4-Step Protocol Eases Neuropathy Effects

Clinic’s approach regenerates nerve fibers and myelin for chemo patient.

Earlier this year, Marlene* completed a 28-day regimen of high-dose chemotherapy to battle metastatic breast cancer. Multiple cancer drugs were given intravenously in weekly cycles, with time off between infusions for recovery. Unfortunately, Marlene experienced uncomfortable side effects from the treatment.

“The consequences of the chemo were pretty bad,” says Marlene, 63. “It made me feel fatigued and nauseated all the time. I lost my hair and my appetite. And I bruised easily. I also started to feel numbness and tingling in my ankles and feet. It was so bad that it made me unsteady when I walked and forced me to use a cane to keep from falling.”

Marlene soon learned that the numbness and tingling were caused by neuropathy, a condition caused by damage to the peripheral nerves that run from the central nervous system — the brain and spinal cord — to the rest of the body.

“The tingling and numbness were just getting worse, and one day, almost out of desperation, I asked my oncologist what could be done for it,” Marlene remembers. “She suggested I visit Dr. Smith at Coastal Chiropractic.”

Lee Smith, DC, first saw Marlene this past spring. During that visit, Dr. Smith explained that neuropathy affects myelin, the insulating sheath that forms around nerves and enables electrical impulses to travel through the nerves without interruption.

“Think of it as a wire with its covering coming off,” Dr. Smith adds. “Without a cover, the nerve cannot transmit impulses efficiently, and that leads to symptoms. Those symptoms include burning pain, numbness, tingling and an inability to balance because the proprioceptors in the feet cannot signal the brain to tell it what’s happening.”

Dr. Smith further explained that there are more than 100 causes for neuropathy and more are discovered every year. The most common, however, are diabetes and chemotherapy.

“Neuropathy is a progressive disease; it gets worse over time,” the doctor stresses. “It is more common in the feet and lower legs but can affect the arms and hands as well. If not stopped, neuropathy may result in the amputation of the lower extremities.”

Neuropathy is typically treated with the anticonvulsants gabapentin (NEURONTIN®) and pregabalin (LYRICA®). But these medications do not cure the problem; they simply mask it, the doctor asserts.

“Further, patients must take higher and higher doses of these medications over time to achieve the therapeutic effect,” the doctor contends. “Eventually, the drugs lose their effectiveness altogether.

“At Coastal Chiropractic, however, we offer a treatment that actually fixes the nerves and reverses the damaging effects of neuropathy. It’s a four-step neuropathy protocol that actually regenerates nerve fibers and myelin.”

Protocol Mainstays

The protocol includes nutrition therapy to give the body the nutrients it needs to heal; muscle stimulation to regenerate nerve tissue; infrared light therapy to increase blood flow to the target area; and in-office procedures to rehabilitate the surrounding muscles and tissues.

The nutrition phase consists mainly of consuming a special protein drink. What makes this drink special is that it is a vasodilator. It opens the blood vessels and increases blood flow to the lower extremities, allowing oxygen and nutrients to reach the tissues and begin the healing process.

“The muscle stimulation is the fun part,” Dr. Smith reveals. “Patients simply place their feet in a water bath. An electrical current is generated through the water. The electrical impulses travel up through the feet to the damaged nerves and trigger them to regenerate. The equipment used is called the ReBuilder. It is not a new technology. It has been around for decades and is used by the American Cancer Society to treat chemo patients with neuropathy.

“Infrared light is light we cannot perceive with our eyes. There have been many advances in infrared technology over the last decade or so aimed at helping the body regenerate itself. Infrared light therapy stimulates blood flow and forces the body to reconnect with the damaged areas and begin to repair them.

“Patients feel almost no sensation during infrared therapy and muscle stimulation treatment. Some people describe a mild warmth, but no discomfort.”

Nutrition therapy, muscle stimulation and infrared therapy are the mainstays of the neuropathy protocol, and they can all be accomplished at the patients’ home at their convenience. According to Dr. Smith, that’s one reason Coastal Chiropractic’s approach is so successful.

“Compliance is high because patients do not have to leave their homes to be treated,” he maintains. “They can simply complete their treatment while sitting down and watching TV or reading a book. This is much more convenient because the protocol must be carried out daily for severe cases of neuropathy.”

Patients do have to visit Coastal Chiropractic, typically one day per week, for the fourth step in the protocol: in-office procedures.

“The primary in-office procedure is a form of physical therapy,” Dr. Smith elaborates. “We work to rebuild atrophied muscle tissue using a technique called vibration plate therapy. This is a treatment during which patients stand on a vibrating plate or sit with their feet on the plate, which stimulates their muscles and forces them to reconnect and rebuild.

“For patients who have a severe low back issue as well as neuropathy, we may perform manipulations of the spine to correct any imbalances.”

Coastal Chiropractic’s protocol can last from six to 24 months depending on the severity of the neuropathy.

“We have a 98 percent success rate for each step in the protocol,” Dr. Smith reports. “When we combine all four therapies, we pretty much have everybody covered. And our first follow-up evaluation is performed 90 days after we start treatment.

“Every patient is different but, typically, there are significant improvements in symptoms within those 90 days. We don’t expect patients to be 100 percent better, but many report 60 to 70 percent improvement.”

Dr. Smith and his colleague at Coastal Chiropractic, Brandon Bond, DC, work in collaboration to make sure neuropathy patients achieve the best outcomes from the protocol.

“It Was Amazing”

Marlene was one of those patients who achieved significant improvement from Coastal Chiropractic’s neuropathy protocol.

“It was amazing,” Marlene enthuses. “By the time of my first follow-up appointment, the numbness and tingling were almost entirely gone. I had recovered most of the normal sensation in my ankles and feet. I was also much steadier on my feet, and I was able to stop using the cane.

“I can’t say enough good things about Dr. Smith and his neuropathy protocol. He’s an awesome doctor and his treatment is a godsend.”

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. mkb
*Patient’s name changed at her request.
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    • Coastal Chiropractic

      At Coastal Chiropractic, they are here to help. They look forward to serving your natural health care needs! One of the ways they want to help you achieve optimal well-being is through the Zone Technique, in which Dr. Lee is certified. This h... Read More

    • Lee Smith, DC

      Lee Smith, DC, earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life University in Marietta, GA. Dr. Smith stays current in the field by taking regular courses on subjects such as chiropractic techniques, pediatric care and spinal reh... Read More