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HIV related Neuropathy

There are thousands of people who become infected with HIV each day. The virus weakens the body’s immune system so it is weak or unable to defend the body from illnesses that may include severe diarrhea, pneumonia, tuberculosis, skin cancer, fever and skin infections. Due to the body’s weakened immune system, people infected take longer or are unable to fight off infections. In addition to these illnesses, patients often develop neuropathy. HIV related neuropathy is a disease that affects the nerves located outside the central nervous system (the spine). The nerves affected are called peripheral nerves and run through the body like a web, connecting all parts of the body to the brain and spine. Peripheral Neuropathy leads to insensitivity, stiffness, and numbness in the feet. These complications should be taken care of immediately to prevent more serious problems such as the development of ulcers and possibly even amputation. Image: Ambro /

The ULTIMA 20 TENS in conjunction with conductive socks, gloves or sleeves can help alleviate the pain caused by Neuropathy.

To see if you qualify for ULTIMA 20 TENS and conductive garments simply fill out the intake form by clicking on the link below. After you supply us with your information we will verify your coverage and contact you regarding your order. Should we need to contact your physician we will do that too on your behalf.

Click here to download a brochure!

Click here to use your Insurance/Medicare benefits


Neuropathy can cause insensitivity, numbness, heat, cold, tingling; some have even described the pain as “walking on razor blades”. People suffering from neuropathy can develop minor cuts, scrapes, blisters, or pressure sores that they may not be aware of due to their inability to sense the pain. Minor injuries that are left untreated may cause complications and may result in or lead to ulceration and possibly even amputation. Neuropathy can also cause foot deformities such as Bunions, Hammer Toes, Metatarsalgia, and Charcot Feet.

It is very important for people with HIV to take the necessary precautions to prevent all foot-related injuries. Due to the consequences of neuropathy, daily observation of the feet is critical. By following the necessary preventative foot care measures, you can reduce the risk of developing serious foot conditions.


The ULTIMA sleeve treats Arthritis, Tendonitis, sprains and strains of the elbow. The flexible mesh allows you to carry on with your day while the electro-stimulation treats the pain.


The ULTIMA Sock is used to treat  Neuropathy, and many other conditions in your feet. Simply plug the socks in, sit back, and enjoy the stimulating feeling. Most patients notice a difference after the first session.



The ULTIMA Glove works best to treat Arthritis, Tendonitis, and sprains and strains. It even helped minimize tremors in patients with Parkinson disease. Simply plug the gloves in, sit back, and enjoy the stimulating feeling while watching TV.

Treatment and Prevention

People with HIV are at high risk for developing neuropathy and other serious foot complications. While there is not cure for neuropathy, stimulating your nerves can soothe irritated nerves, wake up numb nerves, and restore the natural balance of your nervous system. The ULTIMA 20 in conjunction with conductive garments uses electrical impulses sent through the skin to the nerves to modify your pain perception. In most patients it is highly effective in reducing, even eliminating the pain. In many patients the reduction or elimination of pain lasts longer than the actual period of stimulation. The ULTIMA 20 overrides the pain signal to the brain by sending a comfortable electronic pulse, "tricking" the brain into thinking there is no pain. This produces fast pain relief, usually within a minute or two. You can control and customize the intensity, pulse rate, and pulse width to find the most effective and most comfortable setting.

Low Frequency: The lower frequencies, 2-5 Hz, are believed to cause the body to react. The reaction creates natural painkillers, or endorphins. The endorphins block the pain naturally and while popular, this isn't the usual method of using TENS.

High Frequency: For more intense pain, higher frequencies, 90-130 Hz, work to actually interrupt those pain signals being sent to the brain. This is the most common use for the machine and while you start slow, it's not uncommon to need to up the frequency to find the best block.

Learn more about Peripheral Neuropathy Pain here!

What's causing HIV related Neuropathy?

Approximately 30% of infected HIV patients develop a condition called neuropathy. The causes of Peripheral Neuropathy are still unidentified. Researchers suspect that either HIV, or medications that are toxic to the nervous system (neurotoxic drugs), or a combination of both may cause the damage to the peripheral nerves.

Neurotoxic drugs include many that are used to treat HIV or HIV-related conditions. The most familiar are the HIV drugs commonly called the "d-drugs:"

  • d4T (Zerit)

  • ddC (Hivid)

  • ddI (Videx)

Additional neurotoxic drugs include:

  • INH (isonizaid)

  • Myambutol (ethambutol)

  • Flagyl (metronidazole)

  • Hydoxyurea

Causes, incidence, and risk factors
One set of peripheral nerves relays information from your central nervous system to muscles and other organs. A second set relays information from your skin, joints, and other organs back to your central nervous system. Peripheral neuropathy means these nerves don’t work properly. Peripheral neuropathy may involve damage to a single nerve or nerve group, or it may affect multiple nerves (polyneuropathy). There are many reasons for nerves to malfunction. In many cases, no cause can be found.

Nerve damage may be caused by:

•Diseases that run in families (hereditary disorders), such as:
•Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
•Friedreich’s ataxia
•Diseases that affect the whole body (systemic or metabolic disorders) such as:
•diabetic neuropathy
•Dietary deficiencies (especially vitamin B12)
•Excessive alcohol use>
•Multiple myeloma
•Uremia (from kidney failure)
•Infections or inflammation, including:
•Guillain-Barre syndrome
•Lyme disease
•Polyarthritis nodosa
•Rheumatoid arthritis
•Sjogren syndrome
•Systemic lupus erythematosus
•Exposure to poisonous substances such as:
•Glue sniffing or inhaling other toxic compounds
•Heavy metals (lead, arsenic, and mercury are most common)
•Industrial chemicals — especially solvents
•Nitrous oxide
•Paclitaxel (Taxol)
•Pyridoxine (vitamin B6)

Miscellaneous causes:
•Compression of a nerve by nearby body structures or by casts, splints, braces, crutches, or other devices
•Decreased oxygen and blood flow (ischemia)
•Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures
•Prolonged pressure on a nerve (such as a long surgery)
•Trauma to a nerve

The symptoms depend on which type of nerve is affected. The three main types of nerves are:
•Nerves that carry sensations (sensory)
•Nerves that control muscles (motor)
•Nerves that carry information to organs and glands (autonomic)

Neuropathy may affect any one or a combination of all three types of nerves. Symptoms depend on whether the condition affects one nerve, several nerves, or the whole body. When the whole body is affected, it is called polyneuropathy. Longer nerves are more easily injured than shorter ones, so it is common to have earlier or worse symptoms in the legs and feet than in the hands and arms.


•Burning sensations
•Changes in sensation
•Inability to determine joint position, which causes lack of coordination
•Nerve pain
•Tingling or numbness

With many neuropathies, sensation changes begin in the toes and move toward the center of the body. Other areas become involved as the condition gets worse. Diabetes is a common cause of sensory neuropathy.

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. In all cases, early diagnosis and treatment increases the chance of controlling symptoms.

Nerve pain, such as that caused by peripheral neuropathy, can be difficult to control. If your pain is severe, a pain specialist may be able to suggest helpful approaches.

Emergency symptoms include:

•Difficulty breathing
•Difficulty swallowing
•Irregular or rapid heartbeat

Let's Get Started - Verify My Benefits

*Generally, you pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount after you pay your Medicare Part B deductible for the year ($162 in 2011). Medicare pays the other 80%. The Medicare-approved amount is the lower of the actual charge for the item or the fee Medicare sets for the item. However, the amount you pay may vary because Medicare pays for different kinds of durable medical equipment in different ways. You may be able to rent or buy the equipment.

This information is intended as a patient education resource only and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem as it is not a substitute for expert professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your health care provider. In addition, every effort is made to ensure links to external sites as well as medical information and/or medical animations are current and correct.

Medicare or your health insurance may cover the entire cost of your medical supplies.* Click here to see what products are available to treat your pain.

When you inquire about any of our Neuropathy treatment products!

If your insurance card has one of the following logos on either front or back, we are a participating provider. If you cannot find any of these logos please contact us to check your eligibility!