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Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs for Neuropathy

Maybe it's relatively recent or been happening for some time, but either way after a period of weakness, numbness, or pain in your hands and feet (and sometimes other areas of the body), you've been diagnosed with Peripheral Neuropathy.

Symptoms of neuropathy range from mild to disabling and may include a loss of reflexes, problems feeling pain or changes in temperature, numbness and tingling, and pain that is often worse at night.

Causes of neuropathy include:

  • diabetes

  • physical injury (trauma)

  • vascular and blood problems

  • autoimmune disorders

  • nutritional or vitamin imbalances, alcoholism, and exposure to toxins

  • certain chemotherapy drugs

  • infections

Neuropathy is a common complaint that I see in my clinic almost daily. I've treated Peripheral Neuropathy, Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN), Diabetic Neuropathy, Idopathic Neuropathy, as well as, Neuropathy from Charcot Marie Tooth Syndrome, and Guillian Barre Virus.

The majority of my patients will see reductions in frequency, intensity, duration, and affected area of symptoms as well as improvements in physical tolerances (strength, sensation, perception). Typically the closer to onset that someone starts treatment, the more likely they will see significant improvement in their symptoms. The further out the treatment, the worse the prognosis.

Recent studies show that "acupuncture significantly improves motor nerve conduction velocity and amplitude as well as promotes functional nerve repair" (Neural Regeneration Research V10, no.1 (2015):128) and "acupuncture improves nerve conduction in peripheral neuropathy" (Eur J Neurol 2007 Mar; 14(3): 276-81).

Acupuncture has also been shown to relieve diabetic peripheral neuropathy ("Fifteen-Day Acupuncture Treatment Relieves Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy", Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, V3, Issue 2, June 2010, pp95-103).

Treatment recommendations - 12 treatments at 2 x week for six weeks and then reassessment. The goals are to reduce symptoms to the lowest level possible, increase function to the highest level possible and then keep the patient at these reduced levels on a maintenance basis. Because neuropathy is a degenerative disorder - maintenance treatment will be necessary.

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