If the Beach Boys Were Diabetic, They Would Sing About Good Vibrations!
Faculty Mentor: Brent Feland, Exercise Science Department
One in every four Americans suffer from Diabetic Neuropathy in the lower extremities. This research has a lot to do with the pain and anguish of one fourth of the American people. This pain can cause depression and other mental illnesses, because it reduces the patient’s physical activity by a land slide. This can be traumatic for the patient and the family. This neuropathy in the lower extremities causes nerve damage in the foot and leg area. Doctors have found that it is due to a lack of blood to the nerves, causing the nerve endings to slowly die. This can effect both motor and sensory nerves. The effect on these nerves can lead to lack of movement, and touch, with an increase amount to foot/leg pain.
Whole body vibration training platforms are commonly used with sports teams and high level athletes for improving performance and have been found to be beneficial as a warm-up and a means to increase peripheral blood flow. While there are a handful of studies showing increases in blood flow from Whole body vibration, these studies have been in normal subjects. With initial data showing vibration treatment can reduce pain in diabetic neuropathy patients, a closer investigation into the potential mechanisms producing these results is warranted. A more thorough look at hemodynamics (blood flow and blood velocity) changes to the foot could help explain why diabetics have reported improvements with the Neuropathic Pain Scale following vibration treatments. I am researching the possibility of that same outcome with patients who suffer from Diabetic Neuropathy.
If a whole body vibration machine can increase the blood flow to those nerves that are dying (due to lack of blood flow), then this discovery can be life changing to thousands of people across American and the World. A solution to this problem will be a miracle to many suffering people. This proves that people all over the world are burdened with Diabetic Neuropathy in the lower extremities, but there is a possibility that a whole body vibration can extinguish this awful diabetic crisis.
Depending on the affected nerves, symptoms of diabetic neuropathy can range from pain and numbness in your extremities to problems with your digestive system, urinary tract, blood vessels and heart. For some people, these symptoms are mild; for others, diabetic neuropathy can be painful, disabling and even fatal.
There are two main types of neuropathy that can occur with Diabetic patients: Peripheral and Anatomical neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is the most common type of diabetic neuropathy. This causes pain or loss of feeling in the toes, feet, legs, hands, and arms. Autonomic neuropathy causes changes in digestion, bowel and bladder
function, sexual response, and perspiration. It can also affect the nerves that serve the heart and control blood pressure, as well as nerves in the lungs and eyes. Autonomic neuropathy can also cause hypoglycemia unawareness, a condition in which people no longer experience the warning symptoms of low blood glucose levels. In other words, this disorder can gradually get worse.
Whole Body vibration (WBV) is a new somatosensory stimulation which is easy to use and time-efficient. It is being offered as a treatment for balance, back pain, neurological disorders, and also simple fitness. The effects of WBV on balance and strength of diabetic patients has not been studied. If this machine can increase the balance and blood flow of a Diabetic patient, it could make a substantial difference.
Elderly patients with diabetes and peripheral neuropathy are more likely to experience falls due to lack of balance. However, the information available on how such falls can be prevented is scarce. A certain study investigated the effects of whole-body vibration (WBV) combined with a balance exercise program on balance, muscle strength, and glycosylated hemoglobin (blood flow) in elderly patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
The unsatisfactory results associated with conventional treatments for symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy demonstrates a need for research into alternative therapies. The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of whole body vibration therapy as a treatment for pain associated with this disorder.
This research study requires lots of hours of practice and focus. My mentor and I have been studying and practicing how to get good readings from the ultrasound machine. The ultrasound machine can read and detect blood flow in the arteries and veins. At times it is really difficult to receive a good reading for the study because of the complexity of the ultrasound.
We have had one Diabetic subject come in to run through the study. It was very successful and we are anxious to bring more subjects in to the study. The subject was beyond grateful to be a part of this study. She claimed that she would do anything to reduce the pain she feels on a daily basis. After examining the results of the ultrasound, we find that her blood flow increased substantially.
Now that we are more comfortable with the complex ultrasound machine we have scheduled to bring almost twenty additional subjects in for the study in the beginning of January. We are really excited to see the results of this study, and hope to potentially change the lives of all these people suffering with this disorder across America.