Reducing the medication, increasing my activity, and being able to enjoy longer walks with the dog has really been something that’s welcome”
Bob was first diagnosed with diabetes at age 40. “Quite honestly,” he says, “I did not do much for the first several years to get it under control.”
Now 63, Bob says his neuropathy began about five years ago at the ankle and over time worked its way up to the top of his sock line and into his legs, causing pain and restless leg syndrome. “I was having a lot of tingling, a lot of pain,” he says, “It would take several hours to subside when I was trying to fall asleep, and it was also waking me up during the night.”
Over time, Bob became more sedentary, and his neuropathy got worse. Working at home during COVID took its toll. “I think the lack of activity made my neuropathy worse, and it became increasingly difficult to walk. Because I was sitting at home and wasn’t wearing shoes on a regular basis, it became painful. Even normal walking became increasingly difficult.” He says that was the impetus for wanting to get treatment.
He contacted an endocrinologist and “started getting on medication, and started to get the symptoms, as well as the sugar levels, under control,” says Bob. The endocrinologist told Bob his A1c was over 10 and he needed to get it down to a 7.
The hemoglobin A1c test is used to diagnose diabetes and measures blood sugar levels over the past 2-3 months. The 4-5.6% range is considered normal; 5.7-6.4% is deemed to be pre-diabetic, and over 6.5% means a person has diabetes. “I was able to get it to an 8 with the medication.” However, Bob says, “Exercise was the key part that I was unable to do,” as his neuropathy made it too painful to walk.
According to the American Diabetes Association’s website, “Keeping your blood glucose (blood sugar) levels on target is your best line of defense against neuropathy. You can also manage neuropathy through a healthy diet and consistent exercise routine that fits your lifestyle.”
He learned about RealWave™ by chance when he took his mother to see her podiatrist. He read a brochure he found in the waiting room and scheduled an appointment with the doctor for himself. The podiatrist fitted him with a special pair of sneakers and custom orthotics and gave him a referral form for RealWave™ Neuropathy Treatment Centers.
Bob started at RealWave™, going three times a week for half-hour-long ultrasound treatments. After the first few sessions, he says he noticed “a pretty quick improvement.” Bob describes the treatment saying, “They take a [ultrasound] wand, and they spread a gel on your feet, and they work in small circular motions all over the foot, on top and the bottom of the feet.” He says, “It’s extremely comfortable” but he notes that he feels “a little bit of a tingling with that every so often.” Soon he was reducing his visits to twice a week and then once a week.
Every fourth treatment, the nurse practitioner gives him a non-invasive nerve test that takes about six minutes. He says, “What they are able to do is establish a baseline, and every subsequent treatment, they are able to see what the progress is in terms of how the nerves are reacting.”
After 30 treatments, the tingling and sharp pains caused by his neuropathy are virtually gone, but he still has some stiffness in the tops of his feet, ankles, and toes. He is now transitioning to treatments every other week.
He says, “The treatments have been really helpful for me. Twofold in terms of reducing my medication, and certainly reducing the pain and allowing me to increase my activity.” Bob says he was taking 1,200 mg of gabapentin each night before bedtime to manage the pain. After six weeks at RealWave™, he reduced the dose to 900 mg and then later to 600 mg. He is now talking to his physician about cutting it down to 300 mg.
One major improvement is being able to walk again. Bob started slowly with short walks up and down the street with his sister’s dog and has worked his way up to a total of 2.5 miles a day. “I’ve been able to drop a little weight,” says Bob, “and my A1c numbers were down in the mid-7s, which is about the lowest it’s been”.
“Reducing the medication, increasing my activity, and being able to enjoy longer walks with the dog has really been something that’s welcome” says Bob and he says, “that is a direct result of getting the treatments at RealWave™.”
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