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Doctors offer new alternative treatment options for neuropathy sufferers

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Relief could be in sight for the thousands who suffer from the nagging problem of Neuropathy.

It’s a debilitating disorder that causes extreme pain and numbness, usually in your hands and feet. Neuropathy occurs when the nerves outside your brain and spinal cord are damaged.

Now, more and more people living with the problem are ditching their meds for an alternative treatment.

"When I came in my pain level was probably close to a 10, I could barely walk,” said Carl Vandiford, a long-time Neuropathy sufferer.

It’s a familiar tune for thousands of Neuropathy patients.

"What happens is the nerves, due to malfunction, they start to decrease their senses, their messages to the body, and the body as a result can't get the message. The nerves become hypersensitive, almost like an alarm,” said Dr. Brian Kean, with Advanced Health and Physical Medicine.

Kean, a chiropractor in Greenville, says Neuropathy can happen for all different reasons. One of the leading causes is diabetes.

Type 2 diabetic, Tony Gallardo, has suffered from Neuropathy for the last 8 months.

"On a daily basis, the severity of the pain is stabbing. Pins and needles in your feet. Very uncomfortable. It just takes you out of frame of mind that you can't even concentrate on daily activities,” said Gallardo.

He’s not alone. North Carolina ranks 13th in the country for diabetes with more than half a million diabetic neuropathy patients.

Like many sufferers, medicine didn’t word for Gallardo. His symptoms were getting worse.

He turned to an alternative treatment. After a series of tests, rehab exercises and massage therapy, a nurse practitioner at “Advanced Health and Physical Medicine” uses an ultrasound to figure out where your damaged nerves are. Then they inject a local anesthetic into the nerve and follow it up with a laser treatment.

"What the laser does is increase oxygen to the injection site so the damaged nerve increases circulation,” said nurse practitioner, Janneh Peters-Beedoe.

It’s relief for people like Carl Vandiford. For the first time in four years, the long-time sufferer can feel his feet.

"I can get back to doing activities. I can ride a motorcycle now. A bicycle. So, I'm happy,” he said.

The treatment is ongoing. You can get up to 16 injections. Medicare and most insurance plans cover it.

Dr. Brian Kean of Advanced Health and Physical Medicine in Greenville will be giving a presentation about neuropathy Tuesday, October 8 and Tuesday, October 15 at 6:00 p.m. at Rep Express, 805 Red Banks Road in Greenville.  Dinner will be served to all attendees.  Those persons wanting to attend the free presentation about neuropathy need to call Advanced Health and Physical Medicine at (252) 321-3579 to reserve a seat.  Dr. Kean will be talking about the causes and symptoms of neuropathy and the various treatment options available.

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