h1 bulletMIRE and Physical Therapy for Peripheral Neuropathy:
Influence on Sensation, Balance and Falls

 

 

Alan B Kochman, MSPT

Lead Therapist, The Senior Center, The Medical Center of Aurora - Aurora Co

 

 

Purpose: Elderly patients are at high risk for falls due, in part, to the loss of sensation in the lower extremities. This study examined the effectiveness of a comprehensive therapy intervention that included monochromatic infrared photo energy for improving foot sensation, balance, and fall status.

 

Methods: Thirty-eight patients, average age 78 years, participated in this study. All patients lacked protective sensation in the lower extremities (documented by the Semmes Weinstein 5.07 monofilament), demonstrated a significant fall risk based onTinetti scores, and had a history of falling. Patients participated in a mean 12 treatments that consisted of infrared photo energy, neuromuscular re-education, balance and strength training, and stretching exercises.

 

Results: Comparisons of patients' status pre- and post- treatment showed that they improved significantly in lower extremity sensation and balance and that they experienced fewer falls.

 

Conclusion: A comprehensive therapy intervention that includes infrared photo energy has the potential to improve sensation and balance and to reduce fall frequency. These results should be of great interest to patients with peripheral neuropathy, health care providers who treat these patients, and the payor community that incurs the cost of treatment.