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Health Beat: Toes-knocking out neuropathy

By Melanie Falcon, Anchor / Reporter, @Melanie_Falcon, MFalcon@wfmz.com
Published On: May 14 2013 09:17:46 AM CDT
Updated On: May 16 2013 05:02:16 PM CDT

About 20 million people in the United States suffer from neuropathy, disorders caused by damaged nerves.

About 20 million people in the United States suffer from neuropathy, disorders caused by damaged nerves. Neuropathy can cause weakness, numbness, and pain in the hands and feet.

More than half the 20 million Americans that suffer from it are diabetics.  Now, there's a new therapy getting people back on their feet.

For some, it’s like electricity or pins and needles. Others feel like their feet are on fire. 

"The pain would shoot right through my legs," said Eddie Jeffcoat, who suffers from neuropathy.

For Jeffcoat, just walking across the street was almost impossible.  

“I might not make it back to the other side," he feared.

Damaged nerves in his feet have left him home-bound for the last three years.

"It came to where I couldn’t stand. I couldn't walk," said Jeffcoat, who's now walking his dog and even enjoying some time on the treadmills, and he's done it all in 90 days.

“It's incredible. Most people start seeing results literally with the first treatment," said Dr. Marc Ott, chiropractic physical at Integrative Physical Medicine.

Ott said the new treatment for feet and hands centers around an electric stimulator called the Rebuilder.  It measures how a person’s nerves are abnormally firing, then sends an electrical frequency to get them back into a normal firing pattern.   "So for each patient the way the unit actually fires is different.  It builds a pattern that's specific to you,” he explained.

The therapy includes exercises on a vibrating platform to help restore balance and neurological control.

"It's pretty astonishing to watch the results these patients experience and the lifestyle changes that it makes for them," said Ott.

While Jeffcoat’s still not up to full speed, he’s lost 40 pounds and his pain level’s been cut in half. Jeffcoat said the Rebuilder has made life a lot more bearable.

Ott said almost all of his patients see a change with the therapy. He said the degree of improvement depends on the individual. The Rebuilder treatment is available across the country and is covered by Medicare and most insurance plans.

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DOWNLOAD and VIEW the full-length interview with Dr. Marc Ott about treating neuropathy