January 25, 2016

Peripheral Neuropathy Responds to Acupuncture

Acupuncture can relieve the pain of peripheral neuropathy–a disorder that stems from damage to the nerves that branch out through the arms, legs, fingers and toes. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include pain, burning sensations, weakness, numbness and tingling. It can have various origins included chemo, diabetes and injury. Often, however, the cause of the condition remains undiagnosed.

Peroneal nerveThere have been encouraging research results in treating various types of neuropathy with acupuncture. For example, after 6 weeks of acupuncture treatment for chemo-induced neuropathy, 86% of cancer patients in one study reported improvement (1).

In another study using acupuncture to treat diabetic peripheral neuropathy, patients receiving medications jumped from an approximately 8% neuropathy symptom score success rate to over a 90% effective rate when acupuncture was added to the treatment regime. The neuropathy disability score also showed significant improvement when acupuncture was added to the treatment regime. The medication only group had a 37.45% success rate. Acupuncture was added to the treatment regime and the neuropathy disability success rate jumped to over 90% (3).

orthoArmCvAntArteryGrayBB1235Also, in treating neuropathy of unknown origin with acupuncture, 76% of participants improved. In this study, nerve conduction studies (NCS) showed improvement in those reporting improved symptoms and some patients derived additional benefits from the treatment including a reduction in analgesic use and improved sleeping patterns (2). 

If you have symptoms of peripheral neuropathy from any cause, acupuncture may decrease your symptoms and dramatically improve your quality of life. You can talk with Jeffrey Russell at his clinic, Abacus Chinese Medicine, about treatment options. Jeffrey practices Chinese Medicine and acupuncture in Louisville, KY. You can read more about his practice here. He is available at 502 299-8900.

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(1) Donald GK, Tobin I, Stringer J. Evaluation of acupuncture in the management of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. Acupunct Med. 2011 Sep;29(3):230-3.
(2) Tanakornnuwat, Suwat, et al. The Effectiveness of Acupuncture in Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy. Journal of Thai Traditional & Alternative Medicine 10.3 (2013): 177-186.
(3) Schröder S, Liepert J, Remppis A, Greten JH.Eur  Acupuncture treatment improves nerve conduction in peripheral neuropathy. J Neurol. 2007 Mar;14(3):276-81.