Vibration therapy is quickly gaining popularity for its ability to lessen the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, including pain. This simple and easily obtainable device is a natural treatment for neuropathy to consider adding to your self care regimen.
Just as neuroscience has found that cells in your peripheral nervous system can regenerate as long as there is enough life left in them, researchers are also discovering new ways to promote healing them.
Vibration is one of these new ways that has been found to help the body’s own nerve healing mechanisms. Vibration therapy works by sending vibratory pulses through your body. These pulses cause your muscles to expand and contract, similar to how they would during exercise. As a result, you get with vibration therapy a similar type of stimulation and benefit as with exercise.
Vibration does not replace the benefits obtained by raising your heart rate with real exercise, but sometimes nerve damage makes exercising more challenging and even more dangerous than it might normally be. The loss of feeling and coordination can create an increased risk for things like falls and injuries, so muscle contraction therapies can offer the same effects as low-intensity exercise without any of the added fall risks and challenges.
Benefits of Vibration Therapy
Research on vibration therapy is showing benefits such as:
- pain relief
- improved balance
- increased growth factors
- improved circulation
- strengthened muscle
- faster regeneration of nerve tissue
One particular study tested 731 patients using vibration, and 70% reported a reduction of chronic pain by about 50%, and the pain relief lasted for at least 3 to 12 hours or more.
Types of Vibration Therapy Devices
There are basically three types of vibration devices. Select the device best suited for your type and location of neuropathy. For example, if your nerve damage is mostly in your lower body, a floor pate or handheld portable unit may be your best choice, especially is you have very sensitive feet. If balance or autonomic neuropathy is your primary issue, you may want to consider a full body platform.
Handheld Portable Vibration Devices
Handheld portable vibration devices are useful for reaching any part of the body to target specific areas directly where symptoms reside. Some units are cordless and battery powered or rechargeable, making them easy to use anywhere. They also often come with a variety of treatment heads for use in a variety of locations and intensity levels.
Floor Vibration Plates
Floor vibration plates are the first choice for peripheral neuropathy in feet and legs especially, and also great for nerve damage in hands and arms. They are easy to use while sitting and relaxing, without needed use of your arms or hands.
Full Body Vibration Platforms
Full body vibration platforms are only recommended for people with good strength in their legs and arms, and enough balance not to create a falling hazard. Full body vibration is especially useful for people with neuropathy that extends beyond the extremities. It is also the preferred choice of vibration therapy for motor and autonomic neuropathies.
How to Use Vibration Therapy for Neuropathy
It is important to be cautious and not use vibration therapy that is too strong or for too long. Always look for a wide range of adjustable speeds when selecting a vibration device. Start on the lowest settings and for short duration times to avoid aggravation of symptoms.
Warnings for Use of Vibration Therapy
Vibration therapy devices should not be used on very fragile skin or open sores. Do not use vibration if you have blood clots or cancer since vibration may worsen your condition.
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