neuropathy even with multiple medications. Low-level laser therapy is a tremendous tool and decreasing diabetic neuropathy symptoms by increasing blood flow to the neuron and increasing the cellular repair processes.
Specific wavelengths of cold laser cause the small arteries to dilate and increase blood flow. The increased amounts of blood flow allow more nutrients to pass from the bloodstream into the damaged neuron. This is combined with a different wavelength that increases cellular repair and the healing processes. These mechanisms ramp up normal cell healing. For example, one wavelength stimulates ATP production within a cell, which is the cell's energy source. Chronically damaged and injured cells have very low levels of ATP and are reluctant to spend that ATP on healing. By ramping up ATP production within a neuron, the cell has excessive amounts of ATP to spend towards repair. Combining extra amounts of ATP with accelerated cellular repair and increased blood flow allows for significant nerve healing and regeneration.
Low-level laser therapy is applied at both ends of the neuron for maximal therapeutic application. Cold laser is used on the feet and the low back. Sensory neurons have receptors that start in the feet and travel up to the spinal cord. Meanwhile motor neurons start in the spinal cord and travel down to the feet. Applying cold laser to both ends of the neurons amplifies the cellular repair processes in both types of nerves.
Not all cold lasers can produce enough energy to stimulate cellular repair and healing. Even though cold lasers have been utilized for years in the US and Europe, most have not been able to produce enough energy required for diabetic neuropathy healing. Older class III lasers can only produce 6 J of energy per minute and are limited in their ability to penetrate within the body of only two – 3 cm. The newer class IV cold lasers produce over 500 J per minute of energy and can penetrate 8 cm. This produces enough energy to stimulate the neuron repair and regeneration along with increased blood flow to that neuron.
Class IV cold laser therapy treatment is enhanced with vibration therapy. Vibration therapy stimulates both sensory and motor neurons. The sensory neurons in the feet feel the vibration in the shaking movements and send signals from the feet up to the spinal cord. The brain and spinal cord respond to the stimulus by sending signals down the motor neurons that leave the spinal cord and travel to the feet muscles. Contraction of the feet muscles increases balance and ankle stability. Increased stimulus within this pathway triggers additional repair and healing within neurons.
Many people are familiar with the concept of exercise and strength training. Increased exercise activity causes muscles to increase their fiber density and become stronger. The stimulus was the exercise resulting in increased muscle fiber growth. The same concept happens in neurons. The increased stimulus of vibration triggers increased neuron repair and regeneration processes in both sensory and motor neurons. The more stimulus into the system the greater the physiologic response.
Many patients report significant improvement with class IV cold laser and vibration therapy for their diabetic neuropathy symptoms. Patients with severe pain, numbness, tingling, and burning report improvement within three weeks of treatment. The overall intensity, frequency, and duration of pain diminishes in this time. These patients reported improved function in their home, work, and recreational abilities. They are able to walk further before feeling pain sensations in their feet. They find their sleep improves because they're not being woken up during the night, in addition they are less limited in their ability to walk and perform normal daily activities.