The Three-legged Stool of Chronic Pain

When considering the problem of chronic pain, it helps to look at the body as a three-legged stool. If any of the 3 legs isn’t functioning optimally, the potential for problems exists. The other 2 legs can compensate, at least for a while, but this compensation can lead to further dysfunction, and when more than one “leg” is involved, there’s almost certain to be a crash.

Let’s take a look at the 3 “legs” to get an overall picture of how they work together in a healthy individual. 

Leg 1 – Neuropeptides

The cells in the body depend upon a consistent and adequate supply of blood, which brings oxygen/nutrients and takes away unwanted things such as carbon dioxide. CGRP increases circulation to the skin, bones, small muscles, and most importantly nerves. VIP controls circulation to the digestive system and is extremely important as a helper in many of the body functions. For this reason, it has been dubbed “Very Important Peptide”.


Leg 2 – Biomechanics

The feet are the foundation of the body. If there are foundation problems in your house, door and windows will not work correctly because they do not have a stable foundation.

When the heel of the foot contacts the floor, the foot needs to act like a “mobile adapter” toadjust to the surface. As the weight shifts forward through the foot, the foot needs to change to a “rigid lever” to propel you forward. Walking “incorrectly” interferes with the nature’s “shock absorber” – the subtalar joint inside the ankle. Failure to utilize this shock absorber causes increased strain on the legs, hips and back. 

Leg 3 – Structural Integrity 

The bones depend upon circulation to remain strong. Adequate circulation at the level of the bone cells will promote strength. In addition, adequate circulation at the level of the bones means adequate circulation away from the bones carrying carbon dioxide. If carbon dioxide is allowed to accumulate, it mixes with water to become carbonic acid, which lowers the pH. Calcitonin gene-related Peptide (CGRP) brings circulation to the bones. Both CGRP and VIP (Vasoactive Intestinal Polypeptide) increase the activity of osteoblasts that build bone and decrease the activity of osteoclasts which remodel bone.

Whenever any of the three “legs” are weakened, either from illness, or from injury, the effect is felt throughout the body. Imagine you are sitting on a three-legged stool and one of the legs develops a large crack. You would feel the instability, all the way at the top of the stool, as the other two legs struggled to compensate. 

Even if you were somehow able to shift your weight to maintain balance using the two remaining legs, it wouldn’t take long for them to suffer from the increased burden. 

The VECTTOR Therapy System is a form of electro-stimulation based upon acupuncture, reflexology, physiology, cellular physiology, and anatomy designed to stimulate the nerves to produce certain neuropeptides essential for optimal functioning of the body. These neuropeptides are vital for increasing circulation to the skin, bones, nerves, muscles, and for reducing oxidative stress. 

Additionally, in order to optimize the biomechanical system, I recommend custom made orthotics for all of my patients, who have biomechanical problems. In my clinic, we still cast for orthotics the “old fashioned” way. I believe this is vitally important as I take time to observe each patient’s gait to identify subtle leg length discrepancies and other biomechanical dysfunctions, all of which can wreak havoc on the “biomechanics” leg of the stool. With proper fitting custom orthotics, most of the problems stemming from these issues can be mitigated or even eliminated. 

To quote the Greek philosopher, Plato, “You ought not to attempt to cure the eyes without the head, or the head without the body…the part can never be well unless the whole is well”. 2000 years later, this still holds true. 

In good health and healing, 

DR

The VECTTOR Therapy System is indicated in the United States for the treatment of chronic, intractable pain and for the treatment of post-surgical, or trauma pain. Any other use of the VECTTOR Therapy System would be considered off-label use.

Alan Neuromedical Technologies

431 Nursery Road

Suite B-300

The Woodlands, TX 77380

www.VECTTOR.com

DrRhodes@VECTTOR.com

Tel: (833) VECTTOR

MKT-023 Rev A 10Jun22

You Can’t Put a Mask on Stress

It’s a stressful world we are living in. In spite of our best efforts, COVID still rages on. The impact of the virus extends far beyond the lives it’s claimed. We’ve been in uncharted territory for a year and half now, and there’s no end in sight. Unfortunately, no one feels the impact of stress more than someone who suffers from chronic pain. 

Even the minor stressors of life can profoundly impact the cycle of pain, so it’s no wonder so many are feeling the effects of these unprecedented times. That’s why it’s more important than ever to stay on top of your pain, as much as you possibly can.  

During these crazy times, I realize it might be tempting to skip VECTTOR treatments, but now more than ever it’s important not to do so. Take a look at the graphic below to see the starring role that stress plays in the chronic pain cycle. 

In fact, I urge my patients who are in remission to consider dusting off their VECTTOR units, even if you can only get in a couple of treatments a week. Just remember it’s better to be proactive rather than reactive. I can assure you that, whether you know it yet or not, STRESS is busy doing everything in its power to proactively contribute to your pain cycle.

Stay safe out there and, as always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns.

In good health and healing,

DR

The VECTTOR Therapy System is indicated in the United States for the treatment of chronic, intractable pain and for the treatment of post-surgical, or trauma pain.  Any other use of the VECTTOR Therapy System would be considered off-label use.

Alan Neuromedical Technologies

431 Nursery Road

Suite B-300

The Woodlands, TX 77380

www.VECTTOR.com

DrRhodes@VECTTOR.com

Tel: (833) VECTTOR

MKT-022 Rev A

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

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