Treating Peripheral Neuropathy Via
By Use of Whole Body Vibration Therapy
Dr. Roger Borbón
Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist
Fellow of American College of Functional Neurology
Viable but dysfunctioning pools of neurons in mild to extreme cases of diagnosed peripheral neuropathy can be normalized by afferentation of mechanoreceptors, golgi tendon organs, and the intrafusal and extrafusal muscle spindle components to elicit positive neuroplastic and long term potential adaptations that approximate normal function by the controlled use of limited stimulation via whole body vibration therapy.
A functional neurological model was the genesis of addressing peripheral neuropathy cases for fast and safe objective and subjective results in subjects who have not received desired positive results via pharmaceutical treatment. Functional neurology emphasizes the premise that pools of neurons that may not be functioning to full capacity (neurological dysfunction) can be made to do so via accurate neurological afferentation which does not exceed the subject’s neurological metabolic threshold.
This clinical research is particularly significant because it provides sufficient evidence, by way of standardized neurological assessments, that approximations toward restoring normal and natural neurophysiology can be accomplished by the use of a whole body vibration unit alone.
11 subjects were qualified by multiple board certified doctors, both medical and chiropractic neurologists, who independently agreed upon the diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy. While deep vein thrombosis (DVT) was basis for disqualification of participation, one subject was admitted after gaining clearance through his cardiovascular specialist. The histories and causes of the subjects’ peripheral neuropathies varied greatly. The durations also showed diversity with cases ranging one year in occurrence to over 20 years of occurrence.
Baseline and follow up objective and subjective measures included the following evaluations:
• Dorsal Column Medial Lemniscus Tract
o 2 Point Discrimination
o Fine Touch
· Anterolateral Spinothalamic Tract
o Pain and Temperature
· Corticospinal Tract
o Volitional Strength
· Subjects’ Perceived Improvement
The follow up measurements were obtained after the 5th and 10th treatments to assess neuroplastic results. In addition, a final evaluation was performed one month after the final treatment to determine long term potential adaptations. The average time span of this trial from the examination to the one month re-examination was 9 weeks.
The treatment was delivered with subjects seated in a chair with their bare feet placed upon the platform of the iTonic Whole Body Vibration unit from Free Motion Fitness. The potency (amplitude and Hertz frequency) and dosage (time duration of application) was uniform for each subject. The schedule of treatment was delivered 3 times a week on a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 3 consecutive weeks and the 10th and final treatment was delivered on the following Monday of the 4th week. One month following the final treatment all the subjects participated in the final evaluation.
The following table reflects the percentage of quantitative objective and subjective improvements from the baseline examination to 3 stages of re-evaluations. The information from re-evaluations was gathered after the 5th and 10th treatments. Information from a third re-evaluation was gathered one month after the final treatment.
Correlating the results gathered through objective and subjective findings delivered encouraging data to a relatively underutilized therapeutic modality, the iTonic whole body vibration unit. This relativity is by way of comparison to the use of pharmaceuticals as the primary method to treat peripheral neuropathies. While only 1 out of 2 subjects perceived a beneficial response by the end of this clinical trail, this was achieved without invasive procedures or harmful side effects. In contrast to the subjects’ perception, 100% of the subjects had at least minimal improvements, and at most had complete resolution from dysfunction as determined through objective measures alone. These objective results are the critical components of this research as it pertains to those who suffer with peripheral neuropathy. This is critical because this research demonstrated the hypothesized neurophysiologic adaptations by way of controlled vibratory afferentation using predictable neuron physiology to undergo beneficial plastic change. The continued use of this modality may lend to a greater percentage of those who perceive improvements. Therefore, further studies are recommended which should include a greater number of treatments over a greater span of time and standing on the unit in place of stimulation of only the feet. This study clearly offers an unorthodox method of treatment which repeatedly delivered empirical improvements that may lead to a breakthrough in the standard approach for care of those suffering from peripheral neuropathies.