Nerve Pain and Quantum Theory – How a New Pain Management Protocol Could Revolutionise Peripheral Neuropathy Treatment

by LMatthews on October 20, 2014

peripheral neuropathy and quantum theory for pain reliefWhat could quantum theory have to do with nerve pain? Well, according to a presentation given at the American Academy of Pain Management (AAPM) 25th Annual Clinical Meeting, quite a lot, actually. Whether this new direction for pain management will end up benefiting those with pain resulting from spinal stenosis remains to be seen, but it sure looks promising as a way of kicking the painkillers.

Neurosurgeon, Peter M. Carney, MD, based out of Elkhart, Indiana, told attendees at the conference that using a pain management approach based on the principles of quantum theory could have significant benefits for patients with peripheral neuropathy, a condition that is typically difficult to treat.


Peripheral neuropathy is a condition with numerous causes, including diabetes, chemotherapy, nerve trauma and other issues. Symptoms include pain and abnormal sensation in the feet, hands, and other peripheral regions. Some patients feel like they are walking on glass, or marbles, or experience burning pain in their feet.

Minimising Treatment Side Effects for Peripheral Neuropathy

Current medications for peripheral neuropathy include pregabalin, a pharmaceutical linked to numerous side effects. Offering a way of avoiding pharmaceuticals and their associated adverse effects, this new approach combines local anaesthesia with electronic stimulation, thereby employing physics, not pharmacology for pain relief.


The basis of this approach can be traced back to the work of physicist, Nobel Laureate, and the founder of quantum theory, Erwin Schrödinger. This scientist boiled down the essence of living matter to quantum mechanics, or pure physics and chemistry. It’s unlikely he ever imagined pain management specialists would be inspired by his work but now they have.

The Body Electric

In order to understand this novel approach for relieving peripheral neuropathy, you have to first consider that the body, in all its glory, is made up of molecules and atoms, and that electrical energy is involved in the sensation of pain, the movement of muscles, and the toing and froing of chemicals in and out of cells. This new pain management theory relies on the idea of changing cellular mechanics through combined electrochemical therapy (CET).

CET for peripheral neuropathy in the foot involved injecting 1 or 2 mL of 0.5% bupivacaine just above the ankle, targeting the five nerves in the foot, and then following this with an electronic signalling technique to induce electroanalgesia. The electroanalgesist will use a variety of amplitudes and frequencies of electronic signals, effectively altering the electrical activity of these nerves to combat pain.

Vast Improvement in Nerve Pain

Carney carried out a study with 98 patients suffering from peripheral neuropathy, including chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, idiopathic peripheral neuropathy, traumatic neuropathy, and other mixed neuropathies. The results have been impressive and show significantly more benefit from CET than with pregabalin treatment, common for peripheral neuropathy. CET actually decreased the average pain score on the Visual Analog Scale 54% more than pregabalin. CET was also 62% more effective than pregablin at cutting average pain scores by half.


Considering how difficult it is to treat peripheral neuropathy, having up to 82% of the patients reporting at least a 30% drop in their Visual Analog Score (VAS) for pain is quite something. In fact, 63% reported a 50% or more reduction in VAS after an average of 17.6 CET treatments, with CET applied up to two times a week, and each treatment lasting 15-30 minutes.

The average reduction in VAS was 3.7 points, and the average improvement on the peripheral neuropathy function index (PNFI) was 49.4%. Four of the patients in the study actually stopped treatments after just four sesssions because their VAS score had gone down by 50-100%. Just two patients had an adverse reaction, and both were minor; one patient had a blister where the electrode contacted the skin, and one very elderly patient (a 91 year-old) felt faint during an injection with the local anaesthetic.

One of the major benefits of this pain management practice based on quantum theory is that it poses few of the problems associated with pregabalin, a medication that has been found to cause at least one adverse effect in 38% or more of patients.

Patient with Peripheral Neuropathy Runs Marathon!

In one patient, a 34 year-old woman with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, 17 sessions of CET led to a drop in VAS score from 7 to 1.5, and a drop in PNFI from 44 to 0. Incredibly, three months after treatment with CET, the woman went on to run a marathon!

Another impressive finding from this study was the capacity for nerve regrowth, something that could have a bearing on management of patients with spinal cord injury or permanent nerve trauma after spinal trauma or Failed Back Surgery Syndrome. In a select group of 10 patients, Carney and colleagues assessed nerve regrowth 2-4 months after CET and found that 70% of the patients had an average nerve regrowth of 81%.

Clearly, these results are preliminary and the study needs to be replicated using randomised, double-blind, controlled clinical trial procedures. The hope is that this novel way of treating peripheral neuropathy can offer an alternative option for patients, including those who have incurred nerve damage after treatment for spinal cancer and other cancers, whose nerve issues stem from diabetes, nerve trauma or even spinal trauma and spinal cord injury.

Reference

American Academy of Pain Management (AAPM) 25th Annual Clinical Meeting. Presented September 20, 2014.

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