Community News Rehab South offers new treatment for neurological disorder

Community News Rehab South offers new treatment for neurological disorder

September 13th, 2017 by Shane Foley in Community North Hamilton

A patient receives treatment for neuropathy in their feet at Rehab South Physical Therapy in Hixson. The electrical signals the machine puts out are almost imperceptible to the patient, and they trigger nerve ending regeneration, said physical therapist and owner Charlie Jones. (Contributed photo)

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Rehab South Physical Therapy is giving its patients a new lease on life with groundbreaking new treatments for sufferers of neuropathy.

Physical therapist and owner Charlie Jones said he started researching possible treatments after seeing a surge of patients in his office with the disorder over the past several years. Endemic to the aging population and those with diabetes, neuropathy is a broad term for nerve endings and neurons no longer firing as they should. The condition typically occurs in the hands and feet, and patients with the disorder suffer from constant tingling, burning, numbness or loss of sensation entirely.

"Frankly, we were almost caught off guard in the medical profession," Jones said. "It's a very frustrating disorder and it's become quite prevalent."

After hearing countless stories from his patients about being kept up at night or being unable to walk even short distances without pain, Jones set to work exploring treatment options. Neuropathy is either the result of circulatory issues or neurological damage, he found, and treatments were limited.

Undeterred, Jones moved forward and purchased a MicroVas system for his clinic. The FDA-approved machine is designed to stimulate blood flow in targeted areas via electronic muscle stimulation, and can even restore damage to veins and the localized circulatory system, he explained.

That doesn't treat every case of neuropathy though, Jones found.

"We were hitting about 50 percent of the problem. People were happy with 50 percent, since it's better than zero, but I knew we could do better," said Jones.

His research led him to purchase a machine new to the market this year, which uses weak electrical impulses to stimulate nerve endings and trigger regeneration. After six weeks of treatment, patients who previously had damaged nerves that would cause pain flareups now had nerves healthy enough for little to no pain in their daily activities, said Jones.

"I'm going to be honest, very few people have been able to connect this," he said. "We're the only ones who offer it in Chattanooga. It's gone through the rigors of testing, and the evidence is here."

Jones said both treatments are covered by insurance. He said he and his staff have spoken at length about the treatments with auditors from Medicare interested in the device, and they were impressed with the results. Jones is looking into the possibility of using the machines to treat other neurological disorders such as lymphodema as well.

He said it's rewarding to see patients — who previously weren't even aware their condition had a name — feel better and have their lives back.

"Many of our patients are diabetic and they've lost sensation in their feet. These are older folks still trying to maintain a household," said Jones. "They can barely go out without pain, and they have difficulty walking. Then they come in, receive four to six weeks of treatment, and they tell us they can walk again. All we're doing is finding what works."

Those curious about the treatment or who think they may be suffering from neuropathy can contact Rehab South at 877-4599.