• novel treatment with extracorporeal shock waves
Sensory disturbances (disturbances of sensation) and in some cases also muscle weakness in the feet, arms and legs in diabetes mellitus, after chemotherapy or exposure to other toxic substances (alcohol, heavy metals, etc.) lead to what is known as polyneuropathy. Some possible causes of this condition have just been mentioned, but often the cause of the disturbance is unknown.
In polyneuropathy either the insulation layer of the nerves or the central, electrical conducting structure (axon) is degraded. The process itself is not yet sufficiently understood. In all cases, however, there are considerable sensory disturbances, with formication (a tingling sensation under the skin), very unpleasant pain, disturbances of temperature perception, and often also the breakdown of muscles with consequent muscle weakness. A particularly unpleasant accompanying symptom of polyneuropathy is the common disturbance of blood supply, which leads to poorly healing wounds and, not infrequently, to amputation of the feet and legs.
For most cases of polyneuropathy there is no really effective therapy.
Recently, however, at the Clinic for Manual Medicine we have seen that treatment with extracorporeal shock waves can considerably relieve the symptoms. As yet unpublished scientific studies show encouraging results. It has been possible to demonstrate by appropriate measurements that the patients can walk more rapidly, with more energy and with longer steps. It is also reported that the pain and disturbances of sensation considerably decrease.
The basic research has produced the following data to date: as a result of the extracorporeal shock waves the blood supply is increased because new formation of blood capillaries is stimulated. Likewise nerves are stimulated by the shock waves, so that the disturbances of sensation decrease. Shock wave therapy generally has a pain-relieving effect. Also the muscles appear to become stronger.
We treat the patients intensively with extracorporeal shock waves and, if necessary, with the extensive combination therapy in treatment sessions for 2 to 3 weeks, and in general achieve the results mentioned.