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When the ‘pins and needles’ feeling doesn’t go away: Finding relief from neuropathy


Five years ago, the numbness in Gwen’s feet was so pervasive, she needed to make sure her shoes were well-laced; otherwise, she wouldn’t feel it if her shoes fell off.

She began to fall at least a few times a year, twice ending up in the hospital with a concussion or other fall-related injuries. She started to use a walker, then at times a wheelchair, to get around. Over time, her quality of life diminished to the point that the thought of falling asleep and not waking up sounded like a relief.

“I wasn’t suicidal. I was just unhappy,” said Gwen, who lives in Traverse City, Mich.


One day, Gwen was watching TV when she came across a commercial for a neuropathy program at Shift Health Center in Traverse City. She immediately recognized the symptoms that flashed on the screen: numbness or tingling in hands, arms, feet or legs; lack of coordination; a sharp jabbing, throbbing, freezing or burning pain; lack of coordination; and extreme sensitivity to touch.

In Spring 2022, Gwen began to receive treatment from Shift Health Center. Within eight months, Gwen not only gave up use of a wheelchair, but also could get around without a walker except when ice was present. That November, she took a trip to Key West and danced in front of a stage as a band played.

“I’m so grateful for the care Dr. Kyle and Dr. Peter gave to me,” she said. “They gave me my life back.”

Today, more than 20 million people live with peripheral neuropathy, but many aren’t aware of it. These individuals live with the chronic pain that characterizes this disease, not knowing there is treatment available.


“It’s just human nature for a lot of people not to take action until their condition is very debilitating,” said Konas, who founded Shift Health Center, which specializes in chiropractic medicine. “The problem with doing that is that peripheral neuropathy is considered a chronic and progressive disease, which means it typically worsens over time. The longer a person waits to see a physician, the harder it becomes to treat.”

Common causes of neuropathy include accidents, diabetes, degenerative conditions, chronic disease, prescription medication use, alcoholism and more.

The good news is that treatment can make a profound difference in quality of life and can even help reverse the symptoms.

The goal of treatment is to increase blood flow to the extremities and reduce inflammation, Konas said.


“The treatments are pretty simple, but they make a big impact,” Konas said. “We use a variety of treatment modalities ranging from low-level light therapy to electric nerve stimulation to lifestyle changes, including dietary modifications.”

Because some of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy include chronic diseases like diabetes, as well as vitamin and nutrient deficiencies, taking a whole-health approach to treatment can help combat the inflammation that accompanies this disease.

Nerve stimulation helps retrain the nerves affected by neuropathy to fire on the correct frequency. Another treatment offered through Shift Health Center, SoftWave Tissue Regeneration therapy, is an FDA-approved treatment that activates the body’s natural healing process through the use of shockwaves. This therapy prompts the body to regrow tissue around the blood vessels and nerves without causing microtrauma. Patients also may undergo cold laser therapy to stimulate healing using low levels of light.

Treatment may take place in Shift Health’s Traverse City office or in the patient’s home, depending on the patient’s needs. Most cases can be addressed without medications or surgery — a big comfort to patients who might already have been reluctant to seek care.


For Gwen, calling Shift Health after seeing the television advertisement and recognizing the symptoms remains one of the best decisions she’s ever made.

“I’m so grateful,” she said.

For more information on the peripheral neuropathy program at Shift Health Center, visit the practice’s website and schedule a nerve severity screening.

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