Cold Hands, Warm Heart

Welcome to our new blog! Please feel free to email me at DrRhodes@vecttor.com with any comments, questions, or suggestions for blog posts.

The old saying in the title is misleading. Here, let me fix it for you:

Cold Hands, Warm Heart Chronic Pain

One symptom that is almost universally present in the chronic pain patients I see in my office, is the presence of abnormally cold fingers and toes. 

“I’m cold natured” they’ll tell me, or, “My hands/feet never feel warm”. Sometimes they don’t say anything at all, but when I shake their hand, it’s as cold as ice. 

I routinely take thermographic images of every patient’s hands and feet on their first day in my office, and again a few days after beginning VECTTOR Therapy treatment. As they say, “a picture speaks a thousand words”. 

As you can see in the images above, this patient’s initial visit showed a marked decrease in circulation, and a significant increase in circulation by Day 4 of VECTTOR Therapy. 

How is this possible? Is VECTTOR Therapy actually increasing the blood flow in the body? Well, the answer is yes, and no. 

You see, circulation is decreased by stress and pain, and this happens first in the hands and feet.  When the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) is activated due to a physical or emotional stress, it releases a mass discharge of Norepinephrine. Norepinephrine helps to protect the body by moving blood from the periphery, like the hands and feet, to the vital internal organs, like the brain and large muscles. This is a protective mechanism that is designed to change the body’s focus for approximately 20 seconds to survive a threat. This protective mechanism optimizes your body for “fight or flight” and typically works well for short term stress.

Unfortunately in today’s society, our stress is chronic and unrelenting. When we are under this type of stress, this diminished circulation that serves us well in “fight or flight” extends far beyond the 20 seconds it was designed for. Therefore the nerves cannot make the chemicals necessary to continue circulation at the cellular level throughout the body.  This frequently occurs in patients with chronic pain, including Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).

The pain associated with CRPS and related conditions only exacerbates the stress response and allows the vicious cycle to continue. If pain is increased, circulation is decreased.  If circulation is decreased, pain is increased.

The thermographic images above are those of a 43-year-old woman with a history of chronic pain dating back to severe injuries sustained at 17 years of age, followed by more recent injuries which triggered global CRPS and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). By the time she arrived in my office, she’d been confined to a wheelchair for nearly 2 years. Since beginning VECTTOR treatments she has been able to resume walking, and recently was able to walk up to 2 miles, although she still needs to sit down, due to muscle weakness.

So, did VECTTOR change her circulation? Not exactly, but it did help begin the process of breaking the pain cycle, which allowed the body to redirect blood flow where it’s supposed to go, to allow the patient’s body to begin to heal. 

In good health and healing,

DR

MKT-020