20th October 2022
Acupuncture for Neuropathy: Can It Help?Dr. Devan Patel, PharmD
Neuropathy is a painful, and sometimes chronic, condition caused by damage to nerve cells. It can occur for many different reasons and may affect any part of the body, though it most commonly affects the hands and feet.
Symptoms of neuropathy range from mild tingling and pins and needle sensations to stabbing pain, muscle weakness, and inability to regulate your body temperature or breathing. Your symptoms and their severity will depend on what nerve cells are affected and how extensively they are damaged.
For some, neuropathy may clear up on its own but for others, the disorder is chronic and lifelong. There are no known cures for neuropathy now and treatment is aimed at managing symptoms to improve quality of life.
However, many of these known treatments are expensive and don’t come without possible negative side effects. New natural and effective treatments for neuropathy are highly sought after. One such treatment may be acupuncture.
What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture hails all the way from the East in ancient Chinese medicine. Acupuncture involves using needles to gently pierce the skin at strategic pressure points. It’s believed in ancient Chinese medicine that our bodies contain a natural life source or energy source known as the qi (pronounced chee).
When the flow of our qi is disrupted, neuropathy and other health ailments may occur. The practice of acupuncture aims to restore the flow of our qi to its natural rhythm. Restoring the flow helps bring energy back into the nerve cells and repairs neuropathy.
In Western medicine, acupuncture is thought to help symptoms of neuropathy by improving blood circulation to stimulate the nerves and muscles. By performing acupuncture on strategic pressure points, it can promote the release of endorphins.
Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers. By promoting the release of these hormones, you may be able to change your body’s response to pain. Though more research needs to be done, at least one study confirmed that acupuncture improved symptoms in neuropathy subjects more so than those who received traditional medical care.
Acupuncture is also used to treat health ailments like headaches, body pain, constipation, inflammation, and muscle stiffness.
Are There Risks Factors for Acupuncture?
Acupuncture has very few risks of negative side effects, especially when compared to prescription drugs and other medical treatments. However, there are a few risks to consider before you schedule your first acupuncture session.
Make Sure Your Acupuncturist Is Licensed
Do your research to ensure your acupuncturist is a licensed professional. There can be a risk of injury if a needle is pushed too far down into the skin and injures an organ or lung.
Make Sure the Needles Are Sterile
Using dirty needles or reusing needles carries the risk of possibly life-threatening infections. Never let someone stick you with an unsanitary needle. Ask the acupuncturist to open a new, sterile needle in front of you to be sure. Doing your research and choosing a professional acupuncturist carries less risk of unsanitary conditions.
Expect Light Pain and Bruising
You may experience some pain, bruising, or light bleeding after your acupuncture session. This is common and not a cause for concern but be aware of it before you lie down for a session.
Who Should Not Do Acupuncture for Neuropathy?
Acupuncture may not be safe for everyone. If you are one of the following people, consider other alternative neuropathy treatments:
Pregnant. If you’re pregnant, talk to your doctor before considering acupuncture. Acupuncture may trigger early labor or premature birth.
Bleeding disorders. People with bleeding disorders or who are taking blood thinners should take caution before trying acupuncture. Needle insertion points may not heal properly and continue bleeding.
Heart problems. If you have a pacemaker, some forms of acupuncture are not suitable for you. Acupuncture techniques that involve heat and electrical pulses may interfere with the operation of your pacemaker.
Should You Try Acupuncture for Neuropathy
Acupuncture is a safe alternative treatment for neuropathy for most people. If you have any personal health concerns, check with your doctor before you sign up for your first session. Also, be aware that acupuncture for neuropathy does not produce instant results.
Most acupuncturists would recommend weekly sessions for at least 6 to 10 weeks before seeing results in your neuropathy symptoms. There are also costs to consider. Acupuncture treatments may not be covered by your health insurance and typically charge per session. Prices may vary depending on where you live and how experienced your acupuncturist is.
Other Alternative Treatments for Neuropathy
Acupuncture shows promise for being a safer alternative treatment for neuropathy, but it might not be for everyone. If you are unable to undergo acupuncture or are deathly afraid of needles, other alternative treatments exist.
Much research has been done on the effect lifestyle factors have on the development and prevention of neuropathy. Most neuropathies are caused by type 2 diabetes, a condition largely due to poor diet and obesity.
By treating the cause of neuropathy first, you have a higher chance of treating and even reversing your neuropathy altogether. Regular exercise and a healthy, balanced diet can improve and sometimes reverse type 2 diabetes. Thus, improving your neuropathy symptoms.
Another less-known cause of neuropathy is vitamin deficiency. Without the right levels of essential nutrients in your body, your nerve cells can’t repair or protect themselves from damage.
Restoring these vital nutrients helps your nerve cells function more efficiently, thus reducing and repairing nerve damage. Potent natural supplements like NeuraZenx may help to restore your nutrient levels for optimal nerve health.*
NeuraZenx is a multi-nutrient supplement made from all-natural ingredients like vitamins, minerals, and plant herbs.* These ingredients were chosen based on scientific research for their effectiveness in helping manage neuropathy symptoms.* Taking a daily multi-nutrient supplement can ensure you are getting the proper amount of nutrients in your diet.*
Acupuncture is popular in Chinese medicine for curing a wide range of ailments. The practice is based on the idea that health problems occur when our qi, or energy source, is repressed. Western medicine believes acupuncture may be effective for neuropathy because it helps stimulate blood flow and circulation to damaged nerve cells. Acupuncture may be a safe and effective way for some people to treat their painful neuropathy symptoms.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.