Nerves send pain signals to the brain. They also let you know if something is touching your skin. These nerves require blood flow through arteries and eventually capillaries. Nerves that are not getting good blood flow can’t function. Think of a rubber band wound tightly around a finger: soon that finger begins to hurt - the band has cut off blood flow to the entire finger, including its nerves. How do you relieve that pain? Remove the rubber band; that restores blood flow to normal. NO MORE PAIN. So, a patient with signs of DPN has to do anything they can to restore blood flow. Blood flow is partly regulated by nitric oxide (NO). If you’ve never heard of NO, we encourage you to look it up. Three American scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize for its discovery as a regulator of blood flow. NO is carried in the blood attached to hemoglobin in red blood cells. Several years ago it was found the red and near infrared light therapy could release that NO from hemoglobin (J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2009 Aug; 47(2): 256–263.). Our Clinic uses this form of FDA cleared light therapy to improve, and often reverse, the symptoms of DPN. Less or no pain, improved sensation and, with this, better balance and a lowered risk of falls are usually seen. How important is sensation? Think of the person who can’t tell the difference between the gas pedal and the break pedal. That’s a big problem for many with DPN. Improved sensation is a quality of life issue for you and your loved ones. Our next blog post will focus on wounds and amputation in patients with DPN.
Dr. Thomas Burke, PhD
Published researcher of 92+ papers on blood flow and peripheral neuropathy
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