To research this post, I did a web search on the phrase “photobiomodulation for neuropathy.” The second search hit turned out to be a page published just this year titled “Photobiomodulation for Neuropathy — How to Cure Peripheral Neuropathy.” The site (neuropathyworld.com) hawks a six-step cure. I can’t tell you how it works. I wasn’t ready to cough up the $37.95 that Neuropathy World charges for the PDF describing it.
You’re welcome to visit the Neuropathy World website. But be advised the site owner has programmed it to disable your browser’s back button. I take that as a sign of an operator who is indifferent between marketing to customers and trapping them. Perhaps warning you away from that website may be the best value I can provide you in this post.
Neuropathy Prevalence and Treatment
If you’re a person chosen at random in the U.S., there’s about a 5% chance you have neuropathy. That doesn’t sound like very much, but it’s 20 million people. That means it is enough of a market to attract all kinds of provisioners, not all of whom will disable your browser’s back button.
The Mayo Clinic describes six kinds of treatment. There are pain relieving medications and anti-seizure medications, which can sometimes provide pain relief. There are also topical treatments (which sometimes help control pain on the skin), antidepressants, and immunosuppressant procedures. The site also lists transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), physical therapy, and surgery.
Many of these treatments sound complicated, hazardous, or invasive. So if photobiomodulation (PBM) — which is easy, safe, and painless — would be helpful, most neuropathy sufferers should be willing to investigate it for themselves.
Photobiomodulation for Neuropathy
In fact, there is solid evidence that photobiomodulation (PBM) can help with the pain of neuropathy. A 2018 review of 26 human studies found that PBM can accelerate the process of nerve regeneration. It also found improvements in electrophysiological function and immunoreactivity, as well as release of growth factors and decrease of inflammation.
If I seem to be dwelling on pain relief, that’s because neuropathy is purely a pain problem. It isn’t something you catch. It is a symptom of other conditions. The causes of neuropathy include alcoholism, autoimmune disorders, vitamin deficiencies, infections, toxins (including chemotherapy), genetics, and injury, particularly repetitive stress injury (carpal tunnel syndrome is a neuropathy). But one of the biggest risk factors is diabetes, which is why television commercials for medicines to deal with diabetic nerve pain are so common.
Can Neuropathy Be Cured?
To treat neuropathy, you cure the underlying condition that is causing it. But some of those conditions cannot be easily cured, and some cannot be cured at all. In that case, there’s nothing to do but relieve the pain, which gets us back to the pain medications, antidepressants, TENS, and physical therapy. Or, if you’re willing to risk 10 to 15 minutes of your time, PBM.
I have been writing in this blog for years about PBM’s ability to relieve pain. Studies have shown it relieves post-surgical pain and it is better than placebo for low back pain. It doesn’t mask pain like so many medications do. It doesn’t just try to get your mind off it, like so many pain management techniques do. It’s non-surgical and non-invasive. It seems to relieve pain by regenerating your nerve cells and increasing your cellular production of ATP.
If you suffer from neuropathy, watch out for hucksters offering cures. But ask your doctor if PBM can help. If so, book a session here at Peak Recovery & Health Center.
Photo: “Orange and White Prescription Bottle On Table” by Kevin Bidwell. Creative Commons License via Pexels.