Treating Peripheral Neuropathy With Acupuncture And Chinese Medicine

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Posted December 6, 2012 by Tiffany Weekes
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Peripheral Neuropathy Acupuncture
Peripheral neuropathy is distinctly characterized by a burning pain in the hands and feet along with an uncomfortable sensation of pain felt like pins being poked into the body. For many people the symptoms are much more severe – paralysis, gland and organ dysfunction, muscle wasting etc. are common. There are nearly 100 different types of peripheral neuropathies, each having its own set of symptoms and prognosis.

The peripheral nervous system is responsible for transmitting information from the brain and spinal cord to all the other parts of the body. Damage to this system is known as peripheral neuropathy. This condition is usually experienced in people suffering from diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, nutritional deficiency, lupus and Aids. It may also be seen in individuals suffering from poisoning due to heavy metals, drugs or chemotherapy. Many other physical causes are also related to this condition such as carpal tunnel, physical injury to the nerve, dislocation of bones and fractures etc.

 

Symptoms:

  • Numbness to pain
  • Pricking and tingling sensation
  • Sensitivity to touch and light
  • Lack of co- ordination and balance
  • Muscle wasting and muscle weakness
  • Paralysis

These symptoms usually escalate during nights, and in many cases are not present completely.

 

Acupuncture and Peripheral Neuropathy

According to traditional Chinese medicine, peripheral neuropathy is caused due to the dampness within the limbs which obstructs the flow of Qi- energy and blood. The treatment to this problem is two folds; firstly the factor causing the dampness is identified and treated and the secondly to facilitate Qi and blood circulation in the affected areas.  Once the circulation is improved, it helps the nerve tissues of the affected area to be nourished and repaired which in turn repairs nerve function. Oriental medicine strongly believes that peripheral neuropathy is caused due to disharmony within the body, thus each individual is treated uniquely.

An acupuncturist first gathers data regarding the onset of the pain and your patterns regarding sleeping, eating and drinking. He will then examine your pulse and tongue. This physical examination and interview helps the practioner to understand your state and formulate a treatment plan unique for you.

Apart from acupuncture, practioner may combine other treatment options such as cutaneous acupuncture, TENS, physical therapy and herbal remedies for a holistic approach.

The affected area is scanned and pressure points are established. These acupuncture points are specific to the affected area; this is known as treating the branch. Later points on the various parts of the body are identified. These points help to treat the entire body, thus treating the root.

Every patient is treated with a unique treatment plan that is specific to their body points and diagnosis. Most acupuncture points are situated on the hands and feet, points are chosen according to body type and usually the most tender points are chosen.

Special acupuncture needles are used for the treatment that stimulates the area for free flow of Qi and blood. The usual tools for this purpose include the Plum Blossom needle and Seven- Star needle.

 

Studies Related to Acupuncture

There are many studies carried out on the effectiveness of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. A study conducted on 46 patients suffering from peripheral neuropathy reported that 34 patients showed considerable improvement in symptoms due to six course of acupuncture therapy. Only 8 patients needed further sessions of the therapy.

In another study on a larger group of 250 people suffering from HIV related peripheral neuropathy; every patient was either given generalized treatment or a placebo. No significant changes were experienced. This proved that acupuncture therapy cannot be generalized for everyone; instead it must be unique to every patient.

Thus, acupuncture and Chinese medicine are extremely effective and are unique for every patient. It is an effective treatment that can help patients to relieve peripheral neuropathy symptoms. Therefore many doctors recommend acupuncture treatment along with traditional medication for effective cure from peripheral neuropathy.

 

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