Every year, tens of millions of americans suffer from nerve damage, some irreparably so. Science can heal bones, grow new organs and even restore our microbiomes, but why is it so hard to fix our nerves? Hey guys Lissette here for DNews The human body posses a remarkable ability to heal. Bones refuse, skin wounds mend, and the immune system adapts to infection, after infection. But theres one area of.
The body that struggles to recover after an injury: the nervous system. nerve damage can be some of the most debilitating and permanent type of injury. The nervous system is an incredibly complex network used to send electrical information throughout your body. It can basically be divided into two sections. With the brain and spinal cord making up the central nervous system or CNS. and the nerves made up of fibers of sensory and motor neurons comprising the peripheral nervous system.
Each cell in the nervous system from the tip of your finger up your arm, up your spinal column, into your brain, is very specialized. And each has a unique function on the pathway, like a circuit. If one these gets cut or injured, its hard for an exact replacement cell to be put in in the right spot. Think about when you get a cut on your skin. If the cut goes deep enough, exact replicas of cells won’t cover the wound, instead fibrous tissues form. which we call scars. And scars are part of the problem in regrowing nerves, they.
Often get in the way especially in the case of spinal cord injuries. as part of the cns, spinal cord injuries are notoriously difficult to heal; partially because of the way nerve cells in the CNS are made. According to the book, Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation, the CNS also has certain proteins that weirdly, inhibit cell regeneration. While this might sound like a bad idea, its hugely beneficial overall to the formation of the CNS. These cells need.
To grow exactly where they are supposed to, just one out of place could be bad. like. think of an electrical circuit, each unit has to be in a specific order in specific place to work. If one is out of place, the integrity of the CNS is compromised. Neurons in the CNS also lack certain cleaning cells. Nerve cells are made up of many parts, but they send signals through threads covered in a protective sheet of myelin. These threads are called axons. Axons are the long part of the cell that reaches out to the cell next.
To it to send information down the line. like arms handing the bucket down the line in a bucket brigade. So these are obviously super important and need protecting. Thats where the Schwann cells come in. which are only found in the Peripheral nervous system. Schwann cells, which arent neurons but GLEEL cells, produce the myelin that help protect the axons. But, a study published in The Journal of Cell Biology found they also clean up damaged nerves making way for the healing process to take place and.
New nerves to be formed. but the problem is. these schwann cells are missing from the cns. What they have instead are myelin producing cells called oligodendrocytes. But these cells dont clean up damaged nerve cells at all. Which is part of the problem. So unfortunately, according to Richard G. Fessler professor at Rush University Medical Center There are currently no therapies which successfully reverse the damage from injuries to the spinal cord. But research is currently underway to examine the potential success.
Of stem cell treatment, where stem cells are injected directly at the injury site. still, it will take a few years to see the results of such trials. But there are times your body can regenerate nerves. The peripheral nervous system doesnt have the same blocking proteins that the CNS has, and Schwann cells help heal the damage. So its able to regrow nerves, albeit slowly. For instance, if you cut a nerve into your shoulder, it could take a year to regrow. By that time.the muscles in your arms could.
Electrical Signal Therapy to Treat Nerve Pain
This is silvester at the next step foot and ankle , and im going to talk to you a little bit today about something that, for our neuropathy patients, has been a real game changer. Its really given us another powerful tool in being able to eliminate or significantly decrease the symptoms of painful peripheral neuropathy. Theres also significant evidence that this procedure, this treatment that we do, actually helps the nerves regrow helps the nerves to heal and become better. Its a matter of circulation.
In the nerve, its also a matter of opening the gates that how a nerve functions is that there are gates that allow electrical currents to pass down the nerve, and the nerve uses a lot of energy to keep those gates either open or closed, depending on what its trying to do. The anatomy of a nerve is such that if you took a nerve out of this young ladys back and down to her foot. If you spread that nerve out and magnified it at maybe 1000 times,.
The relative proportions of the nerve would be like a string the length of a football field. A nerve uses more energy than any cell in the body, so the nerve, being that long and that skinny, the nerves ability to heal itself and deliver energy to all those little gates all along that nerve is somewhat hampered. This treatment tends to restore that and helps the nerve heal. Its a very simple procedure, and Im going to show you this is the machine, its called the Neurogenx 4000.
Pro. it has an electrical current that goes into the nerve and helps fire the nerve repeatedly over a period of time. Our treatments last about 3045 minutes, depending on the severity of the patients symptoms. We do this with an integrated nerve block. Im going to show you where the nerves come down into your leg. Theres one right here, and this is called the common peroneal nerve. Were going to put one patch there. Theres a nerve right back here, and this is the tibial nerve, and that comes down right there, and.
Well put a patch there. all the nerves that innervate the bottom of the foot come through here, and this is called the tarsal tunnel and the plantar nerves. Then on the top of the foot theres also a deep peroneal nerve and there are also branches of the superficial peroneal nerve that are up here. Depending on where the symptoms are the worst, we kind of move the pads to try and treat the nerves that were involved with. If you dont have very many symptoms on the deep peroneal nerve, we do it up here at the superficial.
Peroneal nerve. The first pad goes over the common fibular nerve, the next one goes back here where the tibial nerve comes down into the leg and its kind of deep right there. Most of the time well treat the superficial peroneal nerve. Then, on the inside of the foot, the area of the tarsal tunnel. Now thats all set up for nerve treatment, and all we do is turn the machine on, and we just bring up the intensity until the patient feels it. It shouldnt.
Be uncomfortable, but you should be able to feel it when its working. its a fairly substantial current. The next thing that we do with this is either during or after the procedure, we give local anesthetic blocks into those nerves that are most badly affected by nerve disease. We determine that with our al examination. Those injections consist of just a longacting local anesthetic and so the patient leaves, they may be numb for a while or they may not feel any numbness. What happens is, the signal therapy followed.
With the local anesthetic therapy causes the nerve to be able to reestablish itself as far as the surrounding environment with nutritional support, vasodilation and really helps the nerves heal themselves. This has been, in about 80% of our patients who undergo this therapy, they have significant relief of their peripheral neuropathy. Its not a one time thing. We have to do it 13 times, and sometimes we extend it beyond that. 13 treatments in general, but sometimes we extend it beyond that. Thats electrical nerve stimulation.