NEURAL THERAPY

Neural Therapy : A Novel Treatment

Neural therapy is a treatment that is useful for many pain and internal conditions.

Neural therapy aims to improve health of the autonomic nervous system by balancing the input between sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves.  This is by use of a local anesthetic, procaine, placed in targeted structures that help achieve this balance.  The anesthetic will help balance the autonomic nervous system, which restores the health of the affected muscle, joint or organ. 

While neural therapy is considered an alternative treatment not familiar to many physicians, there are a surprising number of conventional pain treatments that have their origins in neural therapy.  One such example is trigger point injections.  Trigger points are tender areas of muscle akin to a muscle knot that can cause radiating pain and other symptoms.  Each trigger point is associated with a characteristic distribution of pain and other symptoms.  Trigger point injections, which originated with neural therapy, help to mechanically break up these muscle knots.  Dr. Janet Travell whose pioneer work on trigger points is still benefiting many patients today, was influenced by her exposure to neural therapy principles. 

Anther common target in neural therapy are nerves that are producing pain.  By blocking its pain signals with an anesthetic, an irritated nerve responds by decreasing its firing even after the anesthetic wears off, thus treating nerve-based pain.  This has been widely adopted in conventional pain management with nerve blocks to treat many painful conditions.  Neural therapy incorporates conventional nerve blocks into a broader treatment that supports the overall health of nerves, muscles and organs.  In addition to alleviating pain conditions, treating nerves with neural therapy can improve the condition of organs.

Scars can be a source of pain or interference field.  A scar that is red and tender is more likely to be a source of pain.  This pain may be localized in the area of the scar or if in the area of a nerve may send pain signals along the path of that nerve.  An interference field causes problems with a more complex pathway.  A scar can potentially interfere with the body’s autonomic balance either in the area of the scar or at a more distant site.  When treating a scar with an anesthetic, the scar pain will often subside.  More dramatically, treating a scar, which is an interference field can have effects in treating a condition that one would not have expected to be related to the scar.  An interference field is a blockage in nerve signaling that causes a problem in a seemingly unrelated joint or organ.  When the scar is treated, the seemingly unrelated problem will unexpectedly resolve.

The body is controlled by the peripheral nervous system and the autonomic nervous system.  Muscles are controlled by the peripheral nervous system while the organs are controlled by the autonomic nervous system.  When the autonomic nervous system is healthy, there is a balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves.  The sympathetic nerves are known for the ‘fight or flight’ response.  These are the nerves that are active in a life-threatening situation such as when you are being chased by a lion.  The sympathetic nerves help channel blood flow away from the organs to the muscles that are needed to run.  The parasympathetic nerves are active when it is time to relax after defeating the lion.  These nerves are active to help digest food and often help one enjoy pleasurable activities.

Many diseases are a result of overactive sympathetic nerves or underactive parasympathetic nerves.  When the sympathetic nerves are overactive, the body or affected organ is fatigued and depleted.  To borrow my example above, when chased by a lion for a block or two, one gets a little tired but this is offset by endorphins the body produces so the experience is tolerable and one usually recovers quickly.  However, if one is chased by a lion for miles or hours or even days, fatigue sets in and the body is depleted and exhausted so is unable to fight off any additional lions that may attack.  This leads to damage to organs, which manifest as illness.  This can also weaken the body’s ability to recover from injuries leading to chronic pain.  By reducing nerve firing, local anesthetics help the nerve relax, which gives the region a chance to reset the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves.  When the nervous system is healthy, the chances are improved that the organs that are controlled by those nerves will be healthy and respond to treatment.

Treating the skin overlying certain organs can have dramatically positive effects on those organs.  Conditions such as sinusitis, asthma and gastrointestinal distress may be responsive to neural therapy.  This type of treatment has minimal risk with much potential benefit so is definitely worth considering as a supplement to the conventional treatment regimens for these conditions. 

In summary, neural therapy is an effective treatment for both painful conditions and can be potentially useful for certain organ conditions.  The effects are mediated through promoting the health and balance of the autonomic nervous system.  Many of these neural therapy treatments such as trigger point injections, scar injections, and nerve blocks have already found their way into conventional medical pain management while neural therapy utilizes these treatments into a more holistic approach that broadly promotes the health of the person to maximize the patient’s well-being.